Category Archives: Irons
Press Release from Nike: (pics below)
Nike Golf Adds Speed and Distance with VR_S Covert Irons
-A High Speed Cavity Back iron for maximum distance, control, and forgiveness-
BEAVERTON, Ore. (November 28, 2012) – Building off successful innovation from the original VR_S franchise, Nike Golf creates a High Speed Cavity Back iron designed to maximize distance, control, and forgiveness.
The Nike VR_S Covert irons combine a sleek look with high performance technologies. Proprietary technology platforms include a High Speed Cavity Back and a NexCOR face.
The High Speed Cavity Back in the VR_S Covert irons allows athletes more distance and control with every shot. By incorporating this new hidden technology into its fastest lineup yet, Nike Golf engineers have been able to move the weight of the club to the corners, raising Moment of Inertia (MOI) to increase forgiveness and add even more distance to off-center shots.
The cavity back technology is hidden “covertly” giving the iron a sleeker look at address with the performance advantages of a highly forgiving distance iron. The VR_S Covert irons are Nike’s most versatile irons to date and will appeal to a very wide range of players.
A new variable added to the VR_S Covert irons to maximum distance is the incredibly thin 1.6mm sole thickness designed to heat up the face.
“Distance, control, and consistency are the keys to successful golf shots,” said Nike Golf Director of Club Creation, Tom Stites. “We combined a High Speed Cavity Back, NexCOR technology, and a dual bevel sole to maximize distance for every club in the bag. Golfers will notice positive improvements not only on crisp shots, but on off-center shots as well.”
The NexCOR face is designed to deliver faster ball speed and longer shots from a wider area of the face. NexCOR creates more speed at impact by employing variable face thickness that focuses on increasing the sweet spot not only in the center of the face, but also to the lower portion and towards the toe where most golfers are likely to make impact.
For the VR_S Covert irons, engineers have created a dual bevel sole, which allows the club to sit low to the golf ball and prevent digging. The sole makes a clean cut through the grass making interaction with the turf less disturbing to the golf shot.
The Nike VR_S Covert irons are part of the VR_S Covert family that includes the iconic Nike Cavity Back drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids -all available in golf stores throughout North America and Europe on February 8, 2013 and in the rest of the world starting on February 15, 2013.
- High Speed Cavity Back
- NexCOR – The New Face of Speed
Nike VR_S Covert Irons
Availability: February 8, 2013
4-AW, True Temper Dynalite 90: S/R (RH/LH);
4-AW, Nike Kuro Kage Black 70: S, R, A (RH/LH)
Street Price: $699.99Steel/$799.99 Graphite
Gentleman, take this post and immediately forward it to your wives and/or significant others. Look, we’re all golfers here, we all want the same thing under the tree regardless of whether or not we actually say it. This just makes it easy and avoids you having to create a sincere thank you for the Nascar themed scarf you just opened up. Ladies, significant others, etc…here’s what the golfer in your family really wants for Christmas. Drop the Starbucks gift card, return the argyle sweater, and the Chia Pet and get down to your nearest golf store immediately. Below are some start to finish gift giving ideas, certain to please the golfer in your household.
The Stocking Stuffer – Simple and effective, a good stock stuffer gift can steal the show. Here’s a couple great ideas to put an immediate smile on the face of any golfer in your home.
Picture 1 - All Weather Golf Gloves. Sold in a pair, the all-weather golf glove is a must have for a Northwest golfer, even if they do not play year round. A traditional golf glove gets pretty nasty in the rain and becomes slicker than a Slip and Slide covered in canola oil. The all weather glove, such as the one featured from Nike Golf provides a palm grip that gets tacky when wet. They are not necessarily recommended for dry conditions, but any regular golfer keeps a pair in the bag in case the rain starts falling. A pair of the Nike Golf All-Weather Gloves run $27 msrp.
Picture 2 - Golf Balls. A dozen golf balls and poof, your golfer is happy right? Not so fast….Golfers are picky little creatures of habit, and while we know you had good intentions with that 12 pack of Dunlop Loco’s, no way on god’s green earth will we ever play them. Even hearing them hit the front of the putter makes us cringe. When buying golf balls for a regular golfer, you either go big or go home. Better to play it safe instead of wasting money ya know? As for suggestions, The Titleist Pro V1X is always a lock to make someone smile or try the Nike 20XI-X (pictured above). The Nike ball is very similar to the Pro V1, but features a resin based core believed to make the ball longer. Nike 20XI-X msrp for $58, but can be found online for as low as $24.99 right now (screaming deal).
