When you think of Nike irons, you tend to think of one man in particular and the blades that have taken him to so many victories. In fact, many have commented that it is Tiger’s use of blades that has caused a renaissance in their use, both among Tour players and better amateurs as everyone looks to capture just a shard of the great man’s ball striking ability. The Victory Red appellation is obviously a combination of Nike’s recent domination of iron win count (22 victories on all major Tours this year and 27 on the same tours last year) along with Tiger’s favored final day colour.

Tiger has had direct input to the design of all the Victory Red irons. Prior to his absence from competition with his knee injury he worked alongside Nike’s team of designers and engineers with the aim to create Nike Golf’s best irons ever. It goes without saying that out of the 3 Victory Red irons his efforts are most evident in these, the new premium irons – the Nike Victory Red Forged TW Blades.

Nike tell us that the VR Blades have the same centre of gravity (COG) as Tiger’s irons and have already been picked up by Nike Staffers such as Paul Casey, KJ Choi, Stewart Cink, Charl Schwartzel – who recently won at the Madrid Masters on the European Tour after only 3 weeks with the new irons – and many others. For so many of their Tour players to have adopted them so early clearly shows that Nike have come out with something that offers a little more than the previous generation. While Tiger did not have these irons in the bag at his victory at the US Open in Torrey Pines, he thought enough of the marque to find space for a 60-degree Victory Red Wedge.

Three-quarter view showing high muscleback and long hosel

Technical Specs

Iron 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 PW
Loft 18 21 24 27 31 35 39 43 47
Lie 59.0 60.0 60.5 61.0 62.0 62.5 63.0 63.5 64.0
Bounce 2 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Length 39.5″ 39.0″ 38.5″ 38.0″ 37.5″ 37.0″ 36.5″ 36.0″ 35.75″

Material: 1025 forged carbon steel
Forging House: Undisclosed (China)
Finish: Chrome
Standard grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord
Standard shafts: Dynamic Gold
Custom shafts: Available from Aldila, Royal Precision, True Temper, UST

Face-on view highlighting box toe, straight leading edge and hosel-toe lines

Appearance

A traditional muscleback that differs from Nike’s original Blades by have a larger muscleback and a fractionally thicker toe-line. The clubhead is also a fractionally longer heel-to-toe than the original Blades but you’re looking at no more than a 1/16 of an inch, if that. The club is finished in sparkling chrome that is so shiny that it’s practically a mirror and the face and muscleback is a blasted matte to reduce glare.

For the traditionalists, the colour scheme of the Victory Red line is always going to be a little gaudy but these clubs have 2 things going for them: firstly, the colour scheme is far more muted in real life than it appears in photos, and secondly at address all that can be seen are the clean chrome lines of the head with the only hint of colour coming from the small red circle near the top of the ferrule.

It’s at address that you can really appreciate what a beautiful piece of forging they are. When the club is sat next to the ball, the thin top line, elegant hosel and straight edges flow together to make the ball look even bigger giving you real confidence. It’s only when you get down to the longer irons that the realization that these are butter knives kicks in and that they are going to demand the best swing you have.

3,5 and 7 irons at address

Performance

Exceptionally good, these are players irons and make no apologies for it. While mid-trajectory shots are the easiest to produce, both high soaring shots and three-quarter punches are well within your grasp and a full swing generates serious distance. Deceptively for a club with such a high COG (from both the high muscleback and the long hosel) there’s still enough spin that you are able to work the ball with ease and even hold greens with long irons. The sole is narrow with a rolled leading edge and a ground-off trailing edge which favors precise ball-striking and the ability to pick the ball off the turf with medium to small divots.

In the short and medium irons, flag are targets and the ball can be fired at them with real venom as distance control is very simple. Moving towards the longer irons requires a little more circumspection as you become aware that these clubs have been designed for performance first and forgiveness second. That’s not to say that they are difficult clubs to get airborne but missing the sweetspot in any direction results in a noticeable loss of distance – but then that is a fact of life with pretty much any blade – and tingling fingers as your mistake is made known.

VR Blade sole grind

Feel

One of the rewards of playing blades is that wonderful sensation you get when you flush one out of the middle. The satisfaction of hitting the ball dead on comes from the choral symphony of feedback as the club sings in your hands in a way that no cavity back ever will. Nike have only been in the business of producing blades for a few years now and while it’s a little unfair to judge them against the acknowledged masters of forged irons like Mizuno and Titleist, in a like-for-like comparison it would be hard to say that these irons have quite the feel of the MP-67 or the Z-M. That’s not to say that the VR Blades do not give you a fantastic level of feel, it’s just that they are a fraction of a percent off the top spot.

Conclusion

While the VR Blades are very similar in concept to the previous generation of Nike’s blades, they contain a series of small but definite improvements that mean that the performance is so good that they should be considered by anyone looking for new blades.

Tiger had this to say about these irons – “I like the new VR Blades because of the consistent feel throughout the bag, how good it looks in a playing position and my workability. I can shape the ball both ways, change my trajectory, do whatever I need to do to hit the ball closest to the hole and be as efficient as I can throughout the round. That’s ultimately what you want to have happen. I hope to have these new irons in my bag upon my return to competition.” – And let’s be honest, you don’t get much more of an endorsement than that.

For more information visit www.nike.com

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34 COMMENTS

  1. Thats because you are a 34 handicap, youre not even close to being able to hit a blade hahahahaha. try top flite or dunlop for beginners.

