Nike VR_S Fairway Review
Looks: The first thing that struck me when I looked down at the VR_S 3 wood was that it looks like a really big head. The footprint of the VR_S looks significantly bigger than my Titleist 910 F-d, but in reality, they’re the same volume, but the size is used differently. The VR_S has a shallower face than I’m used to, as well. Obviously, the F-d is a deep-faced 3 wood, so the difference is pretty striking compared to what I’ve been playing. The fairway woods also have the same crown graphics as the driver. Again, they don’t cause any distraction, nor do they provide any alignment help.
The headcover on the fairways offer much more protection than the driver headcover. It’s a standard cover with the long sock to protect the shaft, and it’s like the other covers with the black/silver/red color scheme.
First off, the VR_S 3 wood is great off the turf. I would say that it is better from the ground than my F-d. It launches easily, carries a long way, and it’s generally a solid performer. My trackman analysis showed that it probably spins a bit too much for me, but I didn’t notice any ballooning or anything on the course. It has a bit of a sharp looking leading edge, which seemed to help with turf interaction, especially on the tight fairways I was playing on in Texas. If you primarily use your 3 wood for approach shots, this thing is great.
However, I use my 3 wood a lot more often from the tee than on approach shots. I’m a huge dork who keeps stats from all of my rounds, and since the beginning of 2011, I have used my 3 wood off the tee 145 times, and only 66 times for approaches. As such, performance from the tee box is my overriding concern when choosing a 3 wood. Even though I adjusted the height I was teeing the ball, I really struggled with the shallow face on the VR_S 3 wood. I hit 5 of 8 fairways while using it, but I remember at least two of them were not good shots – one was a bit of a popup that went about 210 yards, and the other ended up in the fairway only because it was a very wide hole with about 40 yards of fairway right of where I was aimed. I like my 3 wood to be a club that I can turn to when the driver isn’t going so well and I really need to hit a fairway, and it just didn’t inspire that kind of confidence. It may be something that I could adjust to if I kept it in play over time, but the 3 wood was always going to be the toughest spot in the bag for the VR_S to kick out the incumbent.
Launch monitor results
While the numbers off the tee don’t look terribly dissimilar, the big difference is dispersion, which was significantly better on the course, and in my range sessions with my current club.
Nike: BS – 150.7, LA – 10.3, Spin – 3905
Titleist: BS – 150.2, LA – 9.8, Spin – 3370
Nike: BS – 149.7, LA – 11.8, Spin – 3771
Titleist: BS – 151.2, LA – 10.6, Spin – 3532
There isn’t really much noteworthy about the feel or sound of the VR_S fairway compared to any other fairways I’ve hit. It definitely feels solid, and gives average feedback – I could definitely tell whether I hit it solid or not. There isn’t anything really unique about the sound – I’d say it sounds less harsh than the RBZ fairway, but that’s only based on about 10 balls that I hit with the RBZ at a demo day. Compared to my current fairway, the feel of the VR_S is a little less hollow, with less of a springy feeling. That’s neither good nor bad, and is more related to face depth than anything.
The Bottom Line
The VR_S fairway wood is a nice club, but it’s not the right fit for me. If you primarily use your fairway woods from the fairway, or if you’re not a mental midget like me and can actually hit a shallow faced fairway wood from a tee, then the VR_S might be for you. Again, I’d recommend trying different shaft options to find the right fit for you. For me, the AD-DI 8 is the perfect fairway shaft, and it performs well in this head, as well. Thanks to Nike for providing this custom option, as I know it is quite an expensive upgrade. I will be working with the WRX staff to find a way to give this club away to someone who will use it. Unfortunately, the face got a little scratched up from a shot off some sandy turf, but it’s still in fine shape.
By Zak Kozuchowski, GolfWRX Staff Writer
Golfers spend countless hours on the range trying to learn how to hit their clubs further and make their approach shots land softer.
That’s why Tom Stites, director of product creation for Nike golf clubs, has spent years developing equipment that helps golfers accomplish those goals.
The pursuit of perfection is never complete, but Nike has made strides toward creating an line of products that aren’t just good looking, but perform well on shots that aren’t struck in the middle of the face.
Nike’s VR_S series — a line of drivers, woods, hybrids and irons, are all about increasing the ball speed of all shots.
“Without ball speed, there is no component of distance,” Stites said. “We know the equation, E=MV2. If we can increase the ball speed even a little amount it gets squared [in the equation]. So six years ago, we started an internal project where we tried to flatten out the .083 COR limit across the face.”
Stites said that better players who miss shots a little bit will see improvements from the VR_S line, but it’s players who miss the sweet spot often who will see the greatest benefit from the new line.
Even though the VR_S Forged Irons were not initially designed with Tour players in mind, the company has had quite a few of its staff players turn to the VR_S forged long irons instead of long irons and hybrid because they can hit them further and make them land softer. Tiger Woods is one of those players, who has recently been playing with a VR_S forged 3 iron (bent to 2 iron specs) as a replacement for his Nike muscle back 2 iron.
“I don’t think we’ll see a max exodus from hybrids, but it gives our players more options,” Stites said.
Nike will unveil its VR_S series across the country at “Speed Trials,” a marketing campaign at Nike demo days and select retailers across the country. Stores like Golf Galaxy, Golf Smith, Worldwide golf, PGA TOUR SUPERSTORE and Golf Town will offer Speed Trial fittings at weekend demo days throughout the year, as well as VR_S giveaways and the chance to play golf with Nike athletes.