Do New Drivers From Nike and Callaway Offer a Square Deal?

By Greg Manifold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 4, 2007

Golf is a round game.

The balls are round, the holes are round and the ball markers are round too. It's even called a round of golf.

So where do squares fit into the equation, specifically the new square driver offerings from Nike (SasQuatch Sumo²) and Callaway's FT-i?

After testing both, I'd say they don't quite fit into the round game . . . yet. Both clubs possess the distance of modern drivers, but for large-ticket items billed as being straight, I found them to be more erratic than my current "old-school" driver.

Each square-shaped driver takes some time to get used to, and perhaps I didn't have enough rounds or enough patience to break through into the comfort zone. Colleagues of mine who took swings with the clubs had mixed results as well.

These clubs are the first of their generation, and by the time the second and third generations make their way into the bag, they likely will be as good as advertised. I would think the Sumo² and the FT-i would remain a recreational club, though, rather than a professional's club because of the inability to work the ball like traditional drivers.

If you decide to test the clubs, there are a few things to know beforehand.

The Nike club has a much larger surface area and a sound that can only be described as an aluminum baseball bat driving a ball to the outfield. The Callaway club is the more traditional and more compact of the two and therefore takes less adjustment time. If I was forced to pick just one of them, my money would be on the FT-i, because its design is less of a jarring change.

Greg Manifold is the lead sports designer for The Washington Post and carries a 13 handicap. The last two drivers he's purchased were made by Nike and Callaway. To see Greg test the drivers and hear more comments, log on to

© 2007 The Washington Post Company