Back in February Nike Golf sent me the VR_S driver, fairway wood, hybrid and irons to test and review. Since then I’ve had them all at the range several times (mostly at my home course Stonecreek Golf Club here in Phoenix), I’ve played several rounds on the course, and I’ve been impressed with the VR_S line’s combination of length and forgiveness. I’ve already posted my full review of the VR_S driver, as well as my video review of the VR_S driver, and in follow-up here I’m posting my review of the VR_S fairway wood. I’ve thoroughly put the VR_S 15-degree 3-wood through its paces, and I share the results of my testing here.
FIRST IMPRESSION: DESIGN/APPEARANCE
Out of the box, the VR_S fairway wood gives the appearance of a game-improvement club that’s forgiving and easy to hit. The club has numerous game improvement features, but the design also has a classic feel that will appeal to the traditionalists out there. From the playing position the club has an extended pear shape (deep from the face to the back of the head) with a generous footprint that will inspire confidence over the ball. The crown has the same metallic gray finish as the driver, and the same graphics that reflect the design of the VR_S irons. It has also been mentioned to me that the design on the crown is also meant to function as an alignment aid.
The low-profile face features the same NexCOR technology as the driver, and is designed to launch the ball high and far. The sole of the club features the same diffuser plate and aerodynamic channel around the back of the head as the driver, both of which are meant to increase speed in the downswing. The head is glued to the shaft and does not feature the same STR8-FIT adjustability system as the driver. The fairway wood features the same Fubiki shaft and Nike Tour Velvet grip by Golf Pride as the driver, and the headcover features the same vinyl VR_S graphics, with an elastic sock at the bottom.
Overall my first impression of the look of the VR_S fairway wood was that of a club packed with game-improvement technology, whose overall shape is inspired by traditional club design.
FIRST IMPRESSION: PERFORMANCE
My first swings with the VR_S fairway wood gave me the feeling of a smooth pass at the ball, and confidence that I could sweep the ball off the turf from a variety of lies on the course. I also saw the benefits of the NexCOR face technology, as I immediately saw that I was hitting the ball really far. This was confirmed when I did my range test with a launch monitor, as I was seeing gains of 10-15 yards on average in comparison to my SQ2 3-wood. For some reason this was not the case in my official VR_S Speed Trial for this club, where I actually saw a loss in distance compared with my old SQ2 3-wood. That surprised me, because on the range the VR_S was really outdistancing the SQ2.
The convincing factor for me is the confidence I get from the low-profile face, which makes me feel like I can get the ball airborne from any lie, from a tight lie or hardpan all the way to moderate rough. The deep crown gives the club a big footprint that also inspires confidence. The club is not only long, but I am able to shape shots both ways with ease.
Overall my first impression of the performance of the VR_S fairway wood was that of a game improvement club that gives added distance and confidence hitting shots from a full range of lies on the course. For more of my first impression from my range test, check out my video review of the VR_S fairway wood on the NG Nation YouTube channel.
As mentioned above, my range test showed gains of 10-15 yards extra total distance on average, but my official Speed Trial results actually showed a loss in distance. I suggest testing this club for yourself — on Twitter I heard many other players saying they have seen significant distance gains with this club.
This club is not only long, but I can also be very accurate with the VR_S fairway wood. The confidence I get from look of the club from the playing position allows me to swing smoothly, make solid contact with the ball and send it sailing straight at my target.
I’m able to shape shots left and right with the VR_S 3-wood, and hit the ball high (the ball flight the club primarily promotes) when I want the ball to land softly, and low when I need to hit a running shot or keep the ball down in the wind. The VR_S 3-wood is also my go-to rescue club for punch shots out of trouble spots — I can swing easy and the NexCOR face sends the ball where it needs to go.
The NexCOR face technology in the VR_S fairway wood also makes this club extra forgiving. Like in the VR_S driver, the sweet spot has been extended towards the heel and toe, so mis-hits go just about as far as shots struck in the center of the face.
Like the VR_S driver, the VR_S fairway wood has great acoustics — it has a solid sound when striking the ball, with just a minor hint of a “plink” (not distracting at all). Overall I was really pleased with the sound of the VR_S 3-wood.
The VR_S 3-wood is a great looking game improvement fairway wood that hits the ball really far. In my range test I experienced distance gains of 10-15 yards on average, although my Speed Trial for this club showed otherwise. I can shape shots with this club, and the low-profile face gives me confidence that I can send the ball to my target from any lie on the course. It sounds great, and it’s very forgiving on mishit shots — as a result the VR_S is now in my bag as my gamer 3-wood. If you’re looking for a new fairway wood that will give you extra distance and confidence over the ball, I recommend you give the VR_S fairway wood 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.