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Clark: Give Nike Golf credit where credit is due



Remember all the criticism hurled at Rory McIlroy when he decided to switch to Nike Golf equipment? It’s quieter now, isn’t it?

The meteoric rise of Nike Golf has been nothing short of amazing considering that not very long ago, Nike Golf was the new kid on the block in the golf club business; a young company in a very old, well-developed industry. The success of Tiger Woods — and more recently McIlroy and Michelle Wie — has certainly been a huge part of the company’s growth, but success in the golf equipment industry has always come down to one thing: Do the clubs perform or not?

I’ve been on staff with Nike Golf now for some 10 years, so I’ve had a front row seat to watch it develop from an apparel company that also sold golf clubs to a full-fledged golf equipment powerhouse. It’s true that Nike is my company of choice as a golf professional, but If you’ve read any of my other GolfWRX stories you know that I let history, science and little else affect my opinions.

Here’s a story that nicely sums up Nike’s progress in the golf equipment world. I was giving a lesson about eight years ago and when we finished the student told me that he was interested in trying a new driver. I gave him mine to hit, a Nike Sasquatch, which at the time was one of the most forgiving drivers on the market and was pretty hot, too. But it had a problem and if you’ve ever hit one you know exactly what it was. People say it sounded like an aluminum baseball bat at impact and frankly I have to agree. While it was a great performer, it was one of the loudest drivers I’ve ever heard on the range.

Fast forward to today and you’ll find that Nike makes some of the best-looking, best-sounding and sweetest-feeling golf clubs in the industry. They offer a wide-ranging line of drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, putters and golf balls that have impressed everyone from the mini-tour players I teach to golfers who are just learning the game.

I’ve also been impressed with Nike’s ascendance on the PGA Tour. The company has teamed up with some the Tour’s finest young players: Kevin Chappell, Kyle Stanley, Scott Brown, Seung Yul Noh, Russell Henley, Jhonny Vegas and the world’s former No. 1-ranked amateur Patrick Rodgers. Ten years ago, it might have been hard for Nike to attract so many good young players to its golf brand. Now, Nike has its pick of the litter. That says a lot about how the perception of Nike Golf has changed among good players.

I also have great respect for the performance-first approach the GolfWRX Staff took with its 2014 Gear Trials: Best Clubs list, and you’ll see that Nike lead the way in several categories with its Covert 2.0 and 2.0 Tour drivers, and posted even more impressive results in the Best Players Irons and Best Game-Improvement irons with its Covert Forged and Covert 2.0 irons, respectively.

It is not hard to see why. As a teaching professional, I rely on feedback from my students and ball flight observations of my own. My FlightScope radar gives me raw data, but no technology can capture feel, that elusive feedback we get from impact and ball flight. The overwhelming positive responses I get from the current Nike offerings sanction my recommendations time after time.

It has been my experience that brand loyalty is not as high on a golfer’s priority list as one might think; my students will hit brand “XYZ” if I can show them the results, and Nike’s clubs and golf balls absolutely perform. For better players, Nike is truly at the forefront in the players irons and wedge categories, producing clubs that are not only innovative but meet incredibly high standards in looks, feel and performance.

The company’s master model maker, Mike Taylor, is the only living club maker who has made custom clubs for Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, and he was the force behind Nike’s new VR X3X Toe Sweep wedges, which have their heels designed in a way that allows golfers to hit shots around the green from deep rough without the heel-snagging problem that can affect more traditional wedges. For such a different-looking wedge, the reception with tour players has been phenomenal.

The radical-looking Nike VR X3X Toe Sweep wedge that Rory McIlroy used to win the BMW PGA Championship. Michelle Wie also won the 2014 U.S. Open with two Toe Sweep wedges in her bag (56 and 60 degrees). 

McIlroy used a 59-degree Toe Sweep to win the BMW PGA Championship, Europe’s most prestigious event outside The Open Championship. Michelle Wie used a combination of Nike’s VR X3X Dual Sole and Toe Sweep wedges to win her first major, the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst. The list goes on and on.

