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Top 10: The Best Nike Golf Equipment Ever Made

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Nike’s golf equipment never appealed to the masses in the same way as the company’s golf shoes and apparel, leading to the company’s decision to discontinue its production of clubs, balls and bags and focus on soft goods. Its lack of retail success, however, does not mean that Nike didn’t produce excellent golf equipment.

Nike launched its first golf balls, the Precision line, in 1998. Its first line of golf clubs came in 2002. Our staff took a trip down memory lane to remember all the Nike golf equipment produced between then and now. Here’s our list of the best golf equipment Nike ever made.

SQ Sumo2 Driver

Nike_Sumo2_Driver_2007

Nike’s SQ Sumo2 was one of the most polarizing clubs in company history. Released in 2006 — the height of the industry’s obsession with high-MOI drivers — the SQ Sumo2 used a composite crown and a square head shape to push weight to the back corners of the driver head for added forgiveness on off-center hits.

The SQ Sumo2 was best known for its loud, high-pitched sound, which rang like an aluminum baseball bat at impact. A later version, Nike SQ Sumo2 5900, increased MOI to 5900, while improving sound and feel.

VR X3X Toe Sweep Wedge

Nike_VR_X3X_wedges

All wedges pretty much look the same, right? Not Nike’s Toe Sweep wedge, the brainchild of legendary Nike club maker Mike Taylor that was released in 2014.

Related: Our slideshow of early prototypes of the Toe Sweep wedge, which show the developmental stages of the club. 

The VR X3X attempted to solve the age-old problem of the heel of the wedge getting “stuck” on shots from long grass. Taylor’s solution was to create wedge soles with hardly any mass on the heel side, which also made open-face shots easier. Both Rory McIlroy and Johnny Vegas used the Toe Sweep grind to win on tour.

Split Cavity Prototype Irons

n_3_back

While these irons were never released, they were played by several of Nike’s tour players, and carry a special significance to us. Our founder easyyy scored a set of Trevor Immelman prototypes back in 2005, the year GolfWRX was founded, and hasn’t stopped talking about the Miura-forged protos since.

At the time, the Split Cavities were the standard to meet for all forged cavity-back irons. They were clean in shape, butter soft at impact and great through the ground. Several notable forged cavity-back irons followed, including our recent Nike favorites, the VR Forged Pro Combos.

Vapor Flex 440

nike_vapor_flex_440

For gear heads, the worst part about Nike’s decision to fold its golf equipment division could be the promise it showed with its latest driver, the Vapor Flex 440.

Ever since Nike’s switch to its Covert design platform for metal woods, the company struggled to compete in the realm of low-spin drivers. The Vapor Flex 440 (released in 2016) was different. Sixty percent of the club head was made from Nike’s proprietary, carbon fiber-reinforced RZN material, a weight-saving scheme that boosted performance.

Our sources tell us that Nike’s line of 2017 drivers relied heavily on a RZN construction, and were by far the best-performing drivers in company history. If true, it’s a case of too little, too late.

VR_S Forged Irons

FA11NIKEVRSFORGED_is

Nike’s VR_S Forged were released in the U.S. after enjoying incredible success in Japan. While intended for mid-to-high handicappers, the irons caught on with low handicappers, as well as many PGA Tour players (including Tiger Woods), who used them as long-iron replacements.

Key to the success of the VR_S Forged was their two-piece forged construction, which merged a 1025 carbon steel framework with a thin club face that was welded to the body to improve ball speed and forgiveness. Despite their bulk, the irons looked and felt premium, and added value to their $999 sticker price with Nippon’s aftermarket 950GH shaft as the stock option. They were one of the best game-improvement irons released in 2012.

VR Tour Driver

Nike_VR_driver

Years before slots became a common sight on clubs, Nike released a line of metal woods with something called a “Compression Channel” behind the club face, which was said to increase the size of the sweet spot by making the club face more flexible — particularly the bottom.

The Compression Channel was used on many models, but Nike’s VR (Victory Red) Tour driver, released in 2010, could have been the best. Proof of that showed up just three weeks ago, when Jhonattan Vegas used the six-year-old driver in his victory at the RBC Canadian Open.

The VR Tour measured 420 cubic centimeters, and had a classy, pear-shaped club head free of alignment aids. It was a thing of beauty.

Method 006 (Rory McIlroy’s putter)

Nike-Method-006-Putter-Main

Remember the #releasetheputter movement that originated in the GolfWRX Forums? Several sources inside Nike Golf have told us that if it weren’t for GolfWRXers, Rory McIlroy’s replica Method putter would have never been released. Pat yourselves on the backs, folks.

It’s true that most better-player clubs sold at retail are inspired by PGA Tour players, but it’s rare to get your hands on a golf club designed to the exact specifications of one of the best golfers on the planet. That was the case with the Method 006, which was the result of Rory McIlroy’s work with David Franklin, Nike’s renowned putter designer and creator of its Method technology.

