Reviews of the new square golf drivers
by Joel Thomas
Please note - this article was written in 2008. The information is valid
- but the prices have come way down. Here is what you can pay today:
Nike Sumo2 5300 (2007) - $99
Nike Sumo2 5900 (2008) - $149
These are the lowest prices on the internet for these clubs. Ignore the prices in the article.
For 2008, Nike golf has released its second generation SQ Sumo2 5900 driver. The new club has the highest MOI of any driver Nike has ever released. Higher MOI means more stability on impact with less club twisting and that translates into straighter drives and more fairways, even on mis-hits.
Nike engineers took feedback from those who used the original award-winning Sumo squared in 2007 and made improvements that range from a cosmetically sleeker look to a twist-preventing 5900 MOI (the highest MOI in golf). The new SQ Sumo Squared has a quieter sound than the original model, but is still louder than most conventional drivers. But the sound isn't the only thing that will get your golfing partners' attention. Watching your drivers soar long and straight down the middle of the fairway will definitely make some heads turn.
All the scientific jargon and hoopla doesn't mean anything if a golf club doesn't improve your game. This 'playability' factor is one that is hard to find on a spec sheet, but when you ask enough people who have played a club, you see a pattern start to emerge. Overall, golfers rank the Sasquatch Sumo Squared as a very playable club. I list some of the comments from average golfers at the end of this review. First of all, though, I'd like to give you my own impressions.
I, too was impressed with the Sumo Squared driver. I used one in 2007 and immediately fell in love with the increased accuracy. After putting a Sumo2 in my bag in 2007, my handicap dropped by 4 strokes, my fairway accuracy jumped from 50% to 80%, and my distance increase by 20 yards. Those are some significant improvements for a 14 handicapper (now a 10, thank you). Although I could occasionally hit it longer with my TaylorMade R7 Draw Driver, I had to hit it flush to accomplish that. With the Sumo2, my drives were overall more consistently long. That's because I only hit my drives flush about 40% of the time. The other 60% I tend to hit off the toe or heel.
The thing is, even when I hit the Sumo2 off the heel or toe, the ball seems to go almost a long as a flush hit. With my old driver, I would lose 30-40 yards with the same mis-hits. Although it is still possible to hook or slice with the Sumo2, this is not the driver to use if you like to work the ball. That's the main reason Tiger Woods and other Tour players who use Nike Golf equipment tend to go with the more conventional Sasquatch Sumo rather than the square version. The notable exception, of course, is KJ Choi -- and just look at how his world ranking improved in 2007 after he started used the Sumo2. The 2008 version of the Sumo Squared increases the MOI from 5300 to 5900, so it should be even straighter.
The biggest complaint many of my golfing buddies have about the Sumo2 and the other square drivers is that they don't like the shape. It seems too modern and not conventional enough. As they say in Latin "de gustibus no est disputandum" (there is no disputing tastes). But it's not a shape you have to either love or hate. I wasn't too sure about the blocky shape either when I first started using my Sumo2, but I quickly found that the square shape actually helped me line up my drives along my target line. I got used to the shape in no time. Nike designers also built in a visual effect so that the top of the club (as you are looking down at address) has a dark part that is more of a traditional shape and "added" square part is a lighter color. This effect fools your eye into not noticing the square shape at all.
The Diamana shaft on the Sumo2 driver seems to have a rather low kick point, and for me that translated into my drives having a lower, more boring trajectory than, for example, the Callaway FT-i driver. For me, this was very helpful, since I tend to hit my driver high anyway. Unfortunately, I live in a windy climate and the high ball flight only helps on down-wind shots, which only occur about 2-3 times on my home course. The lower trajectory has really helped me when playing into the wind and in cross winds. It's not that the Sumo2 is hard to get up in the air -- it's not. But if you normally like a lower driver angle (say a 9.5°), you may want to notch it up a degree to a 10.5° to get a similar result.
Will a Nike Sumo2 Driver help you? That, of course, is the million dollar question, and it's not necessarily an easy one to answer either. A lot depends upon your swing path, your swing speed and what kind of driver you are playing now. Here are a few rules of thumb:
Perhaps the biggest drawback of the new square drivers is the steep price tag. And although the Sumo2 driver is not as expensive as the Callaway FT-i, it is still pricey. The worst thing is that the people that could be helped the most (high handicappers) are usually the ones who are priced out of the picture. Since high handicappers usually are more casual players and therefore don't budget as much of their income to the game, a $300-$500 price tag for a single club is usually out of reach. Heck, even for an avid golfer that's a big chunk of change to lay down for one club.
If price is the determining factor, there are 3 different options to help you out:
Used Nike Sasquatch Drivers on Ebay: