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ULTIMATE REVIEW – Nike VR Pro Hybrid

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nike vr pro hybrid review

"Every one of our testers told us that the Nike VR Pro Hybrid is longer than what's in their bag today. They averaged just over 219.71 yards....which now makes it the longest hybrid we have tested.  I'm guessing the performance results are going to surprise a lot of people.  If you are buying a hybrid anytime soon...make sure to add this one to the demo list."

Nike VR II Pro Hybrid

(Written By: GolfSpy_T) Very early this Spring we submitted the list of clubs we'd like to review to Nike. One club we actually left off our initial list was the 2011 Nike VR Pro hybrid. We did have some discussions about including it, but ultimately we just didn't think there was enough buzz to warrant adding it to the list. Nike provided us with everything we asked for, and we more or less thought that we were done with Nike equipment for the year.

Now I can only speculate about what goes on behind the scenes at Nike, but here's what I think happened. I think Nike, who for the last couple of years has been quietly (by Nike standards anyway) producing by far the best equipment in the company's history, feels like some of their stuff isn't getting the attention it deserves. Unfortunately for Nike, despite some significant (some might call them Major) wins over the last couple of years by Nike athletes Stewart Cink, and Lucas Glover, and a feel good victory by the affable (and awesomely-named) Johnny Vegas, recent history probably hasn't been exactly what the team at The Oven was hoping for. A handful of solid wins aside, the biggest name in the Nike Golf stable, and no doubt the driving force behind the company's success at the retail level, was well into a downward spiral of positively epic proportions. It's not that Cink and Glover aren't very good golfers, and by all accounts decent people; the reality is they simply don't draw people to product like Tiger once did.  Once again...just my opinion here; despite being better than they've ever been, interest in Nike Golf products probably ain't what it used to be.

While smaller companies do it all the time, it's less common for a big OEM to reach out to us and ask us to review a specific product. This however, is exactly what happened with Nike and their VR Pro hybrid. At first I was a bit puzzled. Why would Nike ask us to review a product that isn't generating much buzz? As it turns out, that was precisely the issue. Nike had on store shelves what I think they believe to be one of the best hybrids on the market, and it appeared as if almost nobody was paying attention.

The Marketing Angle

On paper the new Nike VR Pro hybrid reads like most any new product. It has a 21% hotter face than the previous model. It features Nike's compression channel technology along with variable face thickness for greater distance and control. From a design perspective the profiles, Nike claims, blend seamlessly with those of the VR Pro irons at address. All of this is fairly standard stuff, and it's all meaningless if the club doesn't perform.

Nike ships it's hybrids stock with "made for" variants of the popular Project X graphite shafts and a proprietary Nike grip from Golf Pride.

We don't score on the grip, but our testers generally aren't fans of (actually they despise) Nike's standard grip. It actually feels pretty good (squishy, but not overly soft), but once there's a little bit of sweat on your hands, forget about it. Good luck keeping a solid grip on the damn thing. In fact, the stock grip has become a bit of a running joke with our testers. Any time a Nike club is on the list for a given session, many of the guys ask to hit it first because they know that once they start sweating, all bets are off.

Yeah...I know it's a little thing, and it's not like we deduct points for it, but, as I just said, it's a little thing, and one I think Nike can easily (and should) fix.

How We Tested

The 6 golfers for whom we collected detailed performance data were asked to hit a series of shots on our 3Track Equipped simulators from aboutGolf.  As usual, testing was done at Tark's Indoor Golf, a state of the art indoor golf facility located in Saratoga Springs, NY.  Detailed data for each and every shot for which we collected data is now viewable in the interactive portion of this review.  This data serves as the foundation for our final performance score.  As a supplement to our 6 performance testers, a subset of additional golfers were given the opportunity to test the Nike VR Pro hybrid and provide feedback in our subjective categories (looks, feel, perceived distance, perceived accuracy, perceived forgiveness, and likelihood of purchase).  This information, which we also collected from our performance testers, is used as the foundation for our total subjective score. Though testers also had the opportunity to hit the 18° hybrid, for the purpose of data collection, formal testing was done with the 21° hybrid in the tester's choice of regular (5.5) or stiff  (6.0) flex.

PERFORMANCE SCORING

Distance

Our testers averaged just over 219.71 yards with the Nike VR Pro Hybrid, which now makes it the longest hybrid we have tested (Adam Idea Pro A12 was previous longest) by about 3.5 yards. The numbers are very similar when we look at our adjusted averages (best and worst 2 shots removed from the equation).