Owners of the limited-edition putter, released in 2015, have a carbon copy of the flatstick Rory McIlroy used to win his third and fourth majors: the Open and PGA championships in 2014.

Forged Blades

Nike_Original_Blades

In 2003, Nike released its first set of blade irons, and to many they’re still the most beautiful blades ever produced. They were named simply “Forged Blades,” and were unencumbered by the logos and colors that would be used on future Nike iron releases.

The Forged Blades were used by David Duval to win his lone major, the 2001 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

Slingshot Irons

Nike_Slingshot_463802_i0

Released in 2003, Nike’s Slingshot irons were not only the company’s most commercially successful iron model, but also possibly one of the coolest game-improvement irons to date.

The irons featured a slingshot-esque “bridge,” which stretched across the cavity of the hollow-bodied irons. It enhanced perimeter weighting, and helped golfers hit towering iron shots by moving weight lower and deeper in the club head. Thin, strong, “cold-rolled” 455 Stainless Steel club faces were also added for more distance.

The design was awesome, the name was perfect and the performance was impressive. This was Nike Chief Club Designer Tom Stites at his best.

Tour Accuracy Golf Balls

2252807315_46b278639f

In the golf world, the year 2000 is synonymous with Tiger Woods’ best golf. It was in June of that year he accomplished his most impressive feat — winning the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by 15 shots. He then went on to win the next three major championships.

Fueling his performance was a new golf ball: Nike’s Tour Accuracy. The solid-rubber core ball is argued to have given Woods a distance advantage over his competitors, most of whom were still using wound golf balls at the time. It is also said to have pushed Titleist to release its first solid-rubber core golf ball, the Pro V1.

Just last week on Twitter, Woods credited the Tour Accuracy as helping to “put the wound ball into extinction.” No argument there.

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46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. DJ

    Aug 12, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    T40 and T60 3 woods and Nike Ignite driver

  2. Bri

    Aug 11, 2016 at 6:16 am

    Another vote for the T40 3-wood from me. Reckon getting a 3 wood your happy with is the hardest club in the bag to get right and this was as close as I ever got. My current RBZ hits it further but never had the confidence that I had with my old Steel shafted T40 15*.

  3. Clay

    Aug 10, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    My only disagreement is for me the Vapor Fly Pro is amazing and better than the flex. The M1 and M2 could not match the combination of length, consistency, and accuracy I get with it. It really only fits a small segment of golfers, but for me it is excellent.

  4. mhendon

    Aug 10, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    I can’t say I tried a lot of Nike equipment but I did try the T40 fairway, hated it. Tried the VRpro limiter driver and loved it, still in the bag. Point being if you’re open minded you’ll find good and bad equipment with any major OEM.

  5. Alvin

    Aug 10, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    I thought the T60 fairway woods were pretty easy to hit.

  6. DH

    Aug 10, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Duval didn’t play the forged blade to win at Lythym .

    I was there and still remember looking into his bag and seeing the pro combo protos

  7. Bob

    Aug 10, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Yup 🙂

  8. RedX

    Aug 10, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    all this time and you’re still kicking up a stink Smiz!

  9. Nathan

    Aug 10, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    The CPR Woods were ridiculously easy to hit. (clubs for Prevention and Recovery)..Still bag my 26º even though it’s so beat up.

  10. Christosterone

    Aug 10, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Also you forgot mm protos…the were awesome…

    -Chris

  11. Christosterone

    Aug 10, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    I bought a vapor flex 440 for $149….payed $429 for the original flex if memory serves…

    It is the polar opposite of the sq2 insofar as it sounds like a mid 90s Titleist…that small, breaking a lightbulb in a towel sound…

    It is truly an exquisite driver….and in my office sits a set of 2003 Nike forged irons…they are truly the most gorgeous set of forged blades in the modern era save the Wilson 100 yr anniversary heads…

    -Christosterone

  12. Bob

    Aug 10, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Nike made good equipment? What did I miss?

    If Nike made good equipment they’d still be making it.

    So I guess they didn’t

    I play real golf equipment, Titleist 🙂

    • BeerandGolf

      Aug 10, 2016 at 3:40 pm

      Just go away.

    • Jay

      Aug 10, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      You’re just going to steal that joke off the article announcing Nike was getting out equipment??? At least attempt to be original.

  13. Deacon Blues

    Aug 10, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    The Covert 2.0 driver should be at least an honorable mention on this list. I’ve had it since late 2014 and it’s in my bag for the foreseeable future. I tried the next year’s model (the Vapor Speed) but it didn’t work out quite as well for my game.

    Nike’s FlexLoft sleeve provided a range of loft (8.5* – 12.5*) and face angle adjustability that was wider and more user-friendly than that of other OEMs. That’s the Nike Golf feature I’ll miss the most whenever I have to switch.

    • Jim

      Aug 16, 2016 at 8:41 pm

      …google “Bullet Golf Hollow Point Driver” maybe find one on EBay for $10. The ORIGINAL ‘Covert’…

      when Covert came out, I had to show a Nike-bot it was NOT so ‘original’ and looked it up…..some Knob on Ebay had one listed for like $400 as ‘a collectors item / conversation piece

  14. steve

    Aug 10, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Slingshot? They were horrible

  15. Your Daddy

    Aug 10, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    WOW! Just wow! Nike made horrible clubs!

  16. Brandon

    Aug 10, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    The Slingshot irons were the worst irons that I ever hit. The longer irons, with the gap in the cavity, made a horrific sound. Too clunky on the sole. The blades that they made (Duval’s and the Victory Red’s) are very nice looking clubs. Every thing else is garbage.

  17. Alex

    Aug 10, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    I still used the regular Nike Dymo with a Aldila Proto Vs Shaft, time after time look for some other driver to play, none has been able to throw it out of the bag, lol!

    • Your Daddy

      Aug 10, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      Um you need to look harder brochacho

  18. Mike Honcho

    Aug 10, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Slingshot???? WOW. I guess Cleveland VAS needs to get an honorable mention somewhere.

  19. Mike

    Aug 10, 2016 at 11:51 am

    2 things – 1) I can’t believe Tom Stites wasn’t mentioned as the designer of the Forged Blades, especially considering he is (or was) a featured writer here! 2) The Tour Accuracy was a phenomenal ball early in multilayer era, but man if they didn’t get absolutely SHREDDED on wedge shots.

  20. Keith

    Aug 10, 2016 at 11:48 am

    I won my first club championship with a set of Nike Pro Combo irons and the T40 3 wood, which should be on this list. I’m good friends with a former Nike staff player and they all loved that 3w in the early, mid 2000’s. VR Forged driver is one of my favorites, still sitting in my garage.

    I’ll always be a fanboy.

  21. Justin

    Aug 10, 2016 at 11:38 am

    I picked up a Vapor Flex 440 a few days back because I was simply in need of a new driver and I could not pass up the $150 price point for a brand new club. Also, it was the very last one on the shelf and came with a shaft that happened to be what I needed, so it seemed to be destiny. To say this club performs well is an understatement. I had the original Nike Covert driver when it came out and after a number of rounds over about a year, the face cracked. So I sent it back and Nike gave me the version 2.0. That version was a great improvement on the original, but both pale in comparison to the 440. You can really feel the pop off the face and though it’s “quiet” compared to other drivers, it’s not quite as dull sounding as the Covert (Sounds like you slapped someone across the face really hard!). The ball flight is awesome on the 8.5 R setting for me and I’m spinning it in the low 2000s. While I was simply hoping to get a driver I could put in play, I was pleasantly surprised and may well hang onto this thing for a few years!

    • Ft

      Aug 10, 2016 at 12:39 pm

      You mean less than 2 years ago? You must be living in the future

  22. Jonah Mytro

    Aug 10, 2016 at 11:36 am

    I play the covert 2 hybrid (version 1), great feel and distance..Still have the old school sumo 3 & 4 hyrbids

  23. golfraven

    Aug 10, 2016 at 11:32 am

    The VR driver was probably the best, the Sumo the worst. There was not much in between and after.
    Ciao Nike clubs, ttyn.

  24. Joe

    Aug 10, 2016 at 11:32 am

    How on earth is the famous SQ 3 wood that tiger used all those years not on this list??? Best 3 wood ever period!

  25. ta

    Aug 10, 2016 at 11:18 am

    That was a really great Bridgestone ball, that Tour Accuracy, huh?

    • MBA-J

      Aug 11, 2016 at 9:36 am

      The Tour Accuracy was NOT a Bridgestone golf ball. Bridgestone simply manufactured Nike golf balls using Nike designs/patents/etc. Gordon Ramsey can make a hamburger in a McDonalds, but that doesn’t mean it’s a Big Mac.

  26. Nate

    Aug 10, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Tiger’s tweet about Nike golf balls is funny since he used a “prototype” his entire career that was a ProV1 stamped with a swoosh.

    • dom

      Aug 10, 2016 at 11:30 am

      Pro V1 are also not wound. Ping was the first company to demonstrate the shortfalls of a wound ball. Tiger is way off base if he thinks Nike ball sales had anything to do with the wound balls demise. If Tiger was still playing they never would have quit. They will be missed, a major force like Nike ( and Tiger) leaving can only be bad for the industry, now others will follow. R.I.P. Nike Golf.

