Lamkin Grips


The New Year is an exciting time for golfers. It always brings new equipment for us to lust over and Nike Golf has provided a very drool-worthy line of clubs with their 2012 VR_S series. In case you are wondering the ‘S’ appears to stand for ‘Speed’ and Nike is touting this line to be the longest and fastest they’ve produced. I was asked to review the VR_S irons for THP’s readers and have spent a just over a month testing them. These irons are replacing 2011’s Machspeed series and feature a fresh re-design. Nike boldly states, “Nike’s fastest irons go farther than ever. The clubface produces greater energy return, powering higher, longer, straighter shots. In the competition to the green, other irons just can’t keep up.”

Looks and First Impressions
From an aesthetic standpoint, I’m very impressed with what Nike has done with their 2012 line of clubs. The VR_S irons, while on the larger side, still have a very attractive cavity with an eye-pleasing red/black color scheme. The grooved portion of the face has a nice satin finish that wraps over the thick topline to avoid glare, while the bordering areas are a very shiny chrome finish. I’d almost say that the face is my favorite looking portion of the club. Something about it is very nice to look at. The amount of offset is similar to other irons in the same class as the VR_S. These irons are gripped with Nike Tour Velvets and I had no complaints about them, though I did the bulk of my testing in chilly temperatures. Regardless, I didn’t have any negative thoughts about them during this review. In hand, the VR_S irons felt a little head-heavy to me and that did translate through to when I swung them. In all, they are a very nice looking package and a definite improvement from the Machspeed line.

Technology and Performance
One of the reasons that the VR_S irons are able to deliver high ball speeds is they possess what many would describe as a ‘hot’ face. Basically, these irons are designed similarly to woods so the ball comes off the face with a trampoline effect. Nike describes it by saying, “Constructed of high-strength, ultra-thin stainless steel with NexCOR variable face-thickness, The VR_S clubface delivers a high COR face for more distance. The new face construction expands the maximum COR zone around the middle and lower area of the face where the majority of iron shots are struck.” I was pleased with the distance I saw on full shots and I did find them to be pretty forgiving, especially towards the heel. There was a distance loss associate with mis-hits, but it wasn’t too severe. Hitting the center of the face resulted in very long carry distances. The feel at impact was nice when I hit the sweet-spot and not harsh at all when I missed.

Aside from the NexCOR face, Nike has also placed their PowerBow technology on the VR_S irons. The PowerBow was also on the previous generation Machspeed irons and its purpose is described by Nike when they say, “By positioning weight off the face with an undercut construction, the Nike PowerBow technology produces a faster, higher launch for maximum carry, straighter ball flight and steeper descent to hold greens.” Translated, that basically says that Nike moved weight lower and farther back so you can hit the ball higher and straighter. Coupled with the Dynalite shaft, I found the VR_S to deliver on that statement in the form of very high ball flight that carried a good distance. The PowerBow does add the appearance of width to the sole of the iron, but is actually pretty attractive in-itself and gives the VR_S irons a very distinct look. The only complaint I have about it is that the channel around it seems to collect a lot of dirt, so I’d recommend carrying around a wet towel if you can’t stand dirty clubs.

The VR_S irons that I tested were outfitted with the stock, True Temper Dynalite 90 shafts. Nike says, “At a mere 90 grams, Dynalite 90 steel shafts feature ultimate control even with increased swing speed.” I will say that they definitely felt like I was generating some good speed and the numbers I saw on the launch monitor did confirm that. I got a sense that I could really whip these through the impact zone. I didn’t feel terribly accurate with them, but that could have had as much to do with fitting as anything. In their stock configuration, the VR_S irons are set quite upright compared to what typically fits my swing the best and I did struggle at times with missing to the left. That’s a perfect segue into a piece of advice I often give; if you are buying a new set of irons like these, take the time to get them fit.

Final Thoughts
These irons definitely deliver what they promise in the way of high, long shots. With the fresh redesign, I think Nike has a pretty nice offering for the golfer looking for more distance and height out of their irons. The Nike VR_S irons have an MSRP of $719.99 with steel shafts and $839.99 with graphite. They will be available February 1st, 2012. For full specs and more information on the VR_S irons, you can head to As always, thanks for reading and best of luck on the course this year.

Ryan H.

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Category: Equipment, Headlines & News, Irons

About the Author ()

Editor and writer Ryan Hawk lives in northwestern Illinois with his fiance and son. He's been a writer for The Hackers Paradise for two years and has been involved with a number of THP events.

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  1. Nike VR_S Forged Irons Review | The Hackers Paradise | January 16, 2012
  1. tadashi70 says:

    Good thoughts Ryan, thank you for reviewing these irons. I like the look of these, Nike realed it in a bit in my opinion. I like the addition of the 90 gram shaft, have become a big fan. Looking forward to hitting these.

  2. Ddxu says:

    Good write up Ryan. I did pose the question what the Sstood for on he forum one day, so thanks for clearing that up. I do think the clubs look better than the machspeeds, but still too busy for my taste. I wonder too how the shiny silver would wear over time and if they would show ‘idiot’ marks from bad toe or heel shots.

