By Coach Erik Schjolberg – Apr 19, 2022
List Of All Nike Drivers by Year Released
Nike Drivers by Year Table:
|Year Released||Nike Driver Model||Price / Where to Buy|
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|2017||VPR Strike (Unreleased)|
Vapor Fly Pro
Volt Vapor Speed
|2014||VRS Covert 2.0|
VRS Covert 2.0 Tour
VRS Covert Tour
|2011||VR Pro (Limited Edition)|
SQ Machspeed Black Round
SQ Machspeed Black Square
VRS STR8-FIT Tour
SQ Machspeed STR8-FIT
|2008||SQ Sumo 5000|
SQ Sumo2 5900
Sasquatch Sumo2 (Squared)
Sasquatch 460 Tour
NDS (Nike Distance Series)
|2003||450 Forged Titanium|
300 Forged Steel
|2002||Nike Forged Steel (300cc)|
275 Forged Titanium
350 Forged Titanium
400 Forged Titanium
Nike Drivers History
Nike has a storied history with sports, and has been around since 1964 originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports, but wasn’t finally named Nike until 1978. Nike had a brief, explosive, and successful stint with golf balls and clubs, and left many wondering why they left the space.
Nike got into the golf industry in 1984 with their first ever golf shoe. 1989 brought their first glove, and the 1990s saw releases of towels and clothing. Nike took a hockey stick-like rise in the late 1990s due to none other than Tiger Woods.
Signing Tiger to an unprecedented endorsement deal at the young age of 20 made Tiger and Nike a household name. For the first five years of his contract, Tiger wore Nike apparel, but wasn’t able to use Nike equipment until it was manufactured in 2000.
Tiger won the Memorial in 2000, the first tournament while using a Nike golf ball. He went on to complete the “Tiger Slam,” winning the next four major championships, with that same Nike ball. In 2002 Tiger began using Nike clubs.
To some criticism, famously by Phil Mickelson, Nike Golf, and their drivers were thought to be inferior products. Nike proved otherwise with top athletes signing on, and winning a staggering 23 tournaments in 2009.
Nike drivers were hit and miss as they pushed boundaries and tried new things. The 2007 Sumo2 was the first ever square driver. Aimed to be HIGH MOI and very forgiving fell short with distance and sales. Conversely, the SQ Dymo STR8-FIT from 2009 was the first adjustable shaft and head combination and sold very well.
Near the end of equipment manufacturing, Nike seemed to be on top. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy won majors with Nike drivers and equipment. Releasing their last driver, the Vapor series, featured a night blue and yellow color scheme and equipment advancements, only to call it a quits that same year.
When and Why did Nike Stop Making Golf Clubs
Nike announced in August 2016, shortly after signing young rising stars Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka, that they would no longer be producing clubs, balls, and bags. Nike’s decision to stop making hard goods was layered.
Being a powerhouse sports brand surrounded by winning, Nike built their brand on just that. Winning. They didn’t take a different approach for a game of misses. The “winning is everything” Nike way doesn’t translate to a game where the best in the world only win a few times a year.
Nike also assumed, because they are Nike, that they earned a spot at the top of the golf equipment food chain, without proving they deserve to be there. Other brands like Callaway, TaylorMade, and Titleist proved their clubs, particularly drivers, were the best and earned their market share. Nike’s prestige from other sports didn’t translate to the average golf consumer.
What really put Nike Golf behind the eight ball, and led to the decision to discontinue club and ball manufacturing was innovation. Nike took big risks on “innovative” product advancements that were untested, and worse yet, unproven. Nike was lacking a solid core of reliable clubs that other manufacturers have, and gives them the freedom to try gimmicks and innovation.
At the end, Nike thought that being Nike was all it would take to be successful in the club making space. Golf arguably has the most informed and dedicated fan base, and it’s one of the only sports that anyone can play at virtually any age. Building trust and reliability is very important to be a successful club maker, and, sadly, Nike failed to tap into that.