Picture 3 - Lessons. Remarkable the difference a couple lessons with a PGA professional can make. Regardless of the skill level of the golfer, everyone can benefit in one way or another from a few lessons. The trick is more than one lesson to make it really effective. One lesson is a band-aid and sometimes a bit awkward. Really learning and changing someones game for the better take repetition and belief in the person who is teaching you. Around the holiday, various companies such as GolfTec sell lessons in 3-packs. Prices vary but your run of the mill lesson from a course pro is $50 for 30-45 minutes. P.S. try our teaching pro, he’s free online
The Warm Up Gift – One of the great things about golf, is that fashion has become a huge part of the game. Ok, maybe that’s not great, but it sure is an excellent way to dial in someone’s “fashion issues” since the very large majority of quality golf gear you can buy doubles as great casual business attire. Here’s a few suggestions for really hooking up the wardrobe of your favorite hacker.
Picture 1 - Sweater. A solid v neck sweater is a staple of any man’s wardrobe. The sweater featured above is from Nike’s Tour Performance collection and is a wool/acrylic blend. Basically is looks slick on and off the golf course and the blended material make it tough as hell. Buy a couple cheap sweaters or spend $100 on a quality one that will last for years. Besides, the golfer in your home wants to wear the same thing the pro’s wear. Just don’t buy it purple…might be mistaken for a Husky….which is never good
Picture 2 – Clutch Polo. If you have a golfer in your house it’s likely that 80% of their shirts are polo’s and yet they only wear 3 of them. Playing golf in anything that is uncomfortable or awkward makes it tough to focus on your game. Besides, no one wants to be the guy in the frayed polo with the collar all curled up, looking like your dog was chewing on it before you tee’d off. There’s a few good companies making some very quality golf polo’s today. We’d suggest checking out Travis Mathews who specialize in golf polo’s, or try something from the Tiger Woods Collection (shown above). The polo shown above is the TW Light Speed Print Polo. Super soft, great for golf or work and they last a lot longer than your run of the mill polo. MSRP on the polo above is $95.
Picture 3 – Golf Shoes. Golf shoes in general have really changed over the last 5 years or so. The traditional golf shoe isn’t the only footwear seen on the course these days as the casual on/off the links golf shoe has become increasingly popular. Shoes like the Ashworth Cardiff or the Freddie Couples Ecco’s have proven to be excellent summer golf shoes that work just as well off the golf course. For winter golf you’re going to need something with a little more meat to them. It has to be water proof and it has to have an aggressive spike pattern for some traction in typically wet Northwest conditions. Pictured above is the Nike Zoom Trophy golf shoe. 2 year waterproof warranty, excellent traction in winter conditions and they make you feel like you are 3 inches taller $160 msrp, but as low as $99.00 in a few places on the web.
The Primary Gift – Go big or go home. Want to make the golfer in your home bounce around like a teenager who just had their first kiss? This is your recipe for success.
Picture 1 – Irons. Buy your golfer a new set of irons and you are delivering the jackpot of all Christmas gifts. Be careful on this one though because golfers are creatures of habit with a bit of ego mixed in. The wrong (aka cheap) set of irons will elicit a “seriously? Top Flight irons?” half-hearted smile. Yes, it’s the thought that counts, but when it comes to a set of irons as a gift, as we said before, go big or go home. Your best bet is to call your golfers’ friends and get their thoughts. More than likely they have drooled over the same set of sticks on more than one occasion. Our suggestions: Pictured above is the Nike VRS forged iron. A better players iron that features a large cavity on the back to play forgiving on mishits, with the buttery soft feeling of a forged iron that a better player typically prefers. Nike VRS Forged irons will run somewhere in the $700 range. Also worth checking out: Taylormade R11 irons, Mizuno MP irons, and Callaway Razor X irons.
Picture 2 – Waterproof Jacket. Mandatory staple in the golf wardrobe for a Northwest golfer. It’s going to rain for 9 months a year up here and without a waterproof golfing jacket you are going to have one moist year. It has to be light enough for someone to still be able to swing the club, but waterproof enough to not be glued to the player after 5 minutes of rain. Footjoy makes an amazing rain suit but it will cost as much as a mortgage payment. We play tested the Nike Premium Weatherized Jacket pictured above and found it to meet both our needs. It didn’t crush our wallets too bad and we stayed dry during a recent monsoon round north of Seattle. Plus it looks pretty darn sharp off the golf course as well.
Picture 3 – Driver. Ok, a new set of irons will certainly do the trick, but nothing strokes the ego of every golfer in the world like a new driver. No matter what skill level your golfer is, they must have a name brand driver in the bag to wield around on the tee box like a samurai sword. Pictured above is the newly released Ping Anser Driver, the first adjustable driver that Ping has ever released. A new toy such as this will make the golfer in your household one happy camper. We’d also suggest you check out the Nike VRS Driver and the Ping G20. The previous links are to reviews on both clubs.