      • Nate

        Aug 10, 2016 at 2:43 pm

        From the rumbles I have heard from people at Nike Golf over the past 5+ years is that this announcement was expected each year.

        The signing of Rory and the amount of money they threw at him (which was a lot more then what was publically announced) was the real last efforts to save the equipment division. They really should have put that half a billion dollars into R&D and marketing instead. I remember being on a conference call and the Nike people asking as to why sales in the NW where more then the rest of the country combined.

        • KCCO

          Aug 11, 2016 at 9:58 am

          I actually did work each year for their company, building their exhibits/displays for PGA show, etc. Had oppurtunity to game anything, never did. But do have as many Nike golf shoes as the average person has regular shoes. I feel bad for the large group of people that will have to attemp to relocate to other golf companies for jobs, which is a scary thought…or just beat in general with no job.
          As for Northwest and their high sales?…very 420 friendly in those parts? High sales; high shoppers…jk
          On a serious note, I just always walked by the Nike golf equipment, don’t know why, but I just personally never fell in love with anything. On several occasions have hit there clubs ex.mmproto felt great, but nothing to make me pull the irons in my bag…seemed like what was a great product for them was an average product for some of the other leading OEM’s.

        • Greg P

          Aug 13, 2016 at 5:54 pm

          If these guys can’t make money selling $500 drivers and $1000 iron sets they are in trouble. And so are we.
          The big issue is how much is being dosed out to players in endorsements. Ridiculous.
          I could not care less who plays a club or is associated with a brand.
          Has no bearing on how it performs for me. But folks do and we are paying for it.

  27. Rob

    Aug 10, 2016 at 10:22 am

    I have a 2010 VR Tour Driver and I love it. I’m a gear head and every year when the new drivers come out I demo almost all of them to see if they out perform the Nike and none of them have the combination of looks, feel, and performance. I doubt that club is ever coming out of my bag.

  28. Matt

    Aug 10, 2016 at 10:11 am

    I really liked the VRs Driver with the Fubuki shaft…pretty solid club. Loved the OG Tour Accuracy and TW ball!

  29. Clemson Sucks

    Aug 10, 2016 at 10:06 am

    Forged blades were $

  30. ooffa

    Aug 10, 2016 at 9:58 am

    LOL, I thought this was going to be one of those jokes that when you clicked on the article the list would be blank.

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Whats in the Bag

Camilo Villegas WITB (2020 October)

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Driver: TaylorMade M4 (10.5 degrees @11.5)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Yellow 70 6.5

3-wood: TaylorMade M2 2016 (3HL, 16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Yellow 80 6.5

5-wood: TaylorMade M2 2016 (5HL, 21 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Yellow 80 6.5

Hybrid: TaylorMade SLDR (5H, 24 degrees @23)
Shaft: True Temper Project X HC1 95 6.5

Hybrid: TaylorMade M2 (28 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Project X HC1 95 6.5

Irons: Srixon U85 (5) Srixon Z785 (6-P)
Shafts: Royal Precision Rifle FCM 6.5

Iron Specs: Length/Loft/Lie

*lengths are cut with no grip

  • 5 (U85): 37 5/8, 27.5, 60.5
  • 6: 37 1/8, 32, 61
  • 7: 36 5/8, 36, 61.5
  • 8: 36 1/8, 40.5, 62
  • 9: 35 5/8, 45, 62.5
  • PW: 35 1/8, 50, 62.75

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8 “Raw” (54-08M, 60-08M)
Shafts: Royal Precision Rifle FCM 6.5

Putter: Scotty Cameron SB+

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride MCC Custom

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Whats in the Bag

Henrik Stenson WITB (October 2020)

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Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Yellow Prototype 6.5 62

3-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Hulk 70G 6.5

5-wood: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (18)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Black 80G 6.5

Irons: Callaway Legacy Black (3-PW)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120 X

henrik stenson witb 2019-3-wood

Wedges: Callaway Jaws MD5 (52-10S, 58-08C)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour120 X

Putter: Odyssey White Hot #7
Grip: Garsen Max

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Wrap Cord

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Equipment

GolfWRX Classifieds (10/29/20): PXG BlackJack, Toulon Garage, TP Mills custom

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member CC_Stryder – Toulon Rochester

Looking for a putter that gets its names from a city in New York state with a flow neck? Well…the name might not be exactly what you are looking for, but if a flow neck is what you are after, then look no further.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Toulon Putter

Member StillCantPutt – PXG BlackJack Putter

The newest putter from PXG at less than new price. Don’t let the seller’s name discourage you either, this thing should help you sink more putts.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: PXG putter 

Member KC_Badger – TP Mills Custom

There is something about TP Mills putters that just screams classic, timeless, masterpiece. This example is no exception with its flow next and unique finish.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: TP Mills Putter 

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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