Need To Know
As a cold, rain-bearing north-westerly blew in across the St Andrews' Jubilee course, it struck me this is hardly the time to deliver chapter and verse about the latest VR-S irons from Nike.
Then again, when in this country of ours do we get the best weather to review products? In recent months nearly every golfer has had to endure miserable conditions so products have to perform whatever the weather.
Supplied on the eve of my trip to the Home of Golf, these seven clubs (4-iron to pitching wedge) featured the regular-flex 75-gram Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki X4NG graphite shaft and were straight out of the box and into the bag. And with time running short and access to the practice ground denied, it was out on to the course - in at the deep end!
First impressions in terms of looks is that the satin finish coated around the face and top line, helps give the irons an elegant appearance - more aesthetically pleasing than their Machspeed predecessors. It also helped give the top line a less chunky look.
I was less pleased with the snowdrop patten at the top of the grey and black shafts but at least the Nike Tour Velvet grip featured only a subtle swoosh logo without the usual lines and paraphernalia that go with some other brands.
As with many game-improvement irons with a wide sole, they tended to bulge behind the shapely lines at address from 7- to 4-iron but life's a compromise and in today's equipment if you want to generate height with the longer irons, a 'backside bulge' goes with the territory.
At first the clubs felt a little 'head heavy' but as the round progressed it became less of an issue and in fact helped to keep the swing smoother and more in tempo. ?
Nike claims these irons are their 'fastest and furthest' thanks to the NexCOR face technology developed from its latest drivers, where the location differs with each iron in the bag.
Designer Tom Stites says his engineers carried out thousands of impact studies using club golfers to discover where on the face were the most popular points and based on the result the technology was developed.
“NexCOR technology allows for the clubface to produce greater energy return, higher trajectory and longer and straighter shots, " he says. "So shorter irons into the greens are needed and this will improve a player's confidence level.”
On a wind-swept links it's hard to confirm his sentiments but the irons generated a solid feel that suited the low trajectory needed to battle the elements and the conditions over the outward seven holes into the wind.
Among some sweet strikes, inevitably there were miss-hits but these irons were on the whole very forgiving and any loss of distance was at least tempered with a degree of accuracy, thanks to the clubhead's PowerBow undercut construction with the weight position to the back and away from the face.
Downwind for most of the Jubilee's homeward holes I was able to take advantage of a higher trajectory and steeper descent to hold the firm fast greens making the experience of playing in pretty grim conditions, far more pleasurable.
Nike is currently staging its speed trials around the country where golfers get the chance to experience the latest Nike equipment as well as how their game can benefit from the technology. I urge you to give these clubs a go. It will be a while before Nike can prize them away from me with better weather on the horizon to re-endorse my review.