  2. I recently picked up a set of these irons. I had been gaming the original pro combos and decided I was ready for a blade. I pulled the shafts and put my PX Flighted Rifle 6.0 on them with Pure Pro grips and I am in love. Played them in a SIM a few times and was able to get out once last week. The cold weather crushed my distances as I could barely fly a PW 110 but the feel is amazing. If you are looking for a true players iron this is it. I only play the 5-PW as I use 3 and 4 Adams A7 hybrids.

  3. my handycap is a 34 and i moved to these clubs from the ping i3+ i thought i would play like tiger if i bought them, i can’t even make contact with the ball using a putter let alone one of these 8 irons

  4. wow what can i say a 15 y/o hitting his 7 iron 185 to 225 yds i must be doing something seriously wrong , i use these blades , have been for over a year , im playing off scratch with s/s 115 -125, they are very nice clubs ,mind you it did take a little getting used to, need to get your ball striking consistent , and some good mechanics in it , better for a sweeper type than a digger . my average drive is around 280=290 in play with a few just over 300 per round of 18, now best i can do out of my 4 iron is 220, maybe i need to go back to the drawing board with my swing , but im playing some good golf and loving every minute of it with these clubs , but i am also able to smile when i duff one now and then, i do agree with some of the above comments re-blades or bladed irons , i believe in reverse curve learning , these and other bladed irons will improve your swing and mechanics if your dedicated enough or continue punishing you until you do, simply put these irons give back exactly what you put in , if you put in rubbish , you will be given less distance and ball flight soaring at a rate of knots left or right , very low and a nice numbness in your hands for about 5 minutes, but the feeling when you hit them sweet is pretty damn good , im not changing mine anytime soon .

  5. By a long shot, one of the best article l have come across on this valuable subject. I quite go along with with your assumptions and will thirstily look forward to your future updates.

  6. I am an original Nike Forged Blade player. Over the past winter, I purchased the VR with my winnings from the local men’s club. I really liked the feel of the VR and the spin I got from all the irons and the wedges. However, I just wasn’t scoring well with the new VRs. After 30+ rounds of giving the VRs a try and plenty of range work, I switched back to my original Nike Forged Blades…WOW!!! The scoring went back to where it should be (mid 70s, with an occasional low 80s). Overall, sorry to say, especially as good as the VRs feel and look, I am set on the original Nike Forged Blades!!!

  7. Just wanted to add a touch to my previous comments…

    My TW Blades have the Dynamic Golf SL’s (Super-Light) as opposed to the regular DG’s or any other shaft which may be coming on these sets. Supposedly they’re 20% lighter than the stand DG’s. Although I haven’t played a set with any shaft other than my own DG SL’s, I’m pleased to say that these clubs up and down are some of the most balanced I’ve felt to date. My previous set was certainly heavier but the long irons in particular felt nowhere near as smooth as these do through my swing. For what it’s worth, I’m much more confident in swinging my new long irons than I was with my old set.

    Thought it was worth mentioning.

  8. Wow, what can I say? Having played these TW Blades for a short period now, both at the range and course, they are absolutely the coolest set of clubs I’ve owned or shot to date. Ultimately, it’s my opinion that if you’re serious enough about practicing and getting better at the game of golf, these Forged VR’s–Blades or Splits–are not too much club for someone of any (reasonable) handicap.

    I’m a mid-high handicapper (mostly thanks to inaccurate distance control on chips and pitches) who’s set to continue with what I can only describe as a relatively serious practice routine (at the range pretty much daily) so I wanted something I knew would push me as I went along as well as tell me when I was doing something right or wrong. I wouldn’t say my ball-striking is great all day everyday, but it’s far from bad especially with mid and short irons. Today, for example, it was simply money. In fact, I hit some of the most beautiful approach shots I’ve ever hit–some of my best–with the 7,8 and 9 irons.

    I’d say I hit these mid and short irons better than any I’ve previously owned. The feel of these clubs and they’re ability to get the ball nice and high and hold greens in exhilarating. Wow, do they hold fast on greens, btw! My balls were consistently coming down and spinning back towards me instead of rolling out a few yards. As a guy who’s usually happy to get a reasonable put for par, I had a few birdie opportunities today, thanks in part to the distance gap between these clubs and others. As John V so aptly stated above, your actual handicap shouldn’t always dictate what iron sets you play. If you struggle on the tee with the Driver and on greens putting but not in the fairway and tee with your irons, don’t give up on getting a nicer set based on reputation.

    The natural trajectory off these irons is fantastic, as well. Solid shots get up in the air very nicely and the distance these clubs are capable of really make good shots into something spectacular. There is definitely a significant difference between the way I was used to having the ball come off my club’s face and how its been jumping off with these new clubs. Off-center shots won’t be golden but they’re much better than I had anticipated. Today, for example, my 4 iron was up and down. I had some well struck balls and some which were struck either a bit fat or more towards the toe. Although, there’s no better recipe for killing power than hitting it fat, shots off the toe were not at all as ‘dead’ as one might have thought.

    I can’t recommend everybody carry these clubs but if you’re the type of player that is capable of hitting some solid iron shots and wants a club that will fade and draw the ball more “on-command” than some more forgiving irons, don’t be so quick to discount these clubs because of the reputation of blades. Ultimately, these were definitely more forgiving than I expected (or maybe I’m just that good!). :)

    Seriously though, from the long irons to the wedges, these clubs, with their distance and shot control, simply add to the game what Tiger always talks about–the indescribable fun it is to execute well-shaped shots.

  9. I’m fifteen years old and play off a scratch handicap.
    I thought these irons were incredibly easy to hit and working the ball was extraordinarily easy. Even the 3 iron(Blade) was easy to hit

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