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Nike to Recall Sumo2

An interesting story in Golf Digest today about Nike recalling its new Sumo2 driver over conformance issues:

Nike Golf will recall its new, square-shaped Nike Sumo2 driver, due to what it calls an “unauthorized manufacturing variance.” According to sources, Nike is instructing all retailers to remove the driver from shelves “immediately” and begin returning them to the company. Individual golfers will be able to return their current Sumo2 driver for a new, conforming model starting March 26. (source)

Nike posted the recall on its website here. The company said it believe the issue impacts a “minority” of its Sumo2 drivers sold. Interestingly, the non-conformance issue is related to distance, apparently “1 or 2 yards,” according to Nike Golf.

What will this do to Nike’s Sumo2 marketing? Time will tell whether the club recovers from this problem.

Update: As reader Alain notes: “The SUMO 2 conformance program only applies to the US for the moment. Details for Canada and other countries will come later.”

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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  • Obviously any recall a corporation has to undergo is costly and inopportune, whenever it happens.

    But at the same time I could also see a great new marketing slogan if the Sumo is re-released (assuming they finally comply with USGA friendly specs).

    Something to the effect of: “So long off the tee the USGA doesn’t want you to have it. Too bad for them.” It might inspire a lot of people to check it out. I know that when the Callaway ERC was banned a few years ago from the US (and yet not in Scotland for some reason) that created a frenzy of people who wanted to try it out.

    Hope all is well Mr. Thompson.

  • The SUMO 2 conformance program only applies to the US for the moment. Details for Canada and other countries will come later.

    I bought one a couple of weeks ago. I hope I won’t have to show the “USGA conforming mark” to everyone I compete this summer…

  • Here’s what I received on Friday from Nike Canada.
    TORONTO (March 16, 2007)—Nike Golf Canada announced measures today to help Canadian consumers of SasQuatch SUMO² drivers after the discovery of an unauthorized manufacturing variance caused a number of the clubs to fall out of Nike Golf’s approved engineering specifications.

    The variance has affected the Characteristic Time (CT) measurement of the drivers that results in an additional distance benefit of only one to two yards. However, the variance lies outside of the parameters established by the United States Golf Association (USGA). There is no impact on the safety or durability of the product.

    As a result, a number of SUMO² drivers manufactured may not conform to USGA regulations. As a precaution, another conforming SUMO2 driver has already been submitted to the USGA to be approved for placement on the conforming list. Nike Golf anticipates that it will complete the approval process with the USGA by March 19.

    The Royal Canadian Golf Association and the USGA both abide by the same standard that determines whether a driver face conforms to the Rules of Golf. A driving club that is non-conforming according to the USGA is also non-conforming in Canada.

    In response, Nike Golf Canada announced that it is offering three options to Canadian consumers of the SUMO² drivers in conjunction with its Conformance Program:

    They can trade their SUMO² driver (Cdn suggested retail price $499.99) for a SUMO driver (Cdn SRP $399.99) and a SQ Fairway wood (Cdn SRP $249.99)

    Or they may ask for a full refund at the location where they purchased the club

    Or they can submit their SUMO² for testing to Nike Golf Canada between May 1 and June 1

    “To ensure that Canadian golfers who purchased the SUMO² driver are treated fairly, we are offering them three options,” said Mike Kelly, General Manager of Nike Golf Canada. “The error in manufacturing that led to some of the clubs being non-conforming was unintentional, but Nike Golf takes full responsibility for it.

    “Nike Golf Canada wants to ensure that Canadian golfers can enjoy their SUMO2 driver with peace of mind. We are guided by the same principles of fair play and goodwill that are the foundation for the Rules of Golf.”

    Nike Golf Canada has purchased a machine to test the clubs in Toronto. Clubs that pass the test will be etched with a defining mark of full compliance to USGA regulations. Non-conforming clubs will be replaced at no cost to the consumer. All costs relating to testing will be done at Nike Golf Canada’s expense.

    For more information on the Conformance Program, visit http://www.nikegolf.ca.

    Nike Golf is implementing the Nike Golf SUMO² Conformance Program—the primary element of a Nike Golf action plan to ensure marketplace conformity to USGA regulations of the highly popular SUMO² driver.

    In the absence of a published protocol, Nike Golf is taking the lead for the industry by voluntarily conducting this testing and replacement program that could serve as a model for other manufacturers. Nike Golf also expects other manufacturers’ products to be tested by the USGA in the future.

    Nike Golf was notified by the USGA in late February 2007 that there was a potential concern pertaining to the CT of SUMO² drivers in the marketplace. CT is a measurement that predicts the potential for a spring-like effect on a driver’s face.

    On receipt of this notification, Nike Golf immediately embarked on a full and thorough investigation into what transpired since the original product submission and the USGA’s October 2006 approval prior to manufacturing. It was subsequently revealed that during early production, an unauthorized manufacturing variance occurred.

    “Nike Golf is a company that cares about fair golf competition, and that our customers have complete confidence that the club in their bag conforms to the Rules of the game,” said Nike Golf President Bob Wood “As such, we are working with the USGA to implement a process to replace any SUMO² driver. It is Nike Golf’s commitment to do the right thing for golfers in an open and straightforward manner.”

    In addition to the SUMO² Conformance Program, Nike Golf also has taken the following actions to comply with the USGA regulations in ensuring that all SUMO² drivers are fully conforming:

    Instituted 100% inspection at the production factory overseas.

    Instituted 100% inspection in our Memphis distribution centre.

    This action plan only will apply to the SUMO² driver. The Nike Golf SUMO driver and SasQuatch driver, and all other Nike Golf products are fully conforming.

    With respect to the entire Nike Golf Tour Staff, this issue has no relevance due to the individual fitting and testing through Nike Golf’s Fort Worth club research and development facility before any product goes into an athlete’s bag. All Nike Golf athletes have USGA conforming product, +including K.J. Choi who has been using the SUMO² driver since October when he won the Chrysler Championship.

  • I was recently asked by a teaching pro at a driving range to stop using my SUMO squared driver because it was too noisy. When I said I would report this incident to Nike, he said it was a joke. But when he asked me to stop using it again (he was teaching a class several stalls away), I stopped, but I told the head pro, who was also there, that I would never return to his golf course again.

    I am now embarrassed by my behavior but also feel that I can no longer use this club at a driving range for fear that I would disturb someone else.

    May I return this driver for a refund?

    George Omi
    244 E. Strawberry Drive
    Mill Valley, CA 94941

    415-383-0655

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