Nike Golf has never lost sight of its original goal when it entered the golf equipment space: To be the best. Neither the company’s affiliation with Nike Inc., nor its star-studded lineup of athletes who play its equipment could truly move Nike Golf toward that goal without a dedication to create the industry’s best products for its best players. The Nike Golf team also knew that it had to capture the great mass of average golfers around the world by crafting golf clubs that work for them, too, and the company has done just that.

How has Nike Golf come so far, so fast? It’s a simple formula: Hire the best people, listen to the industry’s feedback and make products of the highest quality. And as Nike so quickly learned, they should look, sound and feel amazing, too. At this rate of progress, the sky is truly the limit for them.

As always, feel free to send a swing video to my Facebook page and I will do my best to give you my feedback.

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Dennis Clark is a PGA Master Professional. Clark has taught the game of golf for more than 30 years to golfers all across the country, and is recognized as one of the leading teachers in the country by all the major golf publications. He is also is a seven-time PGA award winner who has earned the following distinctions: -- Teacher of the Year, Philadelphia Section PGA -- Teacher of the Year, Golfers Journal -- Top Teacher in Pennsylvania, Golf Magazine -- Top Teacher in Mid Atlantic Region, Golf Digest -- Earned PGA Advanced Specialty certification in Teaching/Coaching Golf -- Achieved Master Professional Status (held by less than 2 percent of PGA members) -- PGA Merchandiser of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Golf Professional of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Presidents Plaque Award for Promotion and Growth of the Game of Golf -- Junior Golf Leader, Tri State section PGA -- Served on Tri State PGA Board of Directors. Clark is also former Director of Golf and Instruction at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. He now directs his own school, The Dennis Clark Golf Academy at the JW Marriott Marco Island in Naples, Fla.. He can be reached at [email protected]



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  2. golffan4life

    Sep 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Dennis, my son just finished his college career playing all Nike equipment, he has not turned pro and is staying with nike. It has worked for him just fine. The new ball is very good as well. RZN black. Thanks for sticking up for what we feel is a great company.

  3. Mark Thorpe

    Aug 20, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    My Nike Pro Combos

    The seven and nine iron rusted after only two weeks use have been waiting for seven weeks

    Don’t buy poor quality poor customer service

  4. Scotty

    Aug 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    …but it’s not Titleist.

  5. 4under

    Jul 30, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Dear Nike Golf,

    Congrats on the recent success.

    Your club designs / quality control are still awful.

    • Justin

      Aug 17, 2014 at 11:54 pm

      Isn’t that why Tiger uses Muira irons?

    • golffan4life

      Sep 7, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Maybe you are just awful and not the clubs..

  6. Stuart

    Jul 26, 2014 at 3:17 am

    Couldn’t agree more but I will not buy as in Australia there is no custom fit for nike u buy as if off the shelf which is a big ask to the consumer forking out 1300$ for non fit irons

  7. GChild

    Jul 25, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    This is a really great article that speaks to the evolution of nike golf, great job! Rory, Money and marketing aside, all of these “young” players could NOT be more competitive and want to win every week. So the mention of the young talent Nike is attracting is a true testament to their commitment to excel and grow their brand. Also, I have know 3 nike staff pros who switched to another mfg because their margins were better and would increase their bottom line so to say the author is biased isn’t entirely true, you have to love the brand and how it performs to stick with a company for over 10 years. Especially if it may it may not be the most profitable.

    • Dennis Clark

      Jul 29, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

  8. rocagolf

    Jul 25, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    I know it sounds picky, but why cant they make their newer tour head drivers in black?? That red is so ugly. Doesn’t appeal as much to better amateur players in my (limited) experience, but I reckon Tiger and Rory play them for a reason.

    This is part of a broader complaint against drivers for being to gimmicky and ugly. Where are the Mizuno MP 600 classic shaped heads of 4 years ago? Even Titleist stuff sets up shut…

    Nike Irons in my experience are quite nice, though they’re a bit goosenecked…

  9. Harry

    Jul 24, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    No one buys Nike. I mean, they are giving away a free driver with a set of irons at pga. Who does that? They try to flood the market but no one wants the low level cast or standard stuff at least. They have improved, yes, but they are not Go to a country club, how many players use nike? Go to a club that rents clubs …they will tell you people laugh at nike. They are forcing them in your kids especially colleges so they have no choice and they just sponsor them. They are money whores. Over pay tiger Rory and everyone else. Nike is not a top golf company. They have improved but seriously, they aren’t close.

