Lamkin Grips

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Last month at the inaugural THP Golf Outing, I was able to demo and put into play for a round one of Nike’s newest club offerings for its 2010 line, the Nike VR Str8-Fit Tour driver. The results were surprising and here is my review for the impressions that this driver left on me….and continues to do so.

Click On Each Image For Larger Hi-Res Picture

About The Company
In 1995, Nike signed emerging superstar Tiger Woods to a 20-year, $40 million endorsement contract even though the company did not have a line of golf equipment or golf balls. Nike Golf was formally established in 1998 at a time when Nike was among the top five marketers of golfing apparel, primarily on part to Tiger’s immediate name recognition with the Nike brand. Nike Golf was formed to also to manufacture and sell golf clubs and balls in order to cash in on the growing golf market. Nike Golf certainly has done this in addition to becoming a leader in golfing technology.

Looks
Visually the look is functional. A new player may notice the larger than normal hosel which incorporates the Str8-Fit technology but that quickly gets accepted and is forgotten quickly. Nike has chosen a more traditional ‘pear shape’ for the VR Str8-Fit Tour and offers it with a 440cc head. You notice the slightly smaller head as opposed to the more familiar 460cc drivers but you certainly don’t miss the other 20cc’s. A 460cc head is available in a 10.5 and 11.5 loft. In fact I thought the 440cc head was more pleasing to the eye at address, it was easier to line up, and also felt more comfortable during the takeaway portion of my back-swing due to the smaller head. The face angle is also open 2 degrees to allow more workability of the ball and to assist with shot making. The lie angle I tested was 9.5 and the shaft length is 45.75 which is available with an Aldila Voodoo shaft that comes standard. Flexes include X, S, R, A and the R shaft was the flex tested. When you turn the club over you’ll notice a red concave channel, or Compression Channel, that is positioned near the face of the club. This is the ‘soul’ of the club and is the heart of all its technology and performance.

Compression Channel

Technology
The previously mentioned Compression Channel is what powers this club. It acts like a trampoline and ‘springs’ the ball forward once the chamber compresses. This produces increased ball speeds across the redesigned face technology found on all of Nike’s drivers. Next is the Str8-Fit Tour Adjustability feature. If the Compression Channel powers the club, then the Str8-Fit technology steers it. There are 32 different possible face angle combinations which is more than enough for the most discerning golfer. This includes 15 options for either left or right ball flight and 2 for neutral ball flight which means multiple options for shot-creation. The setting I used during testing was ‘neutral upright’ meaning the face position was square with an extra degree of loft. Generally I thought changing the face and head alignment to be simple and straight forward to use but once you find a setting you like, I suggest you leave it. That being said, I was pretty impressed with the results of this setting but found it just as impressive to use the Torque Wrench that comes with the club. The Torque Wrench provides a sound and a LED indicator to signal when the shaft and Str8-Fit adapter are fully secured.

Str8-Fit Tech Up Close

Performance
WOW! This was one of my favorite drivers at the Outing and I was fortunate enough to put it through it’s paces on Day 2 at a course that was fairly narrow. The VR Str8-Fit Tour has just enough mass to let you feel the club-head all the way through from takeaway though release. The face was extremely hot and even a little forgiving for a Tour model. Even shots that were hit on the toe of the club still managed to go 225 yds and straight! But when you catch it on the designated sweet spot, it goes a long way. I was consistently getting 250+ yd drives with minimum shot dispersion ( less than 5yds to either side) and had no issue with hitting driver on any hole that may have required it. Trajectory was consistent and predictable with a middle to middle-high ball flight. All of this was possible despite an unexpectedly disappointing shaft. If there is one weakness in this well constructed package it’s the stock Aldila Voodoo shaft. I felt that the R flex of the shaft was a little to ‘whippy’ for me but overall it’s a small complaint given the success and results I experienced with the VR Str8-Fit Tour.

