Sports Outside the Beltway

Nike Recalls Sumo2 Driver

Every golf equipment supplier works to push the limit of USGA Rules and it looks as if Nike may of accidentally exceeded those limitations.

In a memorandum sent to Nike’s golf professionals and retailers, company president Bob Wood said, “The CT of a number of drivers fell out of our approved engineering specifications. While the result of this variance is an additional distance benefit of only one to two yards, it lies outside of the parameters as established by the USGA.”

Wood said the problem was brought to his attention by the USGA in late February, and that the USGA was made aware of the potential problem by a “competitor.”

Characteristic time (CT), which is measured by the so-called “Pendulum test,” refers to a driver face’s tendency to deform slightly at impact, resulting in improved ball speed. The USGA and R&A set a characteristic time limit of 239 microseconds, plus a tolerance of 18 microseconds. This correlates to the previous coefficient of restitution (COR) test and its limit of .822 with a manufacturing tolerance that extended to .830. By comparison, a wooden-headed driver has a COR of about .780.

“I don’t think anybody can sell a driver made at 239 [CT],” Wood said in a conference call with reporters. “I’d be pulling your leg if I didn’t say that we didn’t try to get as close as possible to the limit.”

I can’t fault Nike for pushing the limit, that what they have to do. Now the average golfer may not mind the extra yard or two on their drive (unless they have a wicked slice), but as a Pro I’d be ticked if I lost due to a manufacturing error.

Of course Nike has a video on their site saying “Whoops” and offers an exchange and quality assurance program for the replacement drivers.

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