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|Nike's SUMO irons are wide-soled with a high MOI but don't look too clunky at address. (Courtesy Nike Golf)|
High-handicap golfers rejoice. Nike Golf's new SQ SUMO irons perform as billed: These golf clubs get the ball in the air and keep it there, Equipment Editor Kiel Christianson writes.
Nike Golf's wildly popular and PGA Tour-proven SQ Sumo driver has spawned a full line of clubs, which became available Nov. 1.
The SQ Sumo irons (MSRP $799 steel, $999 graphite) bring the SUMO line's hallmark high moment of inertia (MOI) to approach shots, increasing forgiveness and dampening vibration and torque on miss-hits with an extremely wide, heavy sole and a polymer insert behind the clubface. Despite the considerable bulk of the clubhead, however, the irons don't look overly clunky at set-up or feel excessively heavy.
We tested a full set of SQ SUMO irons (PW-4-iron) extensively for over a month, both on the golf course and on the range. We also swapped out the 4 iron for a 24-degree (= 4 iron) SQ SUMO hybrid (the traditionally-shaped version) and added a 21-degree hybrid (= 3-iron). The overwhelming impression is that Nike's newest game-improvement irons do precisely what they are billed to do: get high-handicappers' shots up in the air, and keep them there.
In true "game-improvement" form, the SUMO are not designed to work the ball. Period. Well-struck shots will have one dominant and intransigent ball-flight - essentially high and in the direction the clubface is pointed at impact.
We found the toe to be perhaps a tad heavy, and consequently somewhat easy to leave open at times. The result was a consistent push. However, when more mindful of set-up (i.e., when we shut the face just a bit), these irons delivered one towering, long, soft-landing shot after another.
In a head-to-head comparison with the Cleveland CG Gold irons (another recent market entrant with a yellow polymer insert behind the clubface), the SQ SUMO produced higher and softer-landing shots, while the CG Gold provided more workability and a lower, more piercing ball flight.
High-handicappers who are serious about finding more consistency in their game would do well to take the SQ SUMO irons out for a test-swing. Lots of engineering features incorporated into this iron will aid high-handicappers, from the wide sole that sails through even thick rough to the offset clubhead to the saintly forgiveness of the polymer insert. All of which serve to offset the occasional problem that the invariantly high ball flight might cause on windy days (unless you live in a consistently windy locale).
One of the nicest features is the ease with which the high irons can be exchanged for SQ SUMO hybrids ($159 each), which put a serious hurting on the ball in their own right. Unlike the irons, we found the 21- and 24-degree SQ SUMO hybrids with the traditional shape to be excellent for working the ball in both directions (though their slight offset favors a draw).
You won't see any tour pros playing these irons (unlike their big-headed driver inspiration), but if Nike's success in players' clubs is any indication of their influence on the game-improvement market, you will begin seeing a lot of weekend warriors with rapidly falling handicaps playing them.
For more information, visit www.nikegolf.com.
December 10, 2007
Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Illinois. Read his golf blog here.
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