PRODUCT REVIEW: Nike Golf VR_S Fairway Wood

Product Review: 2012 Nike Golf VR_S Fairway Wood

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.

DISTANCE
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.

ACCURACY
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.

PLAYABILITY
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.

FORGIVENESS
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.

ACOUSTICS
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.

SUMMARY
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.

CHECK OUT MY VIDEO REVIEW OF THE VR_S FAIRWAY WOOD >>

Read Nike Golf’s press release about the VR_S Driver and Fairway Wood >>

Check out this Oven Files video about the VR_S NexCOR Face Technology >>

Watch the “VR_S: Approach” Fairway Wood TV Spot with Anthony Kim >>

Visit the VR_S microsite on nikegolf.com >>

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.

My VR_S Speed Trial Results

I’ve had the VR_S driver, 3-wood, 4-hybrid and irons in my bag for about three months now, and I’m sold on the technology in this new line of equipment. I’ve completed my testing, the driver review is up on the blog, and the other three are soon to follow. Last Saturday I headed to Golfsmith down in Chandler, Arizona to take an official Nike Golf VR_S Speed Trial, and I want to share the results of my Speed Trial here with you.

When I arrived at Golfsmith, there were two gentlemen ahead of me, so I had to wait a bit to get my Speed Trial underway. When it was my turn, I was greeted by Nike reps Jeff and Adam, Jeff checked me in and I was ready to go. I had brought my SQ MachSpeed Black Driver, SQ Sumo (SQ2) 3-wood and SQ Sumo hybrid with me to test against, the same three clubs I used in my range and on-course testing. I started with the driver, taking three swings with my SQ MachSpeed Black, and then three swings with the VR_S. Even though the MachSpeed Black is last year’s model, there was  big difference in the results — I gained an average of 12 yards between the three swings. This echoed what I had experienced in my range testing, where I was getting gains between 10 and 15 yards.

Next was the fairway wood test — I started with three swings with my SQ2 3-wood, followed by three swings with the VR_S 3-wood. The results here surprised me a little, as in this test I actually hit my SQ2 3-wood an average of three yards farther than the VR_S 3-wood. This is not what I experienced on the range, where I was hitting the VR_S 3-wood around 10 yards on average farther than the SQ2. But the official result in my Speed Trial was -3 yards.

Last was the hybrid test, three swings with the SQ2 and three swings with the VR_S. This club is the one I experienced the most difference with, both on the range and in my Speed Trial. In the Speed Trial I had an average distance gain of 13.5 yards. In my range testing I was averaging around 15 yards gained, but on some swings I was getting upwards of 20 yards and more extra distance. From what I’ve heard on Twitter other players are also seeing big dance gains with the VR_S hybrid. We’ll have to see what Chris Wang, the winner of our Fantasy Four first half season prize of a VR_S hybrid, sees as far as a distance gain.

I was really glad I went to take an official Speed Trial, because I not only found out the difference in distance between my old SQ woods and hybrid and the new VR_S, but I was able to see the difference in spin rates and other info that was collected from my test swings. Adam took some extra time and explained to me what some of these numbers meant and what numbers indicate a good swing.

I highly recommend taking a Speed trial for yourself, they are going on through May 13th. If you can’t make it to an official Speed Trial event, you can also go to your local golf retailer and test the VR_S for yourself. If you’ve tried the VR_S line, let us know in the comments below what your results were as far as the difference in distance you’ve seen from your old clubs.

A big thanks to Adam and Jeff for taking me through the Speed Trial, and I’m now entered in the Golfsmith contest to win a round of golf with Tiger Woods, wish me luck!

Nike Golf Speed Trials Begin March 31st

Nike Golf Shifts into Full Throttle with its Speed Trials Campaign for Consumers

-Consumers can take the head-to-head distance challenge and experience the new Nike VR_S line of clubs-

In one of the most robust consumer trial programs Nike Golf has ever introduced, the company is conducting Speed Trials at hundreds of golf courses and retailers across the country. Throughout the season, Nike Speed Trials will offer consumers the opportunity to experience Nike’s fastest lineup ever: the VR_S club line.

Nike Speed Trials will allow consumers to compare the speed and distance of clubs in their current bag, as well as other demo clubs, to the new Nike VR_S products on a launch monitor. With participants’ accumulative distance tallied and recorded on a national leaderboard, individuals can see their results featured on www.nikegolf.com.

“The Speed Trial program is the most aggressive consumer trial campaign in the history of Nike Golf,” said Cindy Davis, President, Nike Golf.  “Our VR_S club line is the new face of speed – our fastest family ever.  That simply means massive distance gains. We’re saying to the golfer, we have such confidence in this technology that we invite you to experience how it performs against your current clubs and other products.”

Beginning on Saturday, March 31st in the U.S., consumers will be able to participate in Nike Golf’s Speed Trials at five key retailers including, Golfsmith, Golf Town, Golf Galaxy, PGA Superstore and Worldwide Golf Shops. There will be various major sweepstakes at each of these locations and participating consumers will also receive a 20XI two-ball pack, while supplies last. Similar Speed Trial events are already taking place at other key regional and green grass account partners across the country.

The VR_S family includes drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, and irons. The award-winning VR_S driver and fairway woods feature NexCOR variable face-thickness technology for more speed at impact and greater distance.

Generating more distance for every shot, the Nike VR_S is an extension of the original VR line, which has more than 85 worldwide professional wins including three major championships.

To find a location nearest you, visit the Speed Trials section on www.nikegolf.com

To learn more about Speed Trials go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ou8PciAf62Y

Editor’s Note: The post above is from a press release from Nike Golf.

