Nike will speed it up with new VR_S series
Sunday, May 12, 2013
The letter S is for speed, and 2012 is a speed year.
Nike’s new family of clubs is the VR_S. This is the updated and, we are told, speedier version of the original VR line. So Nike added an S for Speed.
The new Nike VR_S series
A look at the new irons, forged irons, fairway wood, hybrid and driver.
Meanwhile, TaylorMade has followed the R11 with the R11S. TaylorMade, citing increased clubhead speed because of improved aerodynamics, just added an S, too.
Both Nike and TaylorMade are reminding consumers that more clubhead speed means more ball speed, which means more distance.
What Nike club designer Tom Stites has created for the VR_S is called NexCOR Club Face Technology. NexCOR can be found in drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons.
What NexCOR has done, according to Nike literature, is help the company make “what is the fastest and hottest family of golf clubs that Nike Golf has ever produced.”
NexCOR focuses on the face of each club in the VR_S lineup. The faces have multiple thicknesses and are optimized for maximum flex and better ball compression.
In general, the VR_S line is designed for golfers with swing speeds that do not match those of touring pros. This is complemented by the VR Pro LE, aimed at players with faster swing speeds.
Fairway woods get special treatment from Nike. “Low hanging fruit” is what Stites calls the fairway wood category. That’s because in recent years improvements in fairway woods often have been superseded by the development of hybrids.
With the VR_S, Nike has something called L-Face Technology in both the fairway woods and hybrids. This means the face is wrapped around the clubhead from crown to sole, eliminating a weld on the face. Welds on the face sometimes hamper ball speed by creating what is known as a “cold zone” in a portion of the impact area. Nike’s objective was to have a hot face from corner to corner.
VR_S drivers with NexCOR are fully adjustable through Nike’s STR8-FIT system.
NexCOR also is featured in the VR_S irons, which are available in two versions, one cast and the other forged.
The forged iron, with an undercut cavity in the back, was developed primarily for the Japanese market. Stites wanted to provide a soft forged feel in a clubhead that is slightly larger than normal for a forged iron. The result was so pleasing that Nike decided to sell it in the United States.
The cast iron is even more oversized for forgiveness, yet the club offers a clean profile for a game-improvement iron.
“NexCOR is a very big deal for us,” Stites said. “I think we’ve got some great faces in all the VR_S products. It’s there in the irons, too. You just can’t see it.”
To promote VR_S and NexCOR, Nike will hold a series of VR_S Speed Trials in March, April and May. These events will be at retail golf shops and courses, and Nike will ask consumers to compare their current clubs with the new VR_S family. These events will feature a launch monitor, and Nike is confident the VR_S family will prove its superiority. A list of participating facilities can be found online at www.nikegolf.com.
Street prices for the VR_S clubs: driver (8.5, 9.5, 10.5, 11.5, HL) $299.99; fairway woods (15, 17, 19, 21), $199.99; hybrids (18, 21, 24, 27) $159.99; cast irons (eight irons) $599.99 steel and $699.99 graphite; forged irons (eight irons, steel only) $999.99.
All the VR_S clubs will be available Feb. 3.
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