Nike Drivers by Year: The Drivers That Won!

Nike Drivers by Year: The Drivers That Won!

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For intermediate to high handicap golfers, the Nike Driver offers everything you could want in a club. Additionally, a number of PGA Tour pros have been spotted using Nike drivers, including Tiger Woods, who carries the Nike Ignite 460 and Ignite 410, among others.

In 2016, Nike announced that it would stop producing clubs due to lack of profits. In honor of 14 years of Nike’s tireless riders, we’re taking a look back at those years to see all the styles they’ve released. For enthusiasts and collectors, you can still find used ones at the link provided.

main nike riders by year include:

Read on to find out about all the other drivers Nike has launched and how they perform.

All Nike Driver of the Year

Year drive model
2017 VPR Strike (never released)
2016 Steam Flight Pro
2016 steam fly
2015 steam elasticity
2015 vapor velocity
2015 Vapor Pro
2015 Volt vapor velocity
2014 Covert 2.0
2014 Stealth 2.0 Tour
2013 hidden
year 2011 SQ Machspeed Black Square
year 2011 SQ Machspeed Black Round
year 2011 VR Pro (Limited Edition)
2010 SQ Machspeed STR8-FIT
2010 VRS STR8-FIT Tour
2010 virtual reality tour
2009 SQ Power 2
2009 SQ power
Year 2008 SQ Sumo 5000
Year 2008 SQ Sumo 5900
year 2006 SQSumo
year 2006 SQ Sumo 2
year 2006 kindle 450
2005 Area 460
2005 SQ 460 Tour
year 2004 kindle 460
year 2004 kindle 410
year 2004 Network Data System
Year 2003 300 forged steel
Year 2003 450 Forged Titanium
year 2002 400 Forged Titanium
year 2002 350 Forged Titanium
year 2002 275 Forged Titanium
year 2002 Nike forged steel

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history of nike riders

Quicken Loans National 6/27/18 Tiger Woods Driving
Photo by KA Sports from Hanover, MD, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Nike first entered the golf market in 1984 with its line of shirts and shoes and found great success. In particular, one of their golf shoes called the “Turnberry” became a hit. However, that’s not what the Nike driver was meant to do.

After opening a research facility called “The Oven” and manufacturing drives for 14 years from 2002 to 2016, the company has announced that the Vapor Fly series will be its last. They simply don’t make enough profit to justify releasing a new model. That’s why if you look everywhere today, you won’t be able to buy new Nike golf clubs.

Many of their models have proven popular in top usage. However, the brand was strongly condemned. Phil Mickelson, for example, has been critical of Nike golfers as inferior to rival brands. However, that hasn’t stopped the following players from using Nike drivers.

  • tiger woods
  • maverick mcneely
  • Brooke Koepka
  • Tony Furno
  • Tommy Fleetwood
  • Francesco Molinari
  • Rory McIlroy

By 2009, Nike had helped pros win a total of 23 golf championships with their gear. Plus, Tiger Woods won two PGA majors while using Nike drivers, a testament to their quality. Still, when you consider Nike golfers by year, they push the envelope better in some years than others. Ultimately, they were unable to beat their competitors in this market and were eliminated.

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Nike Driver Golf Clubs by Year

Nike Ignite Driver (2004)

Nike Drivers Ignite by Year

Tiger Woods used the Nike Ignite Driver, which made the model famous. It earned high marks for forgiveness and accuracy in the course. Keep in mind that if you buy the original version of this driver, it does not comply with today’s rules of golf. The NexTi titanium face is said to be the hottest thing ever, and it creates a spring-like effect when you hit the ball.

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SQ 460 (2005)

The Nike SQ driver release date shows the line was first released in 2005. SQ is an acronym for SasQuatch. It is considered a driver who excels in all important areas. Overall, it’s just a great all-around bag, so it’s a huge hit. It has a unique yellow design and is very easy to identify.

The head of this model was slightly lighter and darker than what we see today. It works because this driver keeps weight down.

SQ Sumo2 — Nike Square Driver (2007)

One of the reasons it’s so sad to see Nike go is because they really were golf innovators. Granted, a lot of their equipment wasn’t quite up to par, but they certainly pushed the game forward and forced competitors to develop new technologies.