Notes: Nike Golf is kind enough to send us products to review, hence why you see so many featured above.
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.
Taylormade Tour Preferred Forged Irons (MB, MC, CB)
Ian: Taylormade is coming at you with three different forged blades these days, presumably marketing to the golfer with a 10 handicap or lower. The three different offerings go from the straight blade (MB), to more of a muscle back blade (MC), to a cavity backed players iron (CB). All three irons feature a funky plastic looking weight on the back center of the club.
How I hit them: Not very well to be honest. After hitting a couple other forged irons before I got to the Taylormade booth I found these to give off much less feedback on the contact than others. I hit the MB’s terribly, but as a 14 handicapper I guess that’s not a surprise. I’m a Taylormade guy, but these just weren’t for me. I wasn’t sold on the look either. I’m not sure what they plastic composite looking backer is on the MC and CB irons, but it’s just doesn’t scream players club to me.
Jason: With a lot of influence from tour players and the growing Asian market Taylormade is offering 3 different forged iron models for 2011. The MB: a pure muscle back blade, the MC: a mid-sized cavity-back, and the CB: a full cavity-back with a forged face with a cast sole and hossel. All three models have a weight cartridge that is held place by a screw on the back center of the head. This allows for swing-weight to be altered which is great from a technical standpoint but at the same time it makes the clubs look a bit busy in my opinion. The MC and CB both look very well made and high-quality but the mat-black carbon insert on the back of the MC looks a bit cheap and out of place.
How I hit them: The MB were exactly what I expected: Felt great when I hit the center of the clubface but when you hit one off-center they let you know about it. At address they look great but the lack of forgiveness was too steep a price to pay for good looks. The CB also look great at address and with a thicker top-line inspire a little more confidence. I did have a bit of a problem with the CB however, unlike the other two the CB offers little feel. Off-center hits do feel less harsh but solid contact didn’t give me that buttery soft feel of the others. The MC on the other hand felt great and offered far more forgiveness then I expected. Shot after shot I hit flew high down my target line and landed soft. I loved the feel and performance of the MC just not the looks of the black cavity insert.
Wilson Staff Forged Irons
Ian: We tried two sets of Wilson Staff forged irons. First was the straight blade FG62 irons, then the Ricky Barnes / Padraig Harrington iron, the FG Tour. The FG62 iron is as straight blade as it gets. Reminds you of old school Wilson irons from the 70’s with a super shine on them. The FG Tour is a cavity backed forged iron that is marketed to the mid to low handicapper.
How I hit them: Well as expected I have no business hitting a straight blade. The FG62’s we’re just a little much for my skill level and while not a super hack these irons were a bit over my head. Then I hit the FG Tour irons and I fell in love with a golf club for the first time. Wow. If I had the money I would have wrote a check for them on the spot. I crushed these bad boys…any distance I wanted, any target on the range, dial it in because I’m bringing it home. Going out and playing with my R7’s right now just makes me cry because I want these sticks so bad. They look great too, just a beautiful golf club. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
Jason: Very glad to see Wilson getting back to their roots with a couple different offering in the players Iron category. The FG62 is a pure blade aimed at the low handicap player. They look great and remind me of the Wilson Staff Tour Blades from the 1970’s. That all being said players with double digit handicap need not apply. The FG Tour irons on the other hand do offer a surprising amount of forgiveness for a forged club. Both set of irons look great with a nice mix of modern technology and classic lines. I love the old school W/S logo on the back of both models.
How I hit them: To be completely honest nothing from the Wilson irons stood out to me. The FG62’s performed as I expected. Hit on the center of the face and it felt great but catch one thin and your hands are numb for 5 minutes. I do recall being impressed by the forgiveness of the FG Tour but not overwhelmed like I was with the Ping Anser or Adams CB2. Solid set of sticks but not sure I’d drop $800 for them.
Ping i15, S56, and Anser Forged Irons
Ian: The Ping I15 iron is a progressive midsized iron set designed for mid to low handicappers. The Anser irons are a beautiful multi-metal forged set of sticks designed to be a forgiving players iron for a lower handicap golfer. The S56 is Ping’s tour caliber blade played by professionals such as Hunter Mahan.
