Review: Nike VR V-Rev Wedges

Love the Wedges, Not sure on the Rule
Over the past year the big talk in wedges has been the grooves, 2010 tournament conforming vs. non-conforming.  V-grooves vs. Box/U-grooves.  As we have watched the PGA tour adopt the new grooves, we’ve seen almost nothing that says it was a big deal for the top players in the world; we’ve even seen a whole host of 59s.  But how does the groove change affect amateurs.  For starters, amateurs don’t need to change grooves until 2024 but manufactures won’t be making those aggressive grooves past this year.  So we will need to start playing the new grooves sooner than required (unless you stock up enough extras for the next 14 years).

Nike brings to the market the 2010 tour conforming grooves in their VR V-rev cast wedges.  These wedges have already been used for wins on tour and I can see why.  The grinds and head shapes of these wedges are just about my favorite on the market right now.  Nike calls the grind a “dual sole”, but most golfers know this as a C-grind, and an aggressive one at that.  There is ample heel relief and toe relief.  This allows maximum versatility for all course conditions along with creative options for a variety of shots.  My favorite shot is to open the club up and create added loft.  With heel relief this is much easier to do because the heel doesn’t catch on the ground.  The toe grind maintains the weight directly in the center of the face.  What I liked most about the V-Rev set was that they included the C-grind on all the lofts, not just the 58*-60* wedges.  The 52* wedge also has a C-grind.   They come in either a black raw finish or a satin silver.  I also played mine with the stock grips and DG S400 shafts.

So lets start with the use of a 52* wedge with a C-Grind.  First of all the 52* mainly serves as a gap wedge in most bags.  For me the majority of the shots hit with this wedge are full swings.  Playing from the fairway it is like any other 52* wedge.  I like the c-grind out of the rough because it seems that the heel relief is less likely to catch ground and turn over on me.  Whether that is true or not, I don’t know, but mentally it helps.  The other uses I found for the 52* C-grind were some unique shots that I wanted to open the face to control the trajectory, but didn’t want too much loft of a 60*.  

The 56* wedge or sand wedge became my favorite club in the bag.  There were even time when I aimed for a bunker because I had so much confidence in that shot, even over a green side chip.  The aggressive C-Grind allowed me to open the face, splash the sand, and hit high soft sand shots that landed close to the pin every time.  It was simply a thing of beauty.  I’m not sure how much the grooves matter in the sand, the grind is much more important since the ball mostly moves with sand between the face anyways.  I did also find it useful out of the fairways on full shots.  The high bounce is great for our soft MN fairways.

The 60* wedge or lob wedge does everything you could want.  The versatile grind allows creativity and confidence on almost every shot.  It hit the ball high yet allowed it to land softly.  While some people believe amateurs shouldn’t be using a 60* wedge, I agree if they aren’t going to learn how to use it, but if you can master it, it will definitely save shots.

So how do the conforming grooves compare?  In direct comparison to the VR grooves, there is simply no comparison.  The original Rev grooves were the highest spin I’ve found, but also destroyed golf balls.  The new V-Rev grooves spin the ball nicely, and there are no marks left on the golf ball.  Because of the spin difference, I had to change my approach to how I played the hole and how I chipped the ball.  Almost everything rolled out with the V-Rev grooves compared to everything sucking back with the Rev grooves.  But the one thing I did find is that roll out is easier to control than spin back.  On really tight pins it is tougher, but in general it just takes adjustment and understanding.  Overall I did find the V-Revs to hit a little higher than other wedges, I think much of that is because of the reduced spin.  This also aids in stopping power.  Compared to wedges by other companies, I found these conforming grooves to spin better than a few non-conforming grooved wedges.

The new look of the cast wedges is interesting.  Nike again included their waffle stamping on the back.  I’m not the biggest fan of that, but it does match my VR-split cavity irons well.  The lofts were also stamped on the back instead of the sole, which I found interesting.  I liked the look of the clean sole, but while on the course I did have to shuffle through my wedges to find the right one, they tend to hide among the other clubs.  As for being cast, they have that expected click and not quite the same feel as forged, but the little that is lost in feel is gained in durability.  They are cast 8620 so it is on the softer side, but not nearly as buttery as the VR wedges.

I have found myself rotating these wedges into my bag off and on depending on the course and conditions.  If it is soft, the V-Revs will be going in the bag, if it is hard and I want maximum spin the VRs go in the bag.  But if I had to play conforming grooves, these would find a happy home in my bag.

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