    • Billy

      Jul 25, 2014 at 1:51 am

      They are giving away free drivers with irons to compete with other companies, makes sense to me.

      Callaway did it, I am sure TM has done it as well.

    • GChild

      Jul 25, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      This is a very narrow minded view and makes no sense

    • JR

      Aug 5, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      Taylor Made just had a promo giving a free fairway wood with a purchase of a JetSpeed driver.

  10. Harry

    Jul 24, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Walk into a pga super store There’s a small section in the corner of the new clubs. The used club rack is flooded with nike. Yes, for the top of the line blades and maybe wedges here may be some quality. Maybe muira doesn’t make tigers irons any more. But either way, while it has come a long way since the ugly sling shots it made, it is no where near on the same level as the top club makers. People can buy what they want and a very few buy nike. Look at the market share. And a tour player can use whatever they want. Very few use nike. They overpay for all their talent. If Rory was given equal money by a competitor he wouldn’t have signed with Nike. And their balls blow. It’s a ridiculous percentage who used titleist this year. What percentage actually used nike balls. The oven is all for show. How do you know the quality??? They have some innovative ideas and good adjustment trends but other companies have actually made it better

    • James

      Jul 29, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      ^This guy. PGA stores are about as useful as dicks sporting goods. Look how good bringing in tons of product did for them. Selling golf equipment is hard now. Thanks to taylormade and callaway. Nike does it right and puts out great product. Can’t help the dumb closed minded people that probably thing the are tour pros but in reality are a 12 handicap.

      • Justin

        Aug 17, 2014 at 11:59 pm

        I wouldn’t say “Great”. I bought a Covert Tour 2.0 to mess with the adjustability (different from my Cobra ZL). It’s very much a “meh” club. I reshafted it to the same as my Cobra, eventually left it on “N” and 10.5 (like the Cobra), and other than the loud impact sound, there isn’t much difference.

  11. Barney Boom

    Jul 24, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    I was fortunate enough to travel from South Africa to The Oven about a year ago. I must say I was blown away by their dedication to innovation and by not following status quo by designing clubs that aren’t necessarily traditional looking. Their fitting facility is world class and ultimately as a fitter myself I know that by putting Nike clubs in a golfers hands they will perform and are definately a quality product. We need brands that aren’t scared to do something different because if it makes the game easier – I’m all for it

    • Harry

      Jul 24, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      Barney drank the kool aid

      • Patrick R

        Jul 25, 2014 at 3:31 pm

        Harry drank something else I guess. What did Nike do to you besides market Golf with Tiger to where golf became more popular than ever? Apparently you don’t see how you benefit with all the new courses, golf stores, web sites and product development. I personally don’t own a Nike club, but I have used their balls, they work fine. I have tried their blades and they felt great, I personally like how they have less offset than any of the other sets out there. But come on man, relax. More companies just mean more options for you.

  12. Moon

    Jul 24, 2014 at 11:29 am

    How could Nike take a credit in Rory’s recent victories? If order to do so, Nike must take a blame for Rory’s slump just before. If a player does well, it’s the equipment and when doesn’t do well it’s all personal?? Also, when Michelle Wie did not play well, it was her father, but now when she won it’s Nike’s credit??

    Don’t get me wrong. I like Nike as a company. Most of my apparels as well my balls are Nike. But, I just don’t think there is a credit due for Nike here.. I really don’t think Rory won because the equipments he was playing was superior to what others were playing including Tiger’s. I think he won because of his hard work and talents.

    • Jimmy

      Jul 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      Nike isn’t taking credit for his win. They, along with his other sponsors, are celebrating and congratulating Rory for his victory and accomplishment using their products. Same for Michelle Wie. If anything, look at the campaign Taylor Made put on when Kaymer won the US Open? It was far more boastful than anything Nike has done.

