I recently had the opportunity to test and review the VR Pro Driver and the VR Pro Fairway Wood, and as a follow-up to those two reviews I’ve been able to test out the VR Pro Hybrid. I’ve been playing Nike hybrids for several years now—my first were the Nike CPR hybrids, then I moved to the SQ hybrids and then to the VR hybrids, so I was excited to see if the new VR Pro hybrid would live up to its predecessors. I’ve had the opportunity to play the VR Pro hybrid in several live rounds as well as hitting it on the range, and here are the findings from my tests.
FIRST IMPRESSION: DESIGN/APPEARANCE
Out of the box, the new VR Pro hybrid is visually different than previous Nike hybrid designs. Prior models including SQ and VR hybrids had a somewhat rounder geometry, whereas the new VR Pro has a noticeably square geometry. The face has a distinctly rectangular shape, with hell and especially the toe much more squared off than previous designs (the faces of previous models look more like the face of a fairway wood).
From the playing position, the head has a distinct pear or teardrop shape, and the crown is definitely thinner than (not as deep as) previous Nike hybrid models, more like an iron than a fairway wood. The iron-like appearance of the VR Pro reminds me of the Nike CPR iron-wood design from several years ago.
The crown has a metallic black paint finish, and the sole features Nike’s compression channel technology that is also found in the VR Pro driver and fairway woods. However the hybrid does not feature Nike’s STR8-FIT technology that’s found in the driver and fairway woods. The VR Pro hybrid features a project X 6.0 shaft and Nike VR branded grip by Golf Pride.
Out-of-the-box the VR pro hybrid says “player’s hybrid” all the way.
FIRST IMPRESSION: PERFORMANCE
My first swings on the range with the VR pro hybrid confirmed what I saw when I opened the box – the VR pro hybrid feels like a player’s club. It swings more like an iron than a fairway wood or rescue club. In my reviews of the VR Pro driver and fairway wood I mentioned the word “solid”, and the VR Pro hybrid is even more so. The first shots on the range yielded a pleasingly solid feel, and I got great feedback from the club. I also got great distance, about 5-10 yards more than my VR hybrids. I was able to work the ball both ways, and I felt I could be very accurate with this club—shots flew straight and true to the target. The teardrop shape of the head puts more weight out towards the toe, making it easy to close the clubface. The club is very forgiving, and the compression channel gives thin shots and mis-hits about the same distance as a solidly struck shot. The acoustics are great – the sound is a distinct “snap” or “smack”, not the “plink” or metallic sound I’ve heard from other hybrids. On the course when I used this hybrid to get out of trouble, the solid feel gave me confidence the shot would end up where I was aiming. I was able to swing easy and get great distance, and I didn’t feel like I had to over-swing to get the ball where I wanted it to go.
Overall I was really pleased with how the VR Pro hybrid performed on the range and out on the course.
I got great distance with the VR Pro hybrid, about 5-10 yards farther than my VR hybrid and SQ hybrids. I was able to swing easy and get good distance, I didn’t feel like I had to over-swing to hit the ball far with this club.
The VR Pro hybrid has tremendous feel and gives great feedback. I was able to work the ball both ways when I needed to with this club. Shots struck in the middle of the face yielded a very pleasing, solid feel at impact. There’s nothing like the feel of a solidly struck golf shot, and that couldn’t be more true with the VR Pro hybrid.
The VR Pro hybrid is very forgiving. The compression channel technology in the sole allows shots that are struck close to the heel and low on the face to get almost as much distance as shots struck in the middle of the face.
The VR Pro hybrid is a very workable club. I was able to move the ball left or right at will with this club. The confidence I have with how solidly shots come off of the face, allows me to confidently create the shots I need to when I need to on the course.
I feel like I can be very accurate with this club. The fact that this club is so solid when I hit the ball and that I don’t have to swing hard to get the ball to my target, gives me confidence that I can put the ball where I need to. I am able to see my target, swing easy and the ball will go there.
The VR Pro hybrid has great acoustics. My previous SQ and VR hybrids both have the standard “plink” or metallic sound that I normally expect from hybrids. The VR pro hybrid has a distinct “snap” or “smack” which echoes the solidity of the shots that come off the club at impact. It’s a pleasing sound that just adds to the confidence I get when I use this club from the fairway or from the rough on the course.
The VR Pro hybrid is one of Nike Golf’s strongest club offerings for 2011. The club’s solidity really impressed me in my tests. The extra distance I got was noticeable, 5 to 10 yards farther than my previous hybrids. The playability and feel are outstanding. The forgiveness of the compression channel technology on thin shots adds to the playability of the club, and the acoustics are excellent. If you are looking for a new hybrid, or for some extra help on those trouble shots on the course, you should definitely give the VR Pro hybrid a serious look.
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.