Specs may play a role in the added distance here. While the loft is 1° weaker than the previous long hybrid, we'd be remiss not to point out that the stock shaft is actually .5" inches longer than than both the Titleist 910H and the Adams Idea Pro A12, and .25" longer than the Cleveland Mashie. The added length most definitely translated to increased club head speed (+2 MPH on average compared to the last club we reviewed), and since speed often equals distance...well...you get it.

MGS Distance Score: 95.82

Accuracy

Looking at the raw numbers it's reasonably safe to say that the extra .5" of length had only a minimal impact on accuracy. Testers missed the center line by a raw average of 16.46 yards (15.65 adjusted), which is very similar to the results achieved by 2 of the 3 other hybrids we've tested this season. While some might be turned off by the longer shaft, we don't find any significant cause for concern where accuracy is concerned.

MGS Accuracy Score: 86.25

Consistency

Consistency proved to be a bit of a mixed bag. Two of our testers put up numbers that I would classify as exceptional, while another put up very good numbers. While the remaining 3 weren't stellar, only one tester put up would I would classify as below average numbers. On the whole the good results far outweighed the bad, which suggests that for many, the Nike VR Pro hybrid will prove to be a very consistent club.

MGS Consistency Score: 94.18

Overall Performance

I'm guessing the performance results are going to surprise a lot of people. I think it's reasonably safe to say that Nike probably isn't at the top of the list when it comes to hybrids, and yet, just as with the rest of the 2011 Victory Red lineup we've tested, the number suggests Nike's clubs can more than compete with nearly anything else in the marketplace.

MGS OVERALL PERFORMANCE SCORE: 90.87


SUBJECTIVE SCORING

If you read our review of the Nike VR Pro Driver you may recall that Nike took a bit of a beating in some of our subjective categories (feel and sound chief among them). Although we don't score hybrids for sound, as part of the VR family of woods, my expectation going into this is that the hybrid wouldn't fair much better than the driver.

Looks

There's a bit of a trend sweeping the hybrid space these days. Many manufacturers including Nike, Miura, and to an extent Cleveland are trying to give their hybrids a more iron like appearance by tweaking the crown design to better resemble the profile of an iron at address. While some appreciate that the profile of their hybrid closely matches that of their irons, others find the two-tone appearance off-putting. Personally, it's not a design I'm overly fond of (I don't personally care if my hybrids look like my irons or not), but I can appreciate the thinking behind it. I also appreciate the fact that unfinished portion of the crown (designed to look like the topline of an iron) is nearly impervious to sky marks. In the end, I'm basically ok with function over form.

Though we did have a single 9, the majority of our testers definitely indicated they prefer a seamless crown design. A couple of testers mentioned that they find the compact head a bit intimidating, although for me that compactness is part of the appeal.

MGS Looks Score: 80.09

Feel

Most of our testers agreed that when hit on the sweet spot, the Nike VR Pro hybrid offers very good feel. Shots that missed that spot were greeted with puzzlement. What our testers (nearly to a man) told me is that although they wouldn't say mis-hits feel bad, it's simply that when you miss what one tester suggested was a very small sweet spot, they just feel weird. It's admittedly difficult to quantify weird, but the majority of our testers thought sometimes great + sometimes weird = 8.

MGS Feel Score: 80.63

Perceived Distance

No big shocker here. Every one of our testers (with varying degrees of assertiveness) told us that the Nike VR Pro Hybrid is longer than what's in their bag today. That's an assertion that is largely supported by the data, and one with which I'm in complete agreement. If pure distance is your objective, look no further than the Nike VR Pro.

Tester Perceived Distance Score: 99.44

Perceived Accuracy

One quick look at our interactive test chart and you'll see that our testers weren't always finding the center line. To be sure I saw some great shots, but I also so some mis-hits, and some balls that tailed off in either direction. This has proven to be true of every hybrid we've tested thus far, so while not a stellar number, our testers were largely of the opinion that the VR Pro is as accurate as nearly any other hybrid they've tried.

