I received an email today from GolfEtail.com with a deal on a brand new set of Nike VR_S X irons for $249.99 today only (Uniflex shaft only). Click on the link below to get today’s deal.
Nike Golf has released two new sets of irons this year, the VR_S Covert 2.0 Cast and the Covert Forged — look for reviews of those by Alan and Damian respectively on the blog here some time soon. So why am I posting this comparison of Nike Golf’s three preceding iron designs? Well, for a few reasons — several of you have recently asked me about each of these irons, and those of you looking to get a forgiving set of irons that will give you extra distance, and save a few bucks in the process might want to consider checking out these game-improvement irons while they’re still available at some of the online golf retailers.
I’ve played several rounds with each of the VR_S Cast, VR_S Forged and VR_S Covert irons, and each set has different characteristics. My goal is to compare them here and give you my thoughts on each, so you can decide if any of these or right for you (or if you want to go with one of this year’s models). Below I give you my impressions of each set of irons as they relate to several design and performance attributes.
FIRST IMPRESSION: DESIGN/APPEARANCE
VR_S Cast: Out of the box, the VR_S Cast irons have the most game improvement appearance to them. Of the three iron sets, they have the most offset, the thickest topline, and the deepest cavity on the back. These irons include Nike’s NexCOR technology in the face and their Powerbow technology on the back, with the bow extending out and across the back to increase CG and forgiveness. The bow is visible to the right of the topline at address down through the 6-iron, but I don’t find this particularly distracting. The VR_S Cast features colors and design details featured in the rest of the original VR_S line. The stock shaft is a True Temper Dynalite 90 and the grip is Nike Tour Velvet by Golf Pride.
VR_S Forged: The VR_S Forged is the high-end offering of the three, featuring premium materials including Japanese forged stainless steel heads and Nippon steel shafts. These are truly beautiful irons, with great design and craftsmanship to the head design, which also includes subtle design details from the rest of the VR_S line. The VR_S Forged have a slight offset at address, a thinner top line than the cast version (the thinnest of the three actually), and they include a reduced version of the cavity back and Powerbow treatment on the back (you can see the Powerbow slightly at address through the 5-iron). The grip on the Nippon shaft is also a Golf Pride Nike Tour Velvet. This is the most expensive of the three, original price was $1,100 at retail and it’s still commanding $999 on several sites. This iron is the predecessor to this year’s Covert Forged iron.
VR_S Covert: The VR_S Covert irons were released last year, they are the next generation of the VR_S Cast irons and the predecessor to the VR_S Covert 2.0 Cast iron. This iron has the least game improvement appearance at address of the three irons. It has a slightly thicker top line than the VR_S Forged, but with the slightly rounded edges it appears thinner. You can’t see any of the game improvement technology in the cavity from the 5-iron on down, and it has a slightly thinner sole than the other two iron models. The polymer insert in the cavity features design details featured in the rest of the Covert line. The stock shaft is a True Temper Dynalite 90 and the grip is Nike Tour Velvet by Golf Pride.
FIRST IMPRESSION: PERFORMANCE
VR_S Cast: The VR_S Cast irons feature Nike’s NexCOR face technology, and the resulting distance gains are impressive — I gained 10-15 yards in distance throughout the set. These irons have a high launch angle and they make it very easy to get the ball in the air, both thanks to the Powerbow technology on the back. The VR_S Cast are very forgiving irons — the perimeter weighting helps mishit shots to hold their line and keep their distance, and the wide sole helps to get through the rough easily. Feel is not quite as good as the VR_S Forged or Covert, but the distance gains, forgiveness and high ball flight more than make up for that.
VR_S Forged: The VR_S Forged irons do not feature the NexCOR face technology (that is incorporated into the 2014 Covert Forged irons), but distance gains are still significant — I gained between 5 and 10 yards throughout the set. These irons have a mid to high ball flight, and they have forgiveness characteristics that are similar to the VR_S Cast. But the differentiating factor with these irons is the feel — these irons have a butter-soft feel due to the premium materials used in their construction (Japanese forged steel face and Nippon shaft). These irons are a pleasure to hit, and the distance gains and forgiveness are a bonus.
VR_S Covert: The VR_S Covert irons combine distance gains and forgiveness with a players iron profile at address. The NexCOR face gives me 10 yards extra throughout the set, ball flight is mid to high. The polymer insert in the back cavity and the perimeter weighting combine to give these irons incredible forgiveness. Feel is solid with these irons, not quite as good as the VR_S Forged but better than the Cast, and shaping shots is easy. The VR_S Covert is a game improvement iron without the full-on GI look — they look great at address, and perform even better.
VR_S Cast: Of the three irons, the Cast gave me the greatest increase in distance, 10-15 yards throughout the set. The NexCOR face on these irons is hot!