How I hit them: Minus the Wilson Staff FG Tour irons, the Ping I15’s were best irons I hit at the show. The ball really jumped off the club face and they gave you a nice crispy feel at impact when you hit one well. I would have no problem throwing a set of these in the bag. I know Jason agrees since he ordered a set of them two weeks after the show! Similar to the other straight blade offerings the S56’s eat me for breakfast. I didn’t hit them all the bad, but when I was a hair off center on the club face I definitely knew it. The Anser forged irons were a gorgeous golf club that we’ve heard is going for upwards of $1200 a set due to limited production. I would make myself better to play a set of irons that look this nice. Great sticks. I’ll leave more feedback for Jason since he is a Ping lover
Jason: As Ian mentioned above; I’m a Ping guy. I’ve been playing Ping irons for almost as long as I’ve been playing golf. In fact I was so impressed by the i15’s I went out and order a set a week after we hit them. I was also extremely impressed by the Anser irons. If I made tons of money I’d buy a set to play and another set to sleep with. Well I don’t make tons of money so I got the i15’s. They don’t feel quit a wonderful as the Anser but they perform just as well and cost half as much. The S56 irons are a hardcore player’s blade. This model has been around less than a year and they have already racked up wins on major tours around the world. But just because Miguel Angel Jimenez and Hunter Mahan play them doesn’t mean a 20 or even a 12 handicap should.
How I hit them: I had been playing a set of G10’s for the past three seasons but after hitting the i15’s I had to make the switch. While I will admit that the i15’s are not quite as forgiving as the G line they will surprise you with their playability. Both the i15 and Anser irons feel and perform great. The edge for feel goes to the Anser. There are few better feelings then hitting a forged iron on screws. The Anser’s are so forgiving that almost every shot gives you that feel. While not offering the buttery soft feel of the Anser the i15 is no slouch. The ball jumps off the club face with a low purposeful ball flight rarely straying off line. The i15’s have the edge when it comes to distance and I was surprised to see the ball landing a full club longer then my G10’s. The S56 had a lot of the same qualities of the i15’s with a bit more workability and less forgiveness.
Srixon Z Star and Z-TX Irons
Ian: The Srixon ZStar is a forged iron for the mid to low handicap player. The Z-TX forged iron is Srixon’s premium forged iron design with a larger sweet spot and a slight cavity back. All three irons feature a funky plastic looking weight on the back center of the club.
How I hit them: Not bad, but nothing overwhelming like the FG Tour or I15’s. The Z-TX is a funky looking club and that might throw some people off. The ZStar is very reminisant of the Taylormade Tour Preferred irons from a couple years ago. Not much to report here. At $900 a set I need to be blown out of the water.
Jason: The Z-Star and Z-TX are both forged from 1025 soft carbon steel with the Z-Star having a pocket in between the face and back flange to offer a higher MOI and a larger sweet-spot. The Z-TX still features a cavity back but it is not as pronounced as the Z-Star.
How I hit them: I hit both offerings well. Predictably the Z-Star was a bit more forgiving with the longer irons a bit bulky looking at address. Both sets felt great with the soft 1025 carbon steel faces. The Z-TX allowed me to work the ball but with a bit less forgiveness. Overall both sets felt great but not sure I’d shell out $900 for a set.
|Nike VR Pro Combo & VR Blades
Ian: Nike’s best iron offering to date from everyone I have talked to and a good looking iron to boot. Remember the Slingshots? Whew…The Nike VR blades are a true forged players iron and I wouldn’t recommend for a mid-handicapper at all. Tiger hits em, you don’t. Although the swoosh logo is a bit out of hand, the Pro Combo’s are an excellent set of progressive blades that offer more forgiveness than the straight VR blades.How I hit them: I hit 4 balls with the VR Blades and gave the rep the club back. These bad boys are made for low handicappers. Really good looking clubs and it’s a safe bet the guy playing them against you is a stick. The VR Pro Combo’s are an excellent set of sticks that offer some forgiveness in the longer irons. I hit them just ok as they are still more of a blade than the other clubs I hit, but I left the booth thinking I could hit them. Isn’t that the point? Ball flight was pretty good although I wasn’t able to hit them very far. I did skull a couple and the feedback was “hey dude…you just skulled the &*%$out of that one.” You’ll know when you miss.Jason: I will agree with Ian in the fact that these are the best irons Nike has produced to date. Both sets look great at address and in the bag. The VR Blades are some serious sticks for pure ball strikers only and the VR Pro Combo are a progressive set offering more forgiveness in the longer irons.
How I hit them: I hit the Blade surprisingly well. The ball jumped off the club face with great distance and accuracy. The big difference between the two models is in the long irons. The Pro Como long irons offer a lot more room for error. I felt like I didn’t have to pure the 4-iron with the Combo to get a good result and wouldn’t hesitate to put them in play given the opportunity. The $900 price tag for both sets seems to be on par with other premium forged offerings