Nike and Ping's Huge New Drivers

Nike and Ping’s Huge New Drivers

Autumn is time for football, apple cider, searching for your ball under a leaf in the fairway and drooling over the new drivers in the pro shop. The big companies are taking the wraps off their new-for-2006 missile launchers in time for the holidays, and two sticks from industry titans debut later this month: Ping's G5 is a clever update of its G2 while Nike's SasQuatch is a whole new thunderstick from the swoosh company.

Nike Sasquatch 460

On the heels of the Ignite driver, Nike takes a giant step forward with the appropriately named SasQuatch. "Bigfoot" looks larger in he playing position than anything we've seen. That's because the head is stretched from front to rear. (The painted black area reflects Ignite shaping; the gray is the add-on.) This design moves mass low and further away from the face. You've heard it before, but it bears repeating: Weight low and back makes it easier to get shots up; it also helps you close the face more readily. Most players should gravitate to the SasQuatch 460. The Tour 460, for better players, has a taller face but less breadth to create piercing trajectory and greater workability. Comes in 8.5º, 9.5º, 10.5º, Lucky 13.5º and Sweet 16º lofts.

460: $359, Tour 460: $419; 800-922-6453, {C}{C}


Ping G5

At first blush, the 460cc G5 looks a lot like the existing G2. But there's more than a cosmetic upgrade here. For starters, the G5 crown is 30 percent thinner. This savings of five grams is not impressive sounding, but the byproduct is significant. Moving more weight low creates lower-spinning shots (by 200 to 400 rpm) and, thus longer tee balls. The club's construction also contributes to a crisper sound and feel. Here's another bonus: Ping bumped up lofts by one-half of a degree to better help you attain ball-flight nirvana–the Buddhist state of high-launch, low-spin shots all the time. Also, the half-moon optic on top is less pronounced than before but just as effective. Available in 7.5º, 9º, 10.5º, 12º, 13.5º lofts.

$350; 800-474-6434,