      • Moon

        Jul 24, 2014 at 1:14 pm

        I agree with you 100%. It’s just that the title of this article is “Give Nike Golf credit where credit is due”. 🙂

        • Dennis Clark

          Jul 24, 2014 at 2:42 pm

          Moon, The Title refers to Nike Golf’s growth as an equipment company, not “credit” for Rory’s victory. They have reached the top of the industry in a very short time and that’s why credit should be given.

          • Moon

            Jul 25, 2014 at 10:58 am

            This I can live better with. Just like pretty much everyone said that Nike produced mediocre equipment and the beginning. But, as the time progressed, Nike is producing top notch products. I just hope they drop “Victory Red” theme in near future. This is coming from a guy who has 5 red polos! 🙂

    • Jimbo

      Jul 24, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      The guy who wrote this works for Nike. Just more of an advertisement than an article. Their clubs have been getting gold stars from golf digest and sites for years …since they came out …probably load up review sites with nike staffers

      • Justin

        Aug 18, 2014 at 12:01 am

        That’s why they pay the big bucks for ad space… to get those gold and silver stars!

  13. Bluefan75

    Jul 24, 2014 at 10:25 am

    I have the VR Pro Blades, and let me tell you they are maybe the best feeling blades I have played. And that includes an earlier Mizuno offering. That isn’t to say the others don’t make some quaity products, but Nike is certainly not out of place at the big boy table.

    Heck, while I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a Method putter, I still have an Ignite from 2008 that has performed quite well for me.

    The only issue I have with Nike Golf is that up here in Canada, they will do whatever they can for Golftown, but very few pro shops carry them, and my understanding is that its due to Nike Golf’s lack of interest in them, and not the other way around. Which is a shame if you ask me.

  14. Jon Bon Jovie

    Jul 24, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Nike is what people who don’t really play golf, or know anything about it, wear/use because they’ve seen Tiger Woods using/wearing it.

    • Rob

      Jul 24, 2014 at 10:30 am

      The Covert Forged are an excellent set of sticks for anyone from a 5-15 handicap. The Pro Combos and blades are nice as well.

      I won’t fault a person for having a reasonable opinion, but I’d give them a whirl before knocking them. Just because something has a swoosh doesn’t mean it’s inferior.

    • cheeshead42

      Jul 24, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      That is just proof that their marketing is working. If every new golfer thinks that Nike is the only brand because Tiger and Rory wear or play it, then their endorsement contracts are more than justified.

    • Pazinboise

      Jul 24, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      Now there’s a snobby statement. So what if casual golfers gravitate towards Nike? They make good products end of story. That’s why I have a Covert driver pair with my Mizuno irons.

      • Harry

        Jul 24, 2014 at 6:40 pm

        Just look at the percentage of pros that use it……number speak for themselves bro

        • Pazinboise

          Jul 25, 2014 at 2:56 pm

          Number of pro using a particular brand doesn’t necessarily speak to the quality of their products. Companies like Callaway and Taylor Made have a lot of pros using their products but that doesn’t mean they make the best equipment. Other factor in addition to performance, like say endorsement money, factor in to Pro decisions to use a particular product. I wouldn’t say Nike make the best product out there but they certainly make a good one. Besides outside of Tiger and a few other pros I’m not sure what their endorsement budget looks like when it comes to golf.

        • GChild

          Jul 25, 2014 at 8:06 pm

          That’s right bro! I bet Rory signs with Wilson now since their irons have won the most majors right? If you are quoting numbers and talking taylormade and their Rocketballzier stuff, then this is the most hypocritical stuff I have heard in awhile.

  15. Notorious G.I.B.

    Jul 24, 2014 at 8:58 am

    i am glad to see Nike doing so well, i remember back in the day when they started putting out golf shoes, boy those were uncomfortable, lol. but, they got better with those and they have come to the table lately with some fine offerings. its good for all in golf to have another company produce solid products. and while i am mostly a TMAG guy, i have used multiple products from Nike over the last 10 years and can say i was never disappointed in any of them. i particularly think they made some great wedges and golf balls as well. i wore those ‘DD’ balls out a few years ago.
    as for Rory, i think he had more than equipment issues when he was going through the “slump”, you can tell in his interviews that he was trying to get a grasp of what it really takes to be a megastar in golf.

