Know what driver Tiger Woods used in his return to competitive golf at The Masters this month? One of two Victory Red Premium clubs Nike Golf introduced in February.
Victory Red refers to Woods’ habit of wearing red shirts for his final rounds in tournaments, and the driver Tiger had in his bag at Augusta National was the VR Tour, with a loft of 9.5 degrees. Its companion model is the VR STR8-FIT Tour, and both are traditional-looking clubs designed to produce lower spin rates and more penetrating ball flights. The most important feature they share is the distinctive red Compression Channel, which is located on the sole and intended to increase the overall compression of the driver body, which then produces increased and uniform ball speeds across the face.
“Compression Channel technology takes the rigidity out of the sole and provides more flex in the heel,” says Tom Stites, director of club design at Nike Golf. “By adding this, we have made the VR drivers more forgiving for the better players when they miss it in the lower zone of the heel. And that is where better players usually miss it.”
The VR Tour employs a smaller, pear-shaped head than the VR STR8-FIT, to promote greater workability. It also boasts a longer hosel and has one glued head position, which means, of course, it cannot be adjusted.
Adjustment, however, is one of the primary benefits of the VR STR8-FIT, as it offers players the ability to select their shot shape and dial in the look of their driver at address by providing 32 different face angle positions through Nike’s Face Angle Technology.
While Tiger may have selected the VR Tour as his driver of choice, the VRSTR8-FIT also has its fans on Tour, among them is Italian Francesco Molinari. Ranked 41st in the world after his T30 finish at the Masters, Molinari won the Omega Mission Hills World Cup team event in China last December with his brother, Edoardo, the first time he put that driver in play, using one with 10.5 degrees of loft.