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When the USGA set limits on coefficient of restitution (COR or “spring-like effect”) that a club can produce, they though they had drawn a line in the sand for how efficiently a driver could transfer energy to the ball. And for a long time they had. That is, until Nike Golf engineered the new Victory Red STR8 Fit Tour Driver ($399). While the club’s face is USGA compliant, Nike Golf has found a way to enlist the entire club head to increase compression and thus increase ball speeds.

Hit the jump to see how they did it.

ishot-1Nike engineers at The Oven knew the club face was maxed out, but refused to concede that you couldn’t increase compression and improve energy transfer. Their solution? A seam running along the underside that allows the club head itself to compress. Not surprisingly they called it the Compression Channel. At impact the VR STR8 Fit Tour Driver combines both club face and club head compression to produce increased, uniform ball speed across the entire face. After our swings, we concur that the club is hot. Even as we watched drives climb into the frosty air over a partially frozen Hudson River, it was clear they flew with purpose; with authority. If the VR STR8 Fit Tour can do this in sub-40 degree temps, just imagine it’s potential during the summer season.

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ishot-2Nike Golf has also improved their STR8 Fit technology giving golfers 32 club angle setting to choose from. Adjustable shafts aren’t new, but one with 32 options is staggering. Meaning that no matter how unique your swing is, you should be able to find a setting that you like. Don’t misunderstand me, a bad swing will yield a bad result. But the STR8 Fit technology can at least help iron out some of the minor kinks or at least let you play your natural ball flight with more confidence. It easily handled my fade and Eric’s monster draw with a few simple wrench turns. We won’t profess to have noticed the differences between all of the setting, but each of us found one that just felt right. Which was fine by us.

On the aesthetics front, this club is as sweet looking as a new sports car. Sleek, elegant and visibly powerful. When we first saw it, albeit in a conference room, we fell in love with the design immediately. While square and elongated heads are more accepted now, we have never loft our affinity for the traditional. This is the first Nike golf club that I have been visually drawn to. Split into perfect balance are the traditional lines and shape from overhead, blended seamlessly with cutting edge technology underneath. Truly a well designed, well though out styling. We’re eager to see what the upcoming season holds, both for Nike Golf and our rounds with the VR STR8 Fit Tour Driver.

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Buy Now: $399