    Nike truly is a power brand now with having both great apparel and great equipment. IMO, a good thing for all golfers to see……

  16. KK

    Jul 24, 2014 at 7:55 am

    I like all the advancements in tech but I’m not sure it makes too much of a difference at the end of the day and on the scorecard without a proper fitting. Golfers properly fit with 10 year old clubs and shafts will outplay self-fit golfers with the latest equipment (same skill level) the vast majority of the time, IMO.

    • Dennis Clark

      Jul 24, 2014 at 8:23 am

      I see your point. I would think the best of both worlds would be latest equipment fit properly. Thx for reading. DC

      • Justin

        Aug 18, 2014 at 12:11 am

        Not really.

        Driver specs (COR, MOI, head volume, face height, etc.) have been capped for about 7 or so years now. Companies realized years ago that moving the CG of a blade away from the heel and into the center of the face (using shorter hosels and/or adding weight around the toe) actually makes them more playable.

        As Barney Adams said in his piece, clubs are “static”. How are they going to improve? It’s not like you can take, say, Scandium and use it for a driver face… it still has to have a COR no higher than .83. Compare that to a cellphone, where this year’s model can have a much more powerful processor in it compared to last year’s.

  17. Jimbo

    Jul 24, 2014 at 7:39 am

    They have definitely come a long way. New woods are very good and that forged covert set of irons felt great. I think the standard models are good for a mid handicapper, not high. The putters are horrible though. The new wedge looks interesting and I heard they have new technology coming out with new clubs to keep an eye on.

    One negative thing I heard from a couple of very experienced club makers, are when they took apart nike clubs they notice the quality of material used to make the clubs are well below average. I just don’t think they can compete with the ping line and those types but, yes they have come a long way.

  18. spinout

    Jul 24, 2014 at 3:21 am

    The toe sweep looks like the perfect lobbing club out of the rough around the green. Anyone play with it yet or know the loft and bounce offerings?

  19. fit for purpose golf

    Jul 24, 2014 at 2:50 am

    Very Interesting. I am a UK based club builder and play at a club in Scotland that has just opened the first Nike Performance centre outside of the US, somewhere that European tour pros come to get their Nike gear but also club golfers will be fitted there. It is an amazing set up. To be honest I haven’t done much fitting with Nike products except for a few Pros connected with above venture. In the UK and particularly Scotland where I am based you just never see anyone using Nike woods and I don’t know why. I think it might be a generational thing, talking with US friends they tell me their children won’t wear any sports shoes or clothing that isn’t Nike, when they get into golf they will be Nike devotes. In the UK currently the aspirational brands are Titleist and TaylorMade, and I believe Callaway still has the image that its an “old mans” product. I am going to go out of my way to test Covert 2.0 to at least try and form my own opinion. On a side note I think the toe sweep wedge looks amazing and can’t believe its a new idea as it appears that there are few “new” ideas in golf. 🙂

  20. nicklaus

    Jul 24, 2014 at 2:24 am

    every major club manufacturer produces a legit product. period. tour players are out there smashing these things pure; day in and day out.

    this years major champions have the following sponsors:

    Bubba – Ping
    Kaymer – TM
    Rory – Nike

    none of the above conform to the most popular of brands… Buba may play a pro v, but you get the picture. obviously the equipment matters, but to say that one major manufacturer is inferior to the other is rediculous. on that note, im going to try out Cobra’s tour trusty’s… i have a direct connect on these and have been contemplating replacing 3 wedges. after watching Ricky demolish both the british and US open, why would i even second guess it. LOL!

  21. Jeff

    Jul 24, 2014 at 1:55 am

    Great article. I love the 3wood. But I agree with Heintz, it should get downgraded if it isn’t made lefty. I’m sure if Phil went to Nike he’d get a set made.

  22. Gary Jones

    Jul 24, 2014 at 12:30 am

    I tried a Covert driver (6-9) months ago and it felt like a brick and the end of the club and I couldn’t hit at all. Maybe it just didn’t fit me that day. But I definitely agree that product loyalty isn’t a big factor as much any more. If the club works, I’m all for it. The better Nike can be the better it will make the rest.

