Nike VR Spilt Cavity and Blade Irons

Nike has another Red (and black) winner
The first swoosh was made in 1971, and made the biggest market jump and media campaign with the release of the 1984 red (and black) Michael Jordan basketball shoes.  They may not have been the best looking shoes ever, but they were the beginning of a legendary product.  In 2008 Nike launched another red (and black) product bearing the name if its golf star, Tiger Woods and the Victory Red golf irons.  The Victory Red Logo comes from the TW tradition of wearing a red shirt on Sunday for victory.
Since I am just about the biggest Nike fan around, I will do my best to keep it honest and helpful to those who may not like Nike products.  I have played just about every iron set that Nike has ever made; Blades, Pro Combos, Slingshots, CCI, etc.  It seemed to me that Nike would make a big step forward and then take a step back with the next product.  The VR line is a big step forward again.

I have played the original Nike Blades for about one year.  I was excited to see what differences there would be with the new VR blades.  Obviously the VR blades are aesthetically different from the originals.  There are two additional stamps on the back of the club and some satin finish to go with it.  The VR stamp and the TW stamp are the new golf symbols for Nike.  I would have preferred one or the other, not both.  The satin muscle back looked nice in the bag.  The overall shape was almost exactly the same.  I just saw the slightest differences in the hosel and the muscle grind.

Even though they are blades, the VR’s are not as difficult to hit as one might think.   Now don’t get me wrong, if you struggle with your irons, you won’t help your game with these, but if you can strike the ball pretty well, there is nothing better than a pured blade.  Paired with the DG S300, the Nike VR blades are one of the most versatile clubs on the market.  If you can imagine the shot and know how to execute it, these clubs will make it seem easy.  The muscle is set low on these with a good part of the mass low on the head, making elevation easy on every shot.  If you are a picker, these clubs will work great with a fairly sharp leading edge.  If you are a digger, make sure you get the ground inspected for wires; you can go deep with these.  I am more of a digger, but because they have such a thin sole, they exit the turf with ease, no fat sole getting caught in a hole.  There is very little off-set on these as you can see from the pictures.

The feel and sound of a forged blade is my favorite in golf.  It is so pure and crisp that it makes you want to keep hitting great iron shots all day.  The off-center hits are unmistakable and moderately unpleasant; although I didn’t find the sweet spot to be all that tiny.  These clubs have just a hint of forgiveness, which gives me the opportunity to play TW’s clubs.

If you have the original blades, I am not sure these are a significant upgrade, unless your grooves are starting to show wear like mine are, then it is worth it.  It is worth getting that extra spin needed to stick the greens from the fairway.  These are excellent clubs, just not for everybody.

So for a wider range of golfers, the VR Forged Split Cavity Irons are phenomenal. They offer a similar soft feel as the VR blades but are abundantly more forgiving.  The split cavity positions the mass of the club in two places, the first is low on the face for solid high ball flight and then around the perimeter of the face for extra forgiveness.

The VR split cavities have only 2 symbols in the cavity, the swoosh and the VR which would be very appealing, but the waffle finish on the split cavity part is a bit over the top and from what I can tell unnecessary.    The original, legendary, split cavities looked so much better, but then again, looks don’t hit the ball.  The looks are not step-back ugly, just, why, oh why did we need that?

The Split cavities also paired with DG S300 offer extreme versatility with exceptional forgiveness.  Only the very weak iron players will struggle with these irons.  They are less workable than the blades.  If you hit a 10-yard cut with the blades it will probably be a 5-yard cut with the split cavities.  There is just a touch, I mean tiny bit, extra off-set on these for additional forgiveness over the blades.

I was also happy to find that the forged heads on both the VR blades and split cavities held up really well in the dry AZ desert.  They barely showed signs of wear after five rounds.  The chrome bottoms did have a small amount of brush marks, but anything forged will have that.  I was also pleased that the lofts are not all jacked up making 9 irons more like 6 irons, but rather a more traditional loft pattern allows them to find a comfortable spot in my bag immediately.

One of the slightest disappointments I had was that they came with different grips.  The Blades have a Golf Pride tour velvet cord grip while the Split Cavities has a new VR Eaton velvet style grip.  Both are nice and I could play either one without hesitation, but I had been thinking about making a combo set, 3-6 iron Split Cavities and 7-PW blades.  I don’t care for the difference in feel between irons.  I generally like all the same feeling grips on all my clubs.  I’m not sure how many people this would apply to, but for anyone that might be considering this option, just make sure to custom order the grips one way or the other.  I would go with the new Eaton Grips, I really like the soft feel, if I had to put one grip on both clubs.

Sure I’m a big Nike fan, but for those of you who are not, don’t be afraid or too stubborn to give these a try.  Nike took a great step forward with the VR line.  It is another win for Nike with red (and black).

For more information: www.nikegolf.com