Nike Golf at Golf Fest Phoenix

I headed out to Golf Fest Phoenix yesterday, which was held at Longbow Golf Club out in Mesa, Arizona. It was a beautiful day, and Nike Golf was there in full force with many people stopping by the booth and trying out the new VR_S equipment line while I was there. I was also able to reconnect with Phoenix area Nike Golf reps Gordie and Frank, who I had met 3 years ago at a demo day at Desert Mountain Golf Club, but hadn’t seen since.

The full VR Pro and VR_S equipment lines were on display, and many people were checking out the new VR Pro LE driver, fairway woods and VR Pro irons, as well as the full VR_S equipment line. I overheard some comments from people who were impressed by the distance they were getting with the new VR_S driver, and Gordie gave me some more info about the NexCOR face technology that is making these distance gains possible. The sweet spot has been expanded from the middle of the face into more of a figure-8 shape (like the NexCOR icon design in the middle of the face), so mis-hits toward the toe and heel are getting just about as much distance as a shot hit in the center of the face. And I think this is what people are noticing, the distance they are getting from most of their shots — mis-hits as well as shots hit in the center of the face. I’ll be testing the VR_S driver next week, with my review to follow soon after, and I’ll let you know if I experience the same thing.

Golf Fest continues today out at Longbow, and if you’re in the area head on out and stop by the Nike booth and check out the new VR_S line for yourself. And if you do, tell Gordie and Frank I sent you.

Nike Golf VR_S Driver and Fairway Wood Available Today

New VR_S Driver Leads Nike Golf’s Fastest Family Ever

-Massive distance gain begins on the tee and builds through the entire bag-

Nike Golf, the industry’s emerging leader in R&D, has shaped the new face of speed with the introduction of its award-winning VR_S driver and VR_S fairway woods, available to consumers starting today.  These ultra fast, distance-generating woods combine with the new VR_S irons to make up Nike Golf’s fastest ever family of clubs.  The VR_S family is an extension of Nike Golf’s Tour-proven VR franchise, which, since its 2008 introduction, has been the weapon of choice for more than 85 worldwide Tour wins, including three major titles.

The Nike VR_S driver and fairway woods feature NexCOR variable face-thickness technology, for more speed at impact and greater distance.  NexCOR maximizes distance for the widest range of players through a new speed-expanding multi-thickness face design.  The NexCOR infinity design creates a bridge for ultra-thin, ultra-hot faces and unmatched ball speed from every club in the bag.

“When golfers are seeking extra distance, they immediately think about the driver,” said Tom Stites, Director of Product Creation for Nike Golf.  “The amazing speed of Nike Golf’s new VR_S driver more than delivers on that promise.  However, the beauty of the entire VR_S family is that the new fairway woods are also fast and long, as are the irons and the hybrids.  The cumulative result is that every club in the bag is going to get you to the green more quickly — and that means less strokes.”

Nike engineers conducted impact studies and were able to map where consumers hit the ball on the face at impact on every club.  Based on those results, the location of the NexCOR technology through the entire family of VR_S drivers, fairway woods, irons and hybrids adapt from club to club.  The result is the fastest, hottest and longest family of golf clubs that Nike Golf has ever produced.

With a bigger club head and a deeper face, the new VR_S driver’s ultra fast speed is accentuated by greater swing velocity generated through its aerodynamically engineered head design and longer, lighter 45.75 inch Fubuki shaft.  The driver also incorporates the new Nike STR8-Fit system, which offers a 4-degree range of face angle adjustability, optimizing ball speed, distance and accuracy.

Aerodynamic design also combines with NexCOR technology for accelerated speed off the face and more distance off the fairway in the new 3, 4, 5 and 7 VR_S fairways woods.  Also, L-Face technology positions the weld on the sole to allow for an expanded maximum COR zone from the middle to lower on the face, where the majority of fairway shots are struck.

Starting in March through May 2012, Nike Golf will be conducting VR_S Speed Trials at hundreds of participating golf retail shops and golf courses across the country. Nike’s VR_S Speed Trials will allow consumers to compare the speed of what’s in their current bag to the new Nike VR_S products on a launch monitor. Their accumulative distance will be tallied and recorded on a national leaderboard that will be featured on www.nikegolf.com. For a list of golf shops participating, go to www.nikegolf.com.

 

VR_S Driver

Availability: February 3, 2012

Specifications:

460cc;

8.5, 9.5 (RH/LH), 10.5 (RH/LH), 11.5, HL;

Nike Fubuki: X, S, R, A;

Street Price: $299.99

 

 

VR_S Fairway Woods

Availability: February 3, 2012

Specifications:

3W-15° (RH/LH), 4W-17°, 5W-19° (RH/LH), 7W-21°;

Nike Fubuki K FW: X, S, R, A;

Street Price: $199.99

New Nike Golf VR_S TV Commercial

Today Nike Golf Tweeted out a link to their latest TV commercial on their YouTube channel. The 30-second spot titled “VR_S Approach” is the first ad we’ll see about the new VR_S family of woods, hybrids and irons. I hope they do a series of TV ads, I love the style of the ads in the VR_S print, digital and TV campaign I’ve seen so far. I can’t wait to see the next ad — in the meantime, check out this first TV spot on YouTube:

VR_S APPROACH >>

VIDEO: Hackers Paradise Interviews Nike Golf President Cindy Davis

Today at the PGA Merchandise Show, Josh from The Hackers Paradise (and friend of NG Nation) had the opportunity to interview Nike Golf President Cindy Davis. In the interview Cindy talks about what drew her to work for Nike Golf, the role of speed in golf and sports in general, and the upcoming nationwide Nike Golf speed trials. Check out the video on The Hackers Paradise YouTube channel. Nice job JB!

THE HACKERS PARADISE CINDY DAVIS INTERVIEW >>