  23. Dennis Clark

    Jul 23, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Many would be surprised at how sensitive elite level ball strikers are to very subtle changes in their equipment. It’s amazing really.

    • Terry

      Jul 24, 2014 at 1:13 am

      I was not a believer as i remember a bulky yellow club of some sort. This year out of curiosity, I pulled a Covert 5 wood out of a used bin. Never hit them before. It has become my go to and has replaced a utility from another brand. I was stunned how workable and hot it was and promptly went hunting for a 3 wood. These are Standard not tour models. I am a convert. It has become a scoring club for me as it has shortened some par 5s by a full stroke. Totally new and delicious. Keep it up.

  24. Don

    Jul 23, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    What I don’t get is the absence of golf clubs at the Nike stores, especially after the huge expense with endorsements and ads with Rory and Tiger etc.
    For example the Nike store in San Francisco in a high rent area has a huge amount of wasted space in layout and only a small golf apparel section. I stopped in on holiday with time n my hands figuring to give the stuff a good look.

  25. Golferguy1966

    Jul 23, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    It ain’t the clubs, he could have won with a set of pinseekers.

    • Dennis Clark

      Jul 23, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      He did have Pinseekers; they were called Nike 🙂

    • MHendon

      Jul 23, 2014 at 11:56 pm

      Yeah but everyone wanted to blame the clubs last year when he was struggling.

  26. David Heintz

    Jul 23, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Nice if you are right handed. We lefties don’t get the Covert Forged.

    I am of the opinion that a club should at least be down graded in these reviews if it is not available left hand. Other companies make the commitment; they should be recognized.

    • Dennis Clark

      Jul 23, 2014 at 10:50 pm

      I agree David and I’ll mention it. Thx for bringing it up.

    • Billy

      Jul 24, 2014 at 1:07 am

      LH love coming from Nike in the Fall and in 2015.

  27. Martin

    Jul 23, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I bought a Covert 2.0 Driver about a month ago and love the thing after pretty much bashing every Nike product I ever tried.

  28. Desmond

    Jul 23, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    I wrote a post, saying I guess it wasn’t the clubs after Ror’s victory. All I got was crickets. And I don’t even play Nike. The clubs are better, no doubt. I did play the original Pro Combos, Nike Wedges (all good), and the original SQ — the SQ 2 was the loud one – like someone hit a trash can.

    Nike …. you’ve come a long way.

  29. John

    Jul 23, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I just picked up a 58 toe sweep. and ah lak it allah.

  30. MHendon

    Jul 23, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Dennis like so many WRX’ers at one time I had a hard time taking Nike seriously trusting in more traditional brands like Titleist, Ping, Mizuno, and Cleveland. But two years ago I found myself looking for a new driver. Being somewhat of a traditionalist I came across the VrPro limited with it’s bonded hosel and smaller by today’s standard pear shaped head and decided to give it a try. I found it more forgiving then what I had been using a Titleist 905T, plus it actually felt or sounded better depending on how you judge feel and produced the perfect flight for me. I don’t see it leaving the bag anytime soon.

    • Dennis Clark

      Jul 23, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      Yea thats kind of why I wrote this piece. Their stuff is awesome, as good or better than any out there. And they’re not done. Just watch!

    • Jeff

      Jul 23, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      That particular club. The vr pro limited driver, I think that was the beginning of the new Nike Golf, since it’s release almost everything has been high quality. I hate the red paint jobs but that will probably be phased out too

      • Dennis Clark

        Jul 23, 2014 at 7:32 pm

        I agree; there is always a turning point. The business model has been most effective. Finger on the pulse of the general golf community while crafting tools for the best in the world. They don’t quit!

