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|Nike Golf's VR Forged Dual Wide Grind creates extra forgiveness and flexibility around the greens. (Courtesy of Nike Golf)|
Nike Golf has collected an eclectic stable of staff players on professional tours all over the world, including, of course, Nike's two highest-profile endorsees: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.
The new VR Forged wedges by Nike Golf draw inspiration for a variety of sole grinds from three of these players, Woods, Paul Casey, and Francesco Molinari.
The VR Forged Standard Grind ($129, Loft/Bounce Options: 48/10; 50/10; 52/10; 54/12; 56/14; 58/10; 60/10) is the one preferred by Tiger Woods, who likes to carry multiple wedges that differ mainly by loft. The company calls this grind "the most versatile profile for all conditions."
The VR Forged Dual Narrow Grind (($129, Loft/Bounce Options: 56/16; 58/14; 60/1) is preferred by Paul Casey, who likes to carry fewer wedges and create more shots by manipulating the face angle himself. This wedge has a very narrow sole and extreme heel relief, for when you need to open the face more.
The VR Forged Dual Wide Grind ($129, Loft/Bounce Options: 56/8; 60/6) was developed in conjunction with European Tour player Francesco Molinari, and is optimized for wet conditions. According to Nike Golf, it's "the easiest of the three grinds from any location around the green" and is best for getting the ball high up into the air fast.
I took a Standard Grind 52/10 and 56/14 along with a Dual Wide Grind 60/6, both in black oxide finish (tour satin is also available) out to Lake of the Woods Golf Course to test them out from fairways and bunkers in both wet and dry conditions.
What struck me most was the palpable difference between the two grinds as the leading edge of the clubface entered turf and sand.
The Standard Grind wedged nipped the ball crisply and then sliced divots out of the fairway. In the bunkers, the bounce of the 56-degree wedge kept it from digging in, but there was no question that when I hit slightly behind either Standard Grind wedge, it would dig a bit and not carom out. In other words, these wedges are especially excellent in firm, dry conditions, and with precise ball-striking. When I hit a bad shot with them, it was a fat shot.
The Dual Wide Grind on the 60-degree creates a sort of "double-bounce," which works against any sort of digging-in effect. Of course, this makes it susceptible to bouncing off hard turf or tight lies and, consequently, thin shots. Nevertheless, I found it outstanding for hitting flop shots around the greens and full shots from 100 yards and in. In fact, despite the lower bounce, the extra grind on the leading edge proved effective from greenside bunkers as well, in both dry and wet sand.
No matter which sole grind you choose, all VR Forged Wedges feature Nike Golf's high-frequency X3X grooves with a precision laser crosshatch pattern that is applied to the "high" area between the grooves. According to Nike, this pattern adds three times the surface texture versus conventionally finished faces, creating more spin in all conditions.
This groove configuration clearly worked for me when I blasted my first shot out of a greenside bunker with the 56-degree and stopped the ball a foot from the hole. "I guess you like that one!" said one of my playing partners.
He was right.
For more information, visit www.nikegolf.com.
August 14, 2013
Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.
Cleveland Golf recently introduced the RTX-3 wedges, continuing a tradition that includes more than 350 worldwide professional tournament wins. Kiel Christianson has been testing the clubs on his home course.
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