  3. Cookie says:

    Solid review there Hawk! I was wondering about the increased SS and then kept reading and you covered that. I think they are a little busy to look at but want to see in person before I really judge. Looks like they could be a solid SGI iron, I have just have to wonder if the lighter weight and promotion of “speed” will make golfers want to really get after it and while they may hit it further – at what cost when it comes to accuracy.

  4. damaikis says:

    Solid review Hawk! These sound like a good iron set to me. I love reading about all the technology that goes into these, so thanks for being in-depth on that! These could really help out a high capper! Thanks again for the review!

  5. Chunkylover says:

    Those pictures are sweet! Great review Hawk! I think these are a little too thick for my taste. I do like the looks of the new Nike line though

  6. Danilo says:

    Great review. I like where Nike is going this year! These irons look great and sound like they produce on the course when it counts.

  7. DMB012 says:

    Nice job Ryan. I think these look great and I am glad they are working for you.

  8. Wakerider says:

    Nice review Ryan, it looks like Nike took what they had with the Machspeeds and improved in it every way. Looks like it will be a solid choice for those buying irons in 2012.

  9. Yoccos says:

    Great review Ryan! I’ve owned the Machspeeds and they still rank near the top of my list as far as preference. Hopefully everyone who tries these out also gets fit. I liked the Dynalite shaft in the Machspeed as well.

  10. War Eagle says:

    Great review Hawk! I like these irons, and think they will be a nice progression on the Machspeed line, and set at a nice price point.

  11. Kmac™ says:

    Nice write up Ryan H. I love what Nike is doing with this years line up and think these look great. Well done.

  12. War_mongering says:

    Great review, Ryan. This line is definitely an improvement over the machspeeds in the looks department. I’m not sure how I feel about the top line but I’ll definitely try them out when it comes to pondering irons.

  13. ddec says:

    Nice write up Hawk. I was able to see these while down at THP and I thought the looks were pretty good. They definitely seemed like a distance iron with plenty of forgiveness

  14. Puttin4Bird says:

    Nice work on the review Hawk, they’re not really my cup of tea but I think a lot of players would really benefit from a set of irons like these. I just imagine being able to hammer a 5 iron out there as long as my 3 wood or something and I know a lot of golfers that these would fit the bill for. Great pics too!

  15. Doug the Lefty says:

    Great review. Looking forward to hitting these.

  16. DawgDaddy says:

    Nike continues to draw my attention, they have really come on in the last couple of years in my opinion. Great write up Ryan.

  17. TC says:

    Well done Ryan! While I’m not the biggest fan of being able to see the Power Bow at address, if these are an improved version of the Machspeed’s then i have no doubt that they are a good iron set. Thanks for the write up.

  18. TheDue says:

    Nice review Ryan. These are a sharp looking club that seem to come with plenty of technology packed in for the weekend golfer. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  19. tomahawk18 says:

    Well done Hawk. Nike is looking more and more appealing to me.

  20. TripleBogieTim says:

    Nice Job Ryan, Looking at these clubs they have a lot of tech built into them for the golfer needing help getting the ball in the air.

  21. 9-Iron Man says:

    I like the looks of these… a lot. Very nice looking irons. I’ve always liked the look of the VR irons, and I’m glad Nike is continuing that. Thanks for the write up Ryan.

  22. Smallville says:

    I bet these work very well for people of my ability! Loved this review, Ryan. These really remind me of the Adams a12OS irons.

  23. d_in_la says:

    Interesting review. I wonder how dirty that cavity gets during a round – any pictures you could post in the forum? Otherwise, this sounds like another positive set to try when I’m ready to get a new set. Thanks Hawk.

  24. yorkem says:

    Nice review Ryan. They seem a little thick for my eye at address, but for someone that does not have an issue with that it would seem that Nike has a winner in these.

  25. Paulo says:

    Great review Hawk, thanks.

    These are some pretty looking irons, a big step up from the Machspeeds in my opinion.

    I’d have thought that some may struggle with accuracy with these Dynalite shafts, as I certainly did when trying them out. In saying that, my accuracy only really suffered when I wasn’t putting a smooth, controlled swing on it. They do respond well to a smooth swing.

  26. Thechosen1 says:

    Thank you for the review. Very big line at the top but man those faces look pretty these aren’t on my radar but I’m certain we’ll see these in some THP bags

  27. royalwulff says:

    Great review there Hawk! These seem to be a great replacement for the Machspeeds.

  28. ghsace says:

    Wonderful review Hawk! Very thick top line, but absolutely gorgeous.

  29. Mattykrack says:

    A little bigger then I like. But great write up as always. Nike has come a long way in a short time. Last couple years their clubs have been top notch

  30. Sean says:

    Well done Hawk. These look like they could give the RBZ’s a run for their money. Very similar demographic…and the design seems similar as well.

  31. ripper says:

    Good review Hawk, hitting long and high sounds great to me. I agree with you, they do look good!

  32. Hanks says:

    solid write up man. I like Nike building upon the older Machspeed chassis which was popular with a lot of golfers.

  33. pkielwa says:

    Face, top-line, thickness make me think Diablo Edge…

  34. clamfist says:

    For some reason, I have never been a fan of Nike clubs. These irons may change my mind. I like hitting the ball high!

  35. Rich ertel says:

    I think these clubs are really underated. The heads are made out of am355 stainless steel which produce more trampolene affect and are are more costly than conventional 17-4 stainless steel irons. I just got a set and I love them.

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