Nike VRS Hybrid Review
Club Specs: Nike VRS Hybrid, 21 degree, Stiff, 75g Nike Fubuki K Shaft
What Nike says about the club: The fastest, longest hybrid we’ve ever produced out distances all others by combining two big advantages: It launches easier and flies farther.
Club Tester: Ian Favre, Handicap 12.5, Current Hybrid – Taylormade R7 CGB
Ok…if you are hiding the scars on your existing hybrid with your wife’s nail polish, it might be time to crack out the wallet and buy a new stick. Over the past decade no club has changed the game of golf more than the hybrid (and no, I will not count that cheater stick belly putter). Removing the 3 iron from the majority of players’ golf bags and replacing it with a high-flying, super forgiving trampoline that’s as easy to hit as your 7 iron really transforms the way you can play the game. The hybrid is also ultra versatile and can be used very effectively on small bump and run chip shots to the green and in my case, as a putter for a whole round when I had a slight mental error and left my flat stick at home.
Watching the golf channel or any tournament on the weekend, you will see commercials at nauseum touting the Adams hybrids, but really you never see a hybrid commercial from another equipment maker. They all make them, but for whatever reason we never really see any press about it. After liking the VRS driver (didn’t keep it in the bag, but did like the club) and recently ordering a set of VRS Forged Irons, it seemed only logical to check out their hybrid and see if Nike’s claims of it being the “longest hybrid ever” are accurate.
I’m not a big hitter. My current 3 hybrid is generally right at 200 yards, so cracking this thing out of the box and watching the first 10 balls easily clear 210 yards on the fly blew my hair back a bit. This thing has 2 more degrees of loft than my current hybrid and I’m roping this bad boy well past the old club. Then a sudden feeling of “houston we have a problem” came over me. I pull out my couple year old Taylormade Burner 5 wood and hit that a few times….crap, just as I thought, I’m hitting the hybrid the same distance as my 5 wood. Now I need a new 5 wood. Crafty Nike, very crafty….trick me into liking this club only to set me up to buy a new 5 wood since mine is now obsolete. Well played.
Ball flight on the VRS Hybrid is excellent as the ball takes a nice boring trajectory and doesn’t balloon like my current hybrid. I think its going to be a super beneficial club in the coming Seattle winter as the ball flight and trajectory should be great in the wind and rain.
On The Course: Lucky me, my first play testing of this club is at the Ko Olina Golf Resort in Oahu. A perfect place for it really because I wanted to know how this club would play in the wind. After my first round I think the best word to describe this club would be “safe.” I used it to lay up, I used it off the tee box on two par 3′s and I used it for a couple approach shots on longer par 4′s. I can’t report anything overly spectacular but even when I missed it a couple of times, which I certainly did, it was safe. Really can you ask anything more of a club than that?
Of all the shots I hit with it, two stood out. First, a 190 yard par 3, dead into the wind. I hit that one on the screws and it cut through the wind nicely to about 15 feet. My previous hybrid would have easily ballooned in that wind and been shorter. The second shot is a bit more telling. Frankly, my swing felt terrible and I just didn’t have any mojo this day. I had a 185 yard shot, uphill with a slight side wind. I knocked it pretty close to the hosel and hit a dead rookie banana ball out there. I turned around without watching the ball finish only to hear my wife say, “nice shot.” Ummm..nice shot? What are you talking about? Turned around and the ball was dead center about 15 feet below cup. That was a dead miss and I darn near still got the distance on an uphill shot into a side wind. An ugly par is still a par I guess :)
Summary (Positives & Negatives):
Positives: A club advertised as long that actually lives up to it; subtle crown design that isn’t distracting, confident “I can’t miss feeling” standing over it.
Negatives: Eh, not much really. If I’m being nit picky, the small grooves and designs on the sole will grab dirt and it’s a pain to get out. That’s nothing though.
Overall, I’m pretty impressed with this whole VRS line of clubs from Nike. I liked the VRS driver but I never got the impression that it was a must have in my bag. This hybrid is hot, super forgiving and doesn’t stand a chance of leaving my golf bag. I’m a believer on this one.
Press Release from Nike Golf on the VRS Hybrid:
Speed of New VR_S Technology Produces Longest Hybrid Ever
VR_S Hybrids Add Even More Distance to Nike Golf’s Fastest Family
BEAVERTON, Ore. (January 30, 2012) – Nike Golf’s fastest family ever, the all new VR_S line, has gained more speed and more distance with the launch of the VR_S hybrids. This latest introduction from Nike Golf, the industry’s emerging leader in R&D, delivers a fast, long hybrid that promises to outdistance all others.
The VR_S hybrids share the same remarkable speed and distance attributes as the rest of the VR_S family with the incorporation of the exclusive NexCOR variable face-thickness technology. NexCOR maximizes distance for the widest range of players through a new speed-expanding multi face thickness design. The NexCOR infinity design creates a bridge for ultra-thin, ultra-hot faces and unmatched ball speed from every club in the bag.
By combining NexCOR with a compact aerodynamic design, Nike Golf engineers have been able to deliver in a hybrid the performance of a fairway wood, along with the accuracy and scoring ability of an iron. As a result, the VR_S hybrids launch easier and fly further. In addition, 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.
“By taking a holistic approach to how we’ve designed every club in the VR_S line, we’ve been able to deliver more speed and more distance with every club in the bag,” said Tom Stites, Director of Club Creation for Nike Golf. “These new VR_S hybrids are just like the VR_S driver, fairway woods and irons. They are ultra fast so that they can play their role in getting you to the green more quickly. The result is what every golfer wants – fewer 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 differs from club to club. The result is the fastest, hottest and longest family of golf clubs that Nike Golf has ever produced.
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 in 83 worldwide Tour wins, including three major titles.
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 http://www.nikegolf.com. For a list of golf shops participating, go to http://www.nikegolf.com.