Nike fired the first salvo is the new “square” driver war today – officially unveiling their SQ Sumo2 driver ahead of the impending reveal of the FT-i driver from Callaway Golf.
While their appearance may be shocking to many others worldwide, Canadians get a free pass to yawn at this shape as part of the golf scene. Canadian based Accuform Golf had their own radical square driver “The Whistler” more than a decade ago. Unfortunately it didn’t revive a company that was floundering at the time. In fact, the driver drew more laughs than serious attention. Hopefully this won’t be the case for industry giants Nike and Callaway and those others that are sure to follow this trend.
While I am in full agreement that you have to distinguish your products in today’s marketplace – the driver will need to perform in order for general acceptance to occur. Even that is no guarantee of success. Take the Cleveland VAS 792 irons from years ago – they played beautifully but the company had to abandon the product line due to weak sales. As radical as golf clubs have become, it is still a relatively conservative market.
While there seems to be little left to do with a golf club head to make it better with current restrictions in place, geometry seems to hold some promise of making a driver that can help golfers to hit the ball more squarely – and in turn, straighter. The square shape provides a higher Moment of Inertia (MOI) – making for clubs that supposed to be more stable and in concert with other design innovations, help you hit it the usual – longer and straighter.
Beyond the Whistler, square shaped drivers harken back almost a century. Of course technology and materials have advanced greatly so you can be sure that even with a similar shape that the new batch of angular clubs have very distinct properties.
Will it take this time? That remains to be seen but the engineers at Nike and Callaway seem to think they have a viable product that returns effective results.
I have yet to test either of these cubs but imagine there has to be some advantages for any of these companies to put somuch effort (and $) in bringing them to market. Each is not taking the a complete risk though – they both have slightly more traditional models (the SQ Sumo for Nike, the FT-5 for Callaway) set to also arrive. After all, you can’t expect everyone to like the “square” trend.
We all aspired not be be “square” in high school but maybe if it gets us a few more yards and a few more fairways, Nike and Callaway can change our minds.
The SQ SUMO² and SQ SUMO are both 460cc, feature SasQuatch/Diamana shafts and are available in 8.5º, 9.5º, 10.5º and 13º. The SQ SUMO² carries a Cdn suggested retail price of $499.99 and the SQ SUMO is $399.99.
I will post details of the Callaway “square” release when they become officially available.