    • JBH

      Jul 23, 2014 at 5:14 pm

      I went through a few drivers before finding the VR Pro Limited Edition. Was tired of all the adjustable heads and gimmicky things on the market, I never adjusted the club head to begin with. Anyhow, I absolutely love this driver, so much so that I went and bought the 3w and 5w. Very clean look and such a nice sound off the forged head. I wish Nike still made these as I would love to have a back up option if I should ever break them. Currently in my bag Nike VR Pro Limited Edition Driver, 3W, 5W, Nike Vr Pro Combo Irons, Nike V-rev 52° & 56° (although I have ordered the vr pro forged in same lofts, something about a forged club feel better than the cast ones) & Nike Method Midnight 008 putter. Yeah I may be a Nike whore but I gotta say it’s some great equipment.

      • Dennis Clark

        Jul 23, 2014 at 7:33 pm

        That driver gets the BEST readings on my Flightscope fittings, hands down.

    • RobG

      Jul 23, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      A few years ago my golf clubs were stolen and when it came time to select a new driver I tried just about every club on the market and could not find a single one that I liked. Out of sheer desperation I relented and tried the VR Pro LTD with the bonded hosel. I hit a dozen or so balls on the range – I was sold. But just to be sure I played one round with it and it completely won me over. It is by far the best driver I have owned, and it will not be leaving my bag any time soon.

  31. deaus

    Jul 23, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Nike clubs are great for low handicaps. Especially the Irons. I have a few of the Tour Only clubs and they are truly amazing. I have a Dymo 380 and VR Tour version 5 and they are the best of the best. I agree that the hybrids are not great. Im interested in tryin the ToeSweep.

    • Dennis Clark

      Jul 23, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      Ive put 5 really good players in the toe sweep in the last few weeks. Its all about performance!

  32. LorenRobertsFan

    Jul 23, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Their irons are top notch. Still rocking my VR Split Cavities. Method putters would do better if more looked like the Midnight 006 or Rory’s putter. The hybrids are among the worst shaped from address I’ve seen.

    • Joe

      Jul 23, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      The shape of the hybrid head might not be the best but I seem to not be able to take mine out of the bag. I have the Covert Tour (1st year) and pretty much leave it set on 21* and I can’t miss with it. I was the guy who wanted long irons because I couldn’t find a hybrid that fit me. I started hitting this one and have loved it ever since. Feel a lot more comfortable attacking most par 5’s in 2 with it. I however can’t stand the red paint and I sanded that off after a few rounds. So now it’s just a solid silver head with the black face. I also use the DG 60* wedge that might get replaced with the new toe sweep. My wife plays the Nike Ltd Drive 9.5* and she absolutely loves it.

      • Dennis Clark

        Jul 23, 2014 at 7:36 pm

        I can forgive any look when the ball does what I want it, but I agree on the hybrid shape; knowing NIke Golf, that too will soon be better.

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Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Off-Season training + Exciting announcement for Wisdom in Golf



There’s a time to play and perform in golf. Then there is a time for a break and group; then there is a time for training so that when the season for playing golf returns you are more PRO-ficient than ever. This is the anti-stagnation system.

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On Spec

On Spec: The DIY episode talking fitting, and personal launch monitors



This episode is all about giving you, the golfer, the opportunity to better understand your equipment and club fitting. Topics range from club length, lie angle, wedge fittings, all the way to diving into personal launch monitors.

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Opinion & Analysis

WRX Insider: How the Callaway tour staff matches up golf ball and irons



It’s not something that is widely explored. When it comes to the golf ball, we typically prioritize driver numbers, wedge numbers, and feel. In actuality, however, it’s a player’s irons that need to be optimized more than anything. Full shots, 3/4, fades, draws—the shot varietal with irons is all over the map.

So, when testing players, how does the team at Callaway dial in the ball and the irons to work in harmony with each other?

With the new Callaway X Forged and Apex MB just hitting the scene, it seemed like a perfect time to understand how the players on tour fit the ball to the irons and vice versa.

I had a chance to speak with Callaway Golf Ball R&D specialist Nick Yontz and Director of Tour Operations Jacob Davidson on dialing in the ball and the irons to match up with the best players in the world.

JW: How much do you depend on Nick’s expertise throughout the season, especially with new irons (X Forged and Apex MB) having just hit the market?