Tester Perceived Accuracy Score: 83.31

Perceived Forgiveness

Our testers were all over their map with their perceptions of the VR Pro Hybrid's forgiveness. Some found it extremely forgiving, while others felt that it was overly penal on mishits. My personal opinion is that's it's probably middle of the road in this category. I've definitely hit more forgiving hybrids, but I've hit a lot worse as well. Given the design, which almost certainly is geared towards better players, it's about what you'd expect, if not slightly better.

Tester Perceived Forgiveness Score: 86.00

Likelihood of Purchase

It's rare that a LOP score exceeds both the look and feel scores for a given club. In the case of the VR Pro Hybrid, that's exactly what happened, however. While concrete evidence of nothing, it does suggest that our testers think enough of the performance aspects of this club that they're willing to overlook some of the subjective things they don't. While it's not quite the highest LOP score we've ever seen, it's certainly above average, and serves as further evidence that if you're not looking at the Nike VR Pro, you're probably overlooking one of your better options.

Tester Likelihood of Purchase: 86.00

Overall our testers scored the VR Pro hybrid similarly to the driver. They don't hate it. In fact most found plenty to like about it, but there are some quirks that leave testers scratching their heads a bit.

TOTAL SUBJECTIVE SCORE
: 85.89

CONCLUSION

I've commented in every hybrid review I've written that I absolutely prefer, hell I demand that my hybrids be relatively compact. I've never been particularly solid with a fairway wood, and as it turns out, the more a hybrid looks like a fairway wood, the less I'm inclined to put it in my bag. With that in mind, it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that I really like the design of the VR Pro. Of course, we also can't ignore the fact that the VR Pro is among the best performing hybrids we've tested in 2011.

Perhaps it's as simple as smaller head = better performance as the two smaller hybrids we've tested have outperformed the larger ones across a range of handicaps. It could also be that Nike has managed to create a very, very good hybrid that surprisingly (to me anyway) stands out above the crowd. While the VR Pro hasn't replaced my gamer, it's a clear choice among the other hybrids we've reviewed thus far.

Look...I'm getting tired of being surprised by how well Nike clubs have performed for us. I was surprised by the VR Pro Combo Irons. I was surprised by the VR Pro wedges. I was surprised by the VR Pro driver. And now I'm surprised by the VR Pro Hybrids. I'm starting to feel like and idiot, so from now on, I'm done being surprised by unexpectedly good performance from Nike. From today forward, my expectation will be that Nike products will perform as good or better than most anything else. Based on the totality of what we've seen in 2011, I'll save my surprised face for when they don't.

MGS TOTAL SCORE: 90.37


Reader Feedback

Have you hit the Nike VR Pro hybrids yet?  What about previous Nike hybrids?  If so we want to hear what your thoughts and opinions.  Join the conversation!

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Review Summary

A
90.37

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Golfspy Dave August 31, 2011 at 7:23 am

Looks so much better than last year’s.

Reply

skip August 31, 2011 at 11:31 am

Dave,

That’s not saying a lot.
I’ll stick with my pro a12.

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Golfspy Dave August 31, 2011 at 11:58 am

:)
I was mainly thinking about the return to a black crown being an improvement…

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nikegolfjon September 1, 2011 at 4:54 am

I have been playing Nickent hybrids for a few years. I tested them at the time and for cost effectiveness they worked great for me. I did have some nike cpr hybrids in the past and nothing has really set me afire with Nike hybrids since then. I have tried them over the years,but like I said nothing sparked. Then I hit these VR HYBRIDS and wow!

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Brian September 1, 2011 at 8:42 am

Well I bag a the 21 deg and it seems to work for me. Hit everything in the store and this was the longest and the one I never hit a hook with. I always called my old hybrids hook machines and this one never seems to want to go left. I can’t really work the ball with this thing, the ball is either dead straight or a slight push right, my preferred miss.

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JOEL GOODMAN September 1, 2011 at 11:10 am

TOO BAD IT’S NIKE. THAT WILL STOP ME AND LOTS OF OTHERS FROM TRYING/BUYING. WE CHOOSE NOT TO SUPPORT ANYTHING THAT SUPPORTS WOODS, THE FORMER GOLFER AND NOW WORLDS’ #1 SCUMBAG.

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Tim S September 1, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Silly Goose!

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Sliq September 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm

You act like Tiger Woods runs the company, or that his behavior is indicative of the quality of club Nike makes. What a silly goose!

Also, unless you are literally shouting through a megaphone as you type, turn off the caps lock.

I made my self laugh imagining you screaming into a megaphone as you type. I stink.