VR_S Forged: I gained 5-10 yards with the VR_S forged, not insignificant, although this was the least of the three irons as far as distance gained.
VR_S Covert: The NexCOR face in the Covert irons gave me a average of 10 yards extra distance per club throughout the set.
VR_S Cast: The Cast’s high ball flight gives a steep landing trajectory, allowing the ball to land softly. Although feel and control are good with these irons, they came in third in accuracy.
VR_S Forged: The buttery-soft feel gives a great sense of control over the ball, and I am able to be very accurate (at least for me) with these irons. The mid to high ball flight creates a penetrating trajectory combined with a soft landing.
VR_S Covert: As far as accuracy, the Covert irons have similar characteristics to the VR_S Forged — good feeling of accuracy and ability to get the ball close to the target, mid to high trajectory with a steep decent and soft landing.
VR_S Cast: While very long and extremely forgiving, the VR_S Cast irons came in third again in regards to the ability to work the ball and shape shots. Although I can move the ball with these irons, it wasn’t as easy as with the Forged or Covert.
VR_S Forged: The VR_S Forged excelled again in this area, the great feel allows me to create a variety of shots — hitting the ball high and low, and moving it left-to-right and right-to-left is a breeze with these irons.
VR_S Covert: Like the VR_S Forged, the Covert allows me to create a variety of shot shapes. High and low, left and right, however I want to move the ball, it’s easy to do so with the Covert irons.
VR_S Cast: This is an area where all three irons excel, but the VR_S Cast irons are especially forgiving. Mishit shots fly just about as far as shots struck in the middle of the face. The perimeter weighting keeps shots flying straight at the target and the wide sole and Powerbow technology make it extremely easy to get the ball in the air with these irons.
VR_S Forged: Like the Cast, the Forged are very forgiving, allowing mishits to fly straight and almost as long as shots that are struck well. The wide sole, Powerbow technology and Japanese forged steel face all combine to create a great feeling and very forgiving iron.
VR_S Covert: The Covert keeps pace in this area as well — the polymer insert and perimeter weighting on the back of the iron keep shots flying straight, and the NexCOR face technology helps shots hit towards the heel and toe to fly pretty much as far as shots hit purely.
VR_S Cast: The Cast irons surprised me here — because of their construction I thought these might have a little bit of a “plink” sound. But that isn’t the case, they have a distinctly pleasing “snap” at impact.
VR_S Forged: Same result with the Forged irons, the buttery feel at impact is accompanied by the same confident “snap” that the VR_S Forged produces.
VR_S Covert: Ditto here, the Covert irons produce the consistently solid “snap” at impact as the Cast and Forged irons.
In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with any of the three sets here (or from the look of them, the new Covert 2.0 or Covert Forged). But depending on your preference regarding overall looks and appearance at address, your playing ability and need for game improvement, and of course budget, each model has slightly different benefits to the player. Here’s a final summary of each to help you decide which set is right for you:
VR_S Cast: The VR_S Cast are true game improvement irons. These irons are engineered for distance gains and forgiveness, and although their feel for accuracy and control and the ability to shape shots is good, it’s not quite up to par with the VR_S Forged or Covert irons in that area. But if you’re looking for irons that will help you get the ball in the air, and give you extra distance and forgiveness in the process, these irons are what you’re looking for.
VR_S Forged: If you’re looking for a high-end iron constructed from premium materials (with the price tag to match) with a butter-soft feel at impact, look no further than the VR_S Forged. This iron has terrific feel and acoustics, and will also will give you a big boost in distance and forgiveness for mishit shots. The VR_S Forged is a premium game improvement iron with the feel and performance of a players iron.
VR_S Covert: The VR_S Covert is a game improvement iron with a players iron profile. Outstanding distance gains and amazing forgiveness combined with great feel and shot-shaping capability make this iron an outstanding performer. The technology that’s responsible for this iron’s great performance is hidden in the rear cavity (truly “covert”), giving the Covert iron the appearance of a player’s iron at address. If you’re looking for GI performance with a look of player’s iron, the Covert is the iron for you.
Do you have experience with any of the three set of irons above? If so, please share your experience in the comments below.
Editor’s note: The products 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.
VR_S IRONS COMPARISON:
VR_S CAST IRONS:
VR_S FORGED IRONS:
VR_S COVERT IRONS:
Hi all, just wanted to share some words of wisdom, as my recent club mishap may result in you avoiding the same fate. You see, I’ve had some difficultly hitting my VR Pro Combo 3 iron and 4 iron well, so I was looking for something more forgiving. After swapping out my 3 and 4 iron for the 3 and 4 iron in my original Pro Combo set, which had bigger grooves and a bigger face, I thought I had my problems solved.
