Once again, Nike Golf has stepped up to the plate and delivered with its latest release of drivers, fairways, and hybrids. Created with a great deal of input from their stable of athletes, Nike brings us what can easily be called their most traditional looking line of woods to date. The new Victory Reds are quite the departure, appearance-wise, from the SQ Sumo released two short years ago.
Bridging the gap between then and now was the SQ Dymo, which toned down the large grey Powerbow and had the option of the face-altering STR8-Fit Technology. Both the Sumo and Dymo were pretty successful, garnering tons of praise for being long and forgiving, and both still remain as a very affordable option on the market today. Can Nike continue to have the same success with their new lineup? Follow along with us as we look deeper at the Victory Red hybrids, fairway woods, and drivers.
Victory Red Hybrids
Like some of the irons with the same name, the VR hybrids are made for the mid- to high-handicapper. In an effort to create the ideal mix of workability and distance, the engineers at Nike's famed "Oven" decided to open the face slightly and move the CG forward. By finding an ideal center of gravity, it gives the player the player a heightened ability to work the ball, at the expense of forgiveness.
We have accomplished what we wanted to with these hybrids. We wanted to achieve a higher launch angle with significantly less spin. We've done that through altering the face angle and finding the proper center of gravity measurements.Tom Stites, Director of Club Creation for Nike Golf
The 455 Ultra Thin steel face also plays a big part in the distance provided by this new hybrid. Making its debut in the VR line is the previously mentioned Split Compression Channel, which promotes distance across the entire clubface.
The standard Aldila VooDoo graphite shaft used in the VR hybrid also helps to promote consistent performance in terms of distance, accuracy and feel. Topping off this new hybrid is a Nike Golf Crossline grip.
Options and Availability
Four lofts are available, ranging from 15° up to a 24°, with all but the 15° available for both right-handed and left-handed players. MSRP on the new hybrid is $203.99, though I easily found them for around $170.
Victory Red STR8-Fit Tour Fairway Woods
Nike's new VR fairways are a bit of a departure from last year's SQ Dymo fairway woods. The first difference in this line is the lack of a square-headed variation. If the forgiveness of a square head is what you're looking for, Nike has the Machspeed lineup waiting in the wings. The second difference you'll find is the inclusion of the STR8-Fit Technology, previously only found in 2009's SQ Dymo STR8-Fit drivers. Last but not least is the use of the Split Compression Channel, which is also found on the VR hybrids, and is a spin-off of the Compression Channel found in the VR drivers. But more on that in a bit. First, let's look a bit deeper at these new-for-2010 components.
The VR fairway woods are the first of their kind to use the clubface-altering STR8-Fit technology. The newest version of the STR8-Fit implementation allows the head to be adjusted in a mind-blowing 32 different ways. At first glance, 32 different face angle options seems to be a bit excessive, but in the end, it means every aspect of this club can be fine tuned to meet your needs.
Like the hybrids, the fairway wood employs a 455 ultra-thin steel face. This face, coupled with the Split Compression Channel, promotes longer, more consistent distance on contact across the entire face.
Though it's nowhere near as visible as it was on previous Nike fairway woods, the Powerbow is again located at the rear of the club. This effectively helps locate the center of gravity low and forward to promote workability for those with faster swing speeds.
Our athletes prefer a smooth sole design for optimized playability on tight fairway lies. In order to achieve that, we split the compression channel on the sole to provide improved performance from every lie.Tom Stites
The VR fairway comes with an Aldila VooDoo shaft (in A, R, S, or X flex) with Score technology, which increases the consistency of the shaft while strengthening it. You have the option of a 13° strong 3 wood (for righties only), 15° 3-wood, 17° 4-wood, and 19° 5 wood. The suggested price is $299, but expect to pay closer to $250.
Victory Red STR8-Fit/VR Tour Drivers
As you can see, Nike has brought us two versions of the VR driver: the 420cc VR Tour and the 460 cc VR STR8-Fit Tour. Possibly the most immediately recognizable and noteworthy fact is that the VR drivers are Nike's most traditional looking driver to date. At address, there's no square geometry or exposed Powerbow - only a simple, pear-shaped black head. Though this is purely speculation, given the fact that the guys at The Oven take a lot of input from their athletes, it seems that many of the tour players have voiced their opinions about favoring the more traditional look.
The new VR drivers are immediately recognizable, as both versions share Nike's new Compression Channel technology, which is visible in the form of a red channel that stretches across the sole of the driver (from heel to toe), behind the face. The Compression Channel essentially allows the body of the head to flex and rebound more, delivering increased and consistent ball speeds across the entire face of the club.
One of the differences between the VR STR8-Fit Tour and VR Tour drivers is immediately obvious - the inclusion of (or lack thereof) Nike's award-winning STR8-Fit technology. In case you're unfamiliar with it, the STR8-Fit technology allows for the adjustment of the face angle as well as loft and lie angle. The shaft adapter and grooved hosel allows the club head to be adjusted a maximum two degrees in all directions, including face angle (as in open or closed), lie angle, and loft.
If you were a fan of the adjustability of last year's Dymo STR8-Fit, the implementation of it in the new VR drivers will likely grab your attention. While the Dymo STR8-Fit was adjustable eight ways, the VR STR8-Fit Tour can be tweaked a total of 32 different positions! Yes, like I said about the fairway woods, that's an insane amount of options, but no one is saying you're supposed to constantly change it. As an owner of last year's version, I can say that it's nice to do some experimentation, but from my experience, once I found a position I was comfortable with, I've kept it there for the most part.
Another difference between the two is the actual club head size. When the world's number one player Tiger Woods revealed that they Dymo he was gaming was actually 380cc in size, a number of people were interested in a return to a smaller driver. It looks like the guys at Nike listened, as they made the VR Tour in a 420 cc, non-adjustable version. There are a couple of size variations with the VR STR8-Fit Tour as well, as the 8.5° and 9.5° are a 440cc head, while the 10.5° and 11.5° are 20cc larger at 460cc.
The final difference between the VR Tour and VR STR8-Fit Tour is the shaft. The STR8-Fit comes standard with the Aldila VooDoo graphite shaft, while the VR Tour comes with the Project X graphite shaft. Both are available in Regular, Stiff, and X-Stiff flex profiles.
The MSRP on both models is $479.99, though street price is more like $399.99. Nike is also offering their "Signing Bonus" program, where upon the purchase of one of their new products, you're given credit to purchase other products such as apparel or balls.