Nike Golf introduced its line of Victory Red irons in 2009, which feature three different models for three levels of play — The VR Forged TW Blades for better players, the VR Forged Split Cavity Irons for low- to mid-handicappers and the VR Cast Full Cavity Irons for mid-to high-handicappers. Several weeks back Nike Golf sent me a set of the VR Forged Split Cavity Irons to test and review, and I share my findings here.
But you may be asking, why am I reviewing a 2009 iron in late 2010? I think this product review will be pertinent for those of you who might be considering a set of these irons as a late season (and possibly discounted) purchase, or considering a set of irons that still have the 2010 grooves. I’ll be reviewing the new 2011 VR Pro Combo irons in the next few weeks, those irons have the new conforming 2011 grooves.
I’ve been able to use the VR Split Cavity irons in four rounds of golf as well as on the range, so I have a pretty good impression of these irons. Here is what I found:
FIRST IMPRESSION: DESIGN/APPEARANCE
The VR Split Cavity irons have the classic look of a player’s iron. The back of the iron features a perimeter-weighted cavity on the bottom half of the iron and a thinner cavity (not quite a blade) on the top half. The weighting is definitely placed at the bottom of the iron to promote forgiveness and help the club through the turf. The iron is chromed on toe and heel of the face, the hosel, the top of the cavity on the back and leading edge of the sole. It has a matte finish on the grooved middle area of the face, the sole behind the leading edge, and the bottom half and inside of the cavity on the back.
These irons feature several of the same design details as the rest of the VR line including the red and black color scheme, the red line and waffle pattern in the rear cavity and of course the VR logo. The shaft is True Temper Dynamic Gold, and the grip is a special Nike VR version with VR logo, red line and swoosh on the front and the Nike Golf logo on the back.
The overall look of this iron (and the rest of the VR line in general) is classic, in contrast to Nike Golf’s other line of equipment, the SQ MachSpeed line, which is decidedly progressive.
FIRST IMPRESSION: PERFORMANCE
From my first swings on the range to my latest rounds on the course I’ve been impressed with the combination of feel and forgiveness in these irons. The VR Split Cavity irons are definitely more forgiving than I expected — even though they are a player’s iron, I feel they have enough forgiveness for a mid-handicapper (a high handicapper might want to try the VR Full Cavity irons). You can definitely work the ball with these irons, and if you mis-hit a shot, you get the feedback you need to know what went wrong but you still get a relatively good shot from the club.
These irons are very solid and have great feel when you strike the ball. They promote a mid to high ball flight, and it’s easy to shape shots left and right. Distance control was easy for me with the Split Cavities, as I hit these irons about the same distance as my Pro Combo OS and Tour irons. I felt like I had great control over the ball with these irons, as good or better than my current irons.
APPEARANCE AT ADDRESS
These irons have the appearance of a classic player’s iron at address. The topline is thinner than that of a game improvement iron but thicker than that of a traditional forged blade (it’s right in between the topline thickness of my Pro Combo OS and Tour irons). The iron has a very slight offset, enough to allow forgiveness for a late hit but not so much as to detract from playability. I could not see any of the split cavity behind the face on any of the irons at address.
These irons are very workable, and I am able to move the ball right and left when I need to. I feel like I have good control of the ball, and with a solid downward strike on the back of the ball I can spin the ball when I need to with these irons.
These are not game improvement irons, so I did not expect any gain in distance with the VR Split Cavity Irons. I did not gain (or lose) any distance, I hit them about the same distance as my current irons, and I was able to control the distance well with these irons.
The VR Split Cavity irons promote a mid to high ball flight. I am able to produce shots that hold their line in the wind, as well as high shots that land softly and stop on the green.
Because I feel I have good control over the ball with these irons, when I make a good swing I feel I can be very accurate. I feel confident that when I look at my target, these irons will help me put the ball where I’m aiming.
These irons are much more forgiving than I expected them to be. They produce a decent shot on mis-hits while still giving me the feedback I’m looking for. They have plenty of forgiveness without sacrificing feel.
The feel of these irons is outstanding. They feel very solid when I strike the ball, they’re buttery smooth from the short irons to the long, and I feel like I have great control over the ball with these clubs.
The VR Split Cavity irons have the normal acoustics you would expect from a player’s iron, a solid sound when you strike the ball anywhere near the middle of the face.
I am a big fan of the VR Split Cavity Irons, and I recommend them to the readers out there who are looking for a player’s iron that has above-average forgiveness without sacrificing workability, feel or feedback. If you are looking for irons that can give you control over your ball flight, shot shape and distance while still producing good shots on mis-hits, take a good look at these irons. Also, if you are looking for a solid player’s iron set that still has 2010 grooves, these could be the irons for you.
Editor’s note: The product reviewed above was supplied by the manufacturer to the reviewer/author free of charge for reviewing purposes only. The reviewer/author was not paid for this review, and the opinions expressed in the review are strictly those of the reviewer/author.