In creating its new VR Pro Combo irons, Nike designers found that the best players on its staff had something in common. Through Doppler radar and launch monitors, they found that the apex of flight on the iron shots of those players were largely the same – about 30 yards in the air – regardless of whether it is a pitching wedge or a 4-iron.
You might think that a wedge shot would launch higher than a 4-iron, but because the wedge flight path is closer to you than a mid-iron, it’s an optical illusion.
But the data also found that the launch tapers off in height with the long irons – starting at the 3-iron. That’s when Nike launched into the design of the VR Pro Combo. The company had already built its popular Pro Combo irons several years ago that combined easier-to-hit cavity backs in the longer irons and blades in the short irons.
And with the Victory Red series, Nike offered full cavity, split cavity and blades in that product line. Some players on Nike’s staff were combining the split cavity in the longer irons and blades in the short irons, so it was a natural to just make it official.
The VR Pro Combo irons feature what the company calls Pocket Cavity in the 3- and 4-irons, Split Cavity in the 5-iron through the 7-iron and blades in the 8-iron through pitching wedge.
The Pocket Cavity long irons have a lower center of gravity, making it easier to get the ball into the air. The COG progressively moves up through the set with the highest COG in the short irons, giving the player the opportunity to take a lower trajectory, all the while giving the player the look of blades at the address position throughout the set.
“About a year ago, we sat down with Paul Casey and he had built a similar set with the existing Victory Red product line,” said Tony Dabbs, product line manager for golf clubs for Nike. “He’s one of the best ball-strikers on Tour and it really doesn’t matter to him if he has a blade or a perimeter-weighted club when he’s on the range or has a good flat lie on the golf course.
“But he told us if he has an uneven lie or something out of the ordinary with the longer clubs, he wants that extra forgiveness to ensure that he hits a good shot.”
The forging process that Nike uses enhances the groove configuration that the company calls X3X. There are more grooves on the faces of the irons and they are deeper and closer together than previous Nike offerings but conform to the Rules of Golf.
The irons will be available starting Nov. 26 and will be offered in 3-PW configurations, both right- and left-handed. The shaft offering is True Temper Dynamic Gold in regular, stiff and extra-stiff flexes.