Nowhere was this more evident than when the first Nike square driver was released in 2007, in fact, it was the end of the very first square driver! The strange square head and dazzling yellow and black design are very unusual. However, it marked a pivotal moment in golf history.

Unfortunately, this club’s high MOI isn’t enough to attract buyers, and it’s really struggling to sell.

Nike VR_S Covert Driver (2013)

nike riders by year vr_s secrets

They designed the VR_S series around speed and distance. When you swing this club, it blasts off the tee. Aesthetically, it’s one of the best-looking drivers Nike has ever put out, and we even think it’s the best-performing Nike driver. With its modern look and easily adjustable loft, it’s no surprise that it captivated golfers at the time.

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Nike Vapor Fly Driver (2016)

Nike Driver of the Year Vapor Fly

The Nike Vapor Fly driver has three key technologies that helped it succeed in 2016. The HyperFlight clubface is thinned to minimize loss of ball speed. Next, the compression channel was designed to help it create a springboard effect. Finally, the lighter crown keeps the center of gravity lower, which reduces spin, increases forgiveness, and creates a higher trajectory. This golfer provides solid feedback that many players appreciate.

The reason for its popularity is that it feels light enough to swing, sounds great at impact, and gives you plenty of forgiveness. Color is also a noticeable improvement, as it helps the driver stand out. That being said, its blue and yellow hues aren’t an option everyone will love.

What happened after Nike exited the market?

Brooks_Koepka wears Nike press conference
Joe Schilp, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Nike exited the market in 2016 after signing PGA Tour pros Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau. They left the clubs, balls and bags market, but you can still get their shoes, hats and shirts.

When Nike opted out of the golf club market, they did so because they didn’t see the massive success they hoped for. The game was brutal and they couldn’t keep up with some of the better players.

Bloomberg reported in 2016 that Nike’s golf division was down 8.2 percent. That means they only made $706 million, making them Nike’s worst-performing major category. As a result, Nike will be eager to exit.

The biggest mistake Nike made when entering this market was relying on their prestigious laurels as Nike. Despite their reputation, they are not innovating in this market as much as others.

It’s an oversimplification to say any one thing has brought down their golf division. In the end, they made a series of marketing mistakes and failed to attract enough customers. They might even be overly reliant on Tiger Woods to sell more clubs, but since the clubs aren’t as good as the others, people go elsewhere.

It’s easy to discredit Nike. But before we move on, let’s take a final look at Nike’s triumph in the golf market:

frequently asked questions

When did Nike stop making golf clubs?

Nike discontinued its golf clubs in 2016 when it decided to stop making golf clubs, balls and bags. They made this decision because their products were not attracting sufficient customer volume, so it was not profitable to continue producing them.

What Nike driver does Tiger Woods use?

Tiger Woods was a heavy user of Nike gear during his prime. He used a Forged Titanium driver in the 2002 Masters and an Ignite 460 in the 2005 Masters. The following year he switched to a newer SasQuatch 460 Tour and stuck with it for a few years. By 2012, he had upgraded to a VR tour.

Why did Nike stop making clubs?

Nike stopped making clubs for a variety of reasons, but it ultimately boiled down to a lack of customer traffic. They weren’t getting the sales they needed to be profitable. Part of the reason for this includes marketing missteps and an overreliance on the merits of previous successes.

Will there be a Nike golfer in 2023?

Unfortunately, there will be no new Nike drivers for 2023. The company stopped making golf clubs in 2016 due to poor profits.

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in conclusion

Hopefully this Nike Driver Annual Report has given you an overview of the drivers Nike produces in the market. While they weren’t the favourites, many pros liked how they played, including Tiger Woods.

As it stands, it’s hard to find Nike drivers because they’re only available second-hand. So if you do own one and love the way it plays, love it because it’s very difficult to replace. For those who still have the original packaging, they can fetch a lot of money.

As far as the best Nike driver ever made, we have to go with the VR_S Covert driver, one of the company’s bigger success stories. While Nike didn’t capture this market as much as they did in other markets, they still produced some pretty good clubs.

matt gallus golf writer

Matt Travel the world as a professional writer and blogger, trying different golf courses in exotic places like the Philippines. He enjoys the challenge and tranquility of golf. For him, golf is a way to relax and enjoy life.

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