Overall
This was the first time I had ever used a club with any sort of customization features and I was pleasantly surprised. I had always thought it was a gimmick but it truly does work. Is it a cure all for the worst of slices and the nastiest of hooks? Probably not but this may help minimize the severity of those types of misses. I struggled a bit on the range with it and then took it out on the course to give it another chance. Once I found a setting that allowed me to ‘get dialed in’, the results spoke for themselves. So much so that I bought one when I returned home from the outing. I’m still searching for a shaft to meet my needs but I continue to use it and achieve the same results I first saw last month. Since putting the Nike VR Str8-Fit in my bag full time, I’m able to shorten par 4’s and par 5’s like I never could do before with repeated consistency. If you’re still in the market for a new driver for 2010, you’d be cheating yourself to not hit the Nike VR Str8-Fit.

Todd H.

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  1. Ryan says:

    Great write-up Todd. I really like the looks of this driver. Glad to hear that it’s working out so well for you.

  2. rbelbin says:

    I have the VR Tour version of the driver (not Str8-Fit) and I love it, basically the same driver with a smaller head, normal hosel and set to 2 degrees open. It came with the Project X shaft, so I’d recommend that one. Or a Miyazaki shaft. HIT IT LONG (and straight)

  3. OEM Kevin says:

    Very nice review! You hit some bombers with this driver at the outing!

  4. tcalloway1 says:

    solid write up thanks! i was lucky enough to share some range space with you while you were bombing them out there. i’m glad that you’ve found a driver that suits your game best! next up: let’s find you the right shaft!

  5. Smallville says:

    I also saw you hitting this at the range. Glad you were able to play a whole round with it and get a good feel for it.

  6. Jeremy says:

    Nice. I snagged a VR 4w used a while back, and absolutely love it. And I agree, the Str8 Fit feature is a “gimmick” to a lot of people, but once you find your setting, leave it! It won’t fix a hook or hitting down on the ball, but it lets you customize your club the way you do to irons to hit it straight.
    Going to a Nike Demo Day here at the Golfsmith in town just to try it out!

  7. Puttin4Bird says:

    Great review Todd, thanks!! This would be on my short list of new drivers to demo if I were in the market right now.

  8. Golfer Gal says:

    Great write up Todd! Nike seems to be putting out some really solid clubs this year.

  9. bonknhead says:

    Well-written and informative review Todd! I too thought that adjustability feature was just a gimmick, but you showed how well it works in tailoring it for you. Thanks!

  10. Yoccos1981 says:

    Awesome review. I was looking at the VR or R9 to replace my Dymo2 Str8 Fit. When you were first trying out the settings, did you notice a big difference in ball flight from right to left or left to right (with varying heights)?

  11. steve says:

    Hi Todd…just wondering what your club head speed is…I am right around 90 , smooth tempo and was wondering if the regular flex would be alright….How similar is it to the r9 suoer tri?…I’m looking for a new driver and like the idea of adjustablity….I will hit both before buying and choose then but your already a step ahead of me (having hit both)…thanks

  12. thanks1974 says:

    Yoccos- My swing speed ranges from 97-108mph depending on how comfortable I am. The best thing would be for you to try both the R and S shafts out to see what spin rates and launch angles you get. I like the stock R flex for the most part but I’m trying different S flexes to bring my lauch angle down a little bit as I don’t want to move the setting I have now. I hit the SuperTri quite a bit at the first Outing and I think they’re 2 completely different drivers. I thought the R9 SuperTri was lighter but didn’t have as hot a face as the Str8-Fit has, therefore, it wasn’t as long for me.

  13. thanks1974 says:

    Sorry Steve…my last post was meant for you, not Yoccos

  14. thanks1974 says:

    Yoccos (revised)- my natural shot tends to be a 5 yd slight fade when all is well. I noticed more height on shots that went left to right vs. those that went right to left. However I don’t draw the ball very well so when the face was set to draw the ball it either didn’t go very high or was a slight hook for me.

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