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Joseph Yap September 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Hypocrite!!!

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Richard P. Jacobs II September 19, 2011 at 10:11 am

WOW, that’s saying alot, considering his actions had ZERO impact on you, me or anyone outside of his inner circle & family…I would agree that he’s not the word’s greatest husband or father, but WORLD’S #1 SCUMBAG…If I held all of the companies to your standard, christ, I would probably have to eliminate most of em…Just so Mizuno & Adams never make the list…Greens & Fairways 4ever….

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Ken January 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Joel……Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional. Could you at least TRY doing the second part?

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RoverRick November 18, 2011 at 11:33 am

To me, Nike has never been associated with the top tier of golfer. When I think Nike Golf I think Nike Tour. Obviously, I am not including Tiger, Kim, and Cink, but until the VR line came out in 2009 (irons only) most of the major players used “Prototype” equipment. When compared to Titleist or some of the others like the Callaway tour and pro lines, Nike had large offsets, and generally looked funky. The old Nike CRP hybrids looked ok but I did not play them well. Too much offset. Then they went to the canary yellow and flat black clubs that are just too trendy for my tastes.
But with the new VR line it is a different story. Nike’s VR line looks to me to be reminisent of the Ben Hogan line in its last few years. I have not played them, I do have a VR Pro Driver on the way and two hybrids are not far behind. Not in the market for irons now. But they are good looking clubs that look like quality and not overdone with flames and stripes and matted finishes, etc. Titleist and Callaway seem to be going with garrish graphics that are a turn off. Bridgestone, looks good but seems incomplete. They start out with lots of graphics and then stop half way done. I have not decided if I like that or not, but to be honest, I have never seen a Bridgestone club being played.
If Nike plays like it looks, then most people are missing out.

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Nocklaus August 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I also don´t like Tiger and what he has done (me being swedish and all) and I didn´t want to have any Nike products at all. Also I was very happy with my equipment when Nike came to the drivingrange at our club. Titleist driver, Mizuno 3wood and Srixon hybrids.
They wanted me to at least try a club, so I tried the driver.
Now I have Vr Pro driver, 3wood and hybrids in my bag!
I have never hit a driver so far or a hybrid so straight!

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george October 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I’ve had a 24deg. regular flex for a year love it. It’s just dead straight period. Hit it in a lot of places yeah, the rough a lot. It will do 175 every time with a good solid swing. First hybrid I’ve ever owned should have bought one long ago.

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Fozcycle January 25, 2013 at 8:55 am

I pulled the trigger and picked up the Nike VR Pro 3H & 4H with P X 5.5 shafts yesterday.

The price was down to $80/each two weeks ago and yesterday they were 2 for $127.90…..so I got ‘em.

If they hit anything similar to the matching VR Pro CB irons with the ssame shaft, I will be a winner.

BTW, the Nike shafts are about 1/2″ shorter than the Cally FTiz’s that I currently have. Hope they will go as far….will get to try them tomorrow.

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Russ T. March 25, 2013 at 11:55 pm

I bought these hybrids after reading the reviews about 4/5 months ago and couldn’t be more happy with them. They are extremely forgiving and accurate! Stock shafts were crap. Balls kept ballooning on me, so I changed them to DG SL s300s and they have a more penetrating flight.

I saw they have a “1″ hybrid! Going to try and get one of those.

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Pieter June 16, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Also got a 3H 2 weeks ago in a sale. Wasn’t planning on buying anything in the shop. I’m having no complaints on my old hybrid – a starter’s club (pro-gen) cause I needed a urgent replacement for a iron 3 that went missing. It’s got a steel shaft which is no longer straight – but my shots still go straight for some reason. Anyway I hit a few balls in the shop with the Nike, the first one on the sweet spot and I surspected great things to happen. Could not resist the temptation, and the discount did the rest. Day after on the course I just got to use it twice. Didn’t hit any practice balls. Gripped it short as it’s indeed 5 inches longer than my old one. Both shots went well. Now today I went to the practice range and hit a lot of balls. I am happy now I didn’t grip it to its full length on the course, because my shots go easily 20 yards further than before! I would have missed the greens by miles… sweet spot hits feel great, a bit similar to my mizuno irons. off center hits still go OK-ish straight with far less distance, but I experienced a torture-like feedback from the club itself. That’s the reason I won’t mark them as forgiving – literally.

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