Nike's VR_S woods / NikeWelcome to Devil Ball's Proving Ground, where we put the latest golf equipment through its paces. Today we take a look at Nike's VR_S woods, and the Method putter.
Tester -- Jonathan Wall -- Handicap: 2.7
Target Golf Audience -- All Players
You rarely see the words "Nike" and "underrated" together. When you produce neon yellow uniforms for the University of Oregon and some out-of-this-world shoes, you expect a level of fanfare to come along with your products.
But for one reason or another, Nike's golf club line has, for the most part, flown under the radar over the years ... until now. The Nike VR_S line (we had a chance to try out the driver, 3-wood and hybrid) may have a stealth look to them with the muted grays and silvers, but when we put these clubs to the test, they certainly made a loud (and proud) statement.
One of the knocks on Nike's woods in the past (especially the driver) was that the clubs were too loud. Some of my friends used to comment that it sounded like you were hitting an aluminum bat when it came off the face. It appears the engineers heard the complaints and found a way to get rid of the "ping" sound, because this year's VR_S driver sounds incredibly solid off the face.
That's a huge improvement after years of trying out Nike drivers and being frustrated with the lack of feedback I received from mishits. A big reason for the improvement in sound and feedback is due in large part to the new "NexCOR" face technology -- thickest in the middle and tapered toward the perimeter -- that's designed to increase ball speed over a large area of the face.
The ball rocketed off the driver, and the trajectory didn't seem to balloon on me. There was a penetrating ball flight that started with the driver and went right on down through the 3-wood and hybrid.
The grays and silvers, with a hint of VR red, give these clubs a clean look. I know some enjoyed the yellow in Nike's previous line, but these sticks scream class. You don't need to be flashy to get your point across -- especially when the clubs speak for themselves.
Transitioning and Playability
Like a number of clubs on the market today, the VR_S driver uses the STR8-Fit technology to give golfers a number of different face angles. With eight settings from 2 degrees open to 2 degrees closed, you can use the wrench to make a host of changes to your driver.
Whether you really need the adjustable setting or not, it's nice to know you have the option to switch things up if you have a bad round. Even better? Nike decided to scale down the hosel area on the club which, if you'll recall, was incredibly busy and bulky in previous versions. Needless to say, this was an update that needed to be made.
All three clubs I received came with the Fubuki K-series (X-flex) shaft, which was a tad bit light for my taste (when you use a 71 gram shaft, everything feels like a twig). But after taking it through a lengthy range session, I noticed my ball speed and swing speed started to increase.
Even though it felt like I was swinging a feather in the beginning, Nike clearly knew what they were doing when they decided to lighten things up.
Mis-hits on this club were almost non-existent, which is great news if you're a weekend golfer. I hit a few off the toe and the heel just to get a sense of how the ball flew and was amazed how the "NexCOR" technology masked the mis-hits. Even if you have an off day, it's nice to know your driver won't give you a sense that the wheels are falling off.
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