JD: Any time we launch a new product, it’s essential for the tour team to know how the new product will perform. Nick provides in-depth data on how our golf ball will perform with the new products. When you look at the golf bag, there is one constant variable and that’s the golf ball. Our ultimate goal is to collaborate with the iron engineers and golf ball engineers to design a product that works together to help golfers play better. Nick Yontz is a tremendous resource for our tour team and has worked closely with several major winners in his career. We lean on him weekly for insight into in-depth product performance and future prototype products.

JW: When considering the spin off of the irons for a player like Xander, is he working around one number or are the multiple spin windows to hit?

JD: Spin rates can vary from player to player depending on clubhead delivery and launch numbers. Currently, we’ve worked hard to get Xander’s iron spin rates into a range that we feel allows him to hit a variety of shots to play his best golf.

JW: Let’s look at an LPGA profile for a player like Anne van Dam. Where does Chrome Soft X benefit her the most? 

NY: The Chrome Soft X has blended with Anne’s club set up in a way that she can be an excellent driver of the golf ball, while better controlling iron and wedge spin rates compared to her previous golf ball.

JW: If a player is looking for a higher launch window with the irons, what tweaks are you making, all while honoring the specific DNA of a player’s bag?

JD: There are several different levers we can move in order to raise the launch window. However, in order to determine which lever makes the most sense you have to fully understand the player’s bag. In order to do this, each club has to be studied deeply to know the cause and effects of a change. After we have completed this process, we will look at what options will best fit the player.

JW: As you look at the numbers, where do you see the improvements (gains) with the CS X vs what you saw with previous balls?

NY: Across the board, we’ve seen measurable ball-speed gains on the launch monitor during player testing sessions. It’s exciting for them and us when they reach driver ball speeds (and distances) that they couldn’t before!

JW: On the PGA Tour, is there an overall RPM profile that all players chase or is it player specific?

*question based on general rule of number on club x 1000 RPM IE 7 iron spins at 7000 RPM

JD: Our goal at Callaway is to move all of our staff players into optimal ranges in an iron spin. Our 2020 golf ball and the iron lineup has allowed us to move several players bags into a more optimal range this year. We work closely with the player, instructor, and caddie to constantly find ways to improve performance.

JW: In regards to working with a Champions Tour Player that has gone from Balata into CSX. Is that player still playing out of the same launch windows that he has for years or is he having to adjust for new technology?

NY: There are some differences in modern equipment that we hear from players that have played over multiple decades. The shape of the trajectory is an example. Current trajectories can look flatter or may get up higher sooner in the flight than a balata did. Players who have experienced balata and modern balls also talk about the amount of lateral movement being less today.

JW: Discuss how you guys work together on a week to week basis. What does it look like?

JD: Nick is an excellent resource for the tour team. Each week, we are providing feedback and observations to him from what we are seeing and hearing across all the major tours. Throughout the year, Nick will attend several tour events allowing us to work closely together with players on the range tee or on the golf course.

NY: Jacob and the entire tour team knows each tour player at the deepest level. For example, knowing each player’s swing tendencies and look preferences enhances the raw numbers we collect. Tour players are the best product testers in the world that push us to make better equipment.

JW: Can you both talk to me about the importance of spin with your irons?

JD: It’s much easier to take spin off than to add it from the fairway. The majority of shots that a tour player hits during a round of golf will be off-speed. When you reduce speed, spin also reduces. We’ve found that when we are fitting a player to a golf ball and irons, it’s imperative to pay close attention to how much reduction in spin comes from off-speed shots.

NY: Completely agree with Jacob. While we will do work on the driving range with a player, we need to see how it performs on the golf course in different situations as well (fairway/first-cut/rough, headwind/downwind/morning dew…)


It may seem trivial, but to me, this is the secret sauce of really making a bag and fitting work for you. Pay attention to ball speed and launch but mostly spin rates. If the ball doesn’t spin you can’t control it—I don’t care how high it goes or steep it lands.

In the past year, I have focused way more on proper spin with my irons than ever before. What I have found is when 4-PW are in the right spin windows, which for me is around 6,800 RPM with a 7 iron, my iron play has improved dramatically.

See the PGA and LPGA TrackMan averages from 2019 below. At my age and speed, I actually strive to stay right in between the averages for both tours. It’s not only realistic for me but also has actually helped.


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