The Nike SasQuatch driver
by Steve Pike
Its time for a geometry lesson from Professor Tom Stites,
chief club designer for Nike Golf. Hes brought along
his latest creation, the SasQuatchSQ for shorta
460cc driver that features a distinctive yellow sole design,
"Powerbow" technology and a club head configuration he expresses
as the "ideal ratio" between the width of the clubface and
the depth of the clubhead.
According to Stites, this configuration pushes up the breadth-to-face
length ratio of the club, resulting in a larger, more forgiving
sweet spot. In this era of moveable weights, Stites went back
to the basics in his quest to create a superior driver for
players at every levelway back, more than 2,000 years,
to the time of Greek philosophers Thales, Pythagoras and Euclid,
the founding fathers of what we know today as modern math.
Little did those ancient scholars know that one day a Texas
cowboywould use their theories to design a golf club for guys
named Tiger, Rory and K.J., not to mention the average joe.
How could they know that marketing monster Nike Golf would
name the club after a mythical beast from a land beyond Atlantis?
A lot about SasQuatch would have been mysterious to thembut
not the science behind it.
When Stites started designing clubs more than 20 years ago
for the Ben Hogan Company, drivers were 185cc and weighed
approximately 200 grams. Today he is working with 460cc clubfaces
that are still 200 grams. Thats about 2.5 times as much
volume in the same weight. As drivers got larger, the USGA
put a limit on how big they could be. Today that limit on
club face size is 460cc, plus a tolerance of 10cc. The USGA
also says that the distance from the heel to the toe of the
club head must be greater than the distance from the face
to the back. Nor may the distance from the heel to the toe
of the clubhead exceed five inches (127 mm) or the distance
from the sole to the crown exceed 2.8 inches (71.12 mm).
What all this means is that Stites and his fellow club designers
must stay within these limitations and at the same time find
new ways to create superior products. Through the power of
geometry and better materials like titanium, Stites has created
the Nike flagship driver for 2006.
"The SasQuatch has achieved a lower, deeper center of gravity
without the use of weights," he explains. "Moving the CG back
makes the club face easier to square at impact. When you move
the center of gravity back and low, the ball will launch higher
naturally because the center of gravity is trying to get in
line with the center of the shaft. This dramatically effects
how the ball comes off the golf club. The SQs Powerbow
technology provides the visual cue of the new geometry. Placed
on the back of the driver, the Powerbow expands the perimeter
of performance, making it easier to get the ball airborne
as well as to hit straight. Its trailing volume of mass applies
more power and control to the ball without overstepping the
Why is geometry a big deal in club design? Again, lets
go back in time. But instead of 2,000 years, we only need
to go back 30, to the days when Pings perimeter-weighted
Eye2 irons and Callaway Golfs oversized Big Bertha metal
woods provided textbook examples of the principle Better Golfing
through Geometry. Stites is banking on the SasQuatch doing
the same. After all, it was another legendary Greek mathematician,
Archimedes, who said, "Give me a lever long enough and a place
to stand, and I will move the world." The SQ may not move
the world, but it will certainly rock it.