But then I thought swapping to something with a lighter graphite shaft might help me out even more and so recently I bought a VR_S 3 iron with a Fubuki graphite stiff shaft. It certainly looks more forgiving and is light as a feather, but what I should have done before buying the club was check the lofts!
Why check the lofts?
Currently, I play a hybrid at 19*, a VR Pro Combo 3 iron at 21*, and a VR Pro Combo 4 iron at 24*.
When I received by VR_S 3 iron I realized that it was a lot longer (40.25″ vs. 39″) but was most startling was that the loft on my VR_S 3 iron was 18* vs. the Pro Combo’s 21*! My 2 iron hybrid now has a degree HIGHER loft than my new VR_S 3 iron!
To explain in simpler terms, my old loft progression went: 19 > 21 >24
Now, if I put my brand new club in play it will go: 19 > 18 > 24
So my advice is, before you buy any club, be sure to check the lofts so you don’t find yourself in the same situation as I am in!
–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
A few weeks ago Nike Golf sent me a set of their new VR_S irons to test and review — this set is the cast version, the VR_S irons also come in a forged version which I hope to also test and review. I’ve had the VR_S irons at the range a couple of times and will be playing with them on the course this coming week. My initial impression: Wow, these irons are long, 10-15 yards longer than the irons I tested them against (my Pro Combo OS irons), a club to a club and a half longer through the bag. They have a nice sound at impact, a distinct snap with no “plink” sound that sometimes can be heard from super-game-improvement irons. I’m normally not an SGI iron guy — I prefer more traditional iron designs and I lean toward the look and feel of forged irons — but these irons really impressed me, both in visual design and performance. The look really appeals to me, and from the playing position these don’t overwhelmingly look like SGI irons. They have a great feel at impact, and they make ball go a long way.
I’ll have my full review coming soon here on the blog, but for now check out these first-look in-hand pics:
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.
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:
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 PGA Merchandise Show Demo Day at Orange County National was held on Wednesday, and Nike Golf was there in full force. They were conducting Speed trials with their new line of VR_S equipment, keeping track of the top distance gains on a special leader board (see photo below). The Golf Channel‘s own Win McMurry stopped by for her very own Speed Trial, and she gained 10 yards using the new VR_S driver (see photo). Nike Athlete Suzann Pettersen was also at the Nike booth doing her Speed Trial, and she gained 29 yards with the VR_S driver and hybrid (15 yard with driver, 14 yards with hybrid) over her current equipment (photo).
Also in attendance was Javier Colon (from NBC’s The Voice), and he gained 30 yards with the VR_S driver and hybrid (6 yards driver, 24 yards hybrid – photo). If you would like to do your own Speed Trial, Nike Golf will be conducting them across the country this year where you can put your current equipment up against the new VR_S line to see the difference in speed and distance you get between the two.
And in a related note, Nike Athletes Stewart Cink and Anthony Kim were doing Speed Trials of their own on the range at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. It looks like Stewart was trying out the 9.5 and 10.5 degree versions of the VR_S driver, and AK was also giving the driver a test run (photos below). We’ll see if the VR_S driver makes it into their bags some time soon.
NG Nation correspondent Michael Karamarkovich was at the demo day today shooting photos for NG Nation, you can see those in the photo gallery below. Also below is a gallery of photos from Nike Golf’s Twitter feed. We hope this gives you a feeling for what it was like to be at the Nike booth at the PGA Show Demo Day. Enjoy!
MICHAEL KARAMARKOVICH PHOTOS:
NIKE GOLF PHOTOS:
Tuesday night Nike Golf held a special invitation-only VIP event at The Peabody hotel in Orlando, Florida to officially launch their new line of VR_S woods, hybrids and irons. Nike Golf President Cindy Davis kicked off the event, followed by appearances by Nike Athletes Ken Griffey Jr., Sterling Sharpe and Suzann Pettersen. The event’s emphasis was on “Speed”, with the Athletes participating in “Speed Trials” with the new VR_S driver and fairway woods, putting up some impressive speed and distance numbers. This year Nike Golf will be holding Speed Trial events across the country where players can compare the speed and distance they get with their current equipment with the speed and distance they get with the new VR_S line.
Yours truly was unable to attend the VR_S launch event due to a family obligation, but NG Nation correspondent Michael Karamarkovich was in attendance to cover the event and capture some photos, see those in there gallery below. Also below is a gallery of photos taken from Nike Golf’s Twitter feed. Hopefully these photos will give you a feel for what it was like to be at this special event. Enjoy!
MICHAEL KARAMARKOVICH PHOTOS:
NIKE GOLF TWITTER PHOTOS: