First Hit: We test the new Nike Vapor woods and ironsOctober, 2014 News & Tour
We have been testing the new gear at the new Performance Fitting Centre at Archerfield
Volt. That’s what Nike call the highly visible colour that dominates their new Vapor range of drivers, fairways, hybrids and irons. I’d say it was yellow. Very yellow. Maybe even electric yellow.
Either way, it’s fair to say that Nike like to make a splash when they introduce a new product.
You’re going to see a lot of Vapor next season, and no doubt you will have noticed when Rory McIlroy put the driver into play at the Ryder Cup. (I have heard it suggested that the World No 1 only did so under pressure from his sponsors, which is rubbish. If you think he’d change from a driver that had just won him two Majors without being pretty sure the new one was better then let me assure you that is not the case.)
Rory is using the Vapor Pro, which is one of three drivers (all adjustable) in the range.
The most popular model, with the widest appeal, will be the Vapor Speed. Ultra-forgiving, this is a high-launching driver that delivers low spin.
Rory’s Vapor Pro will launch lower and also deliver low spin.
While the exciting Vapor Flex model offers maximum adjustability thanks to the FlightPod.
This is a tube of RZN (the lightweight rubber that Nike use in their golf balls) with a high-density weight in one end. It slots into the frame of the driver and can be removed using the same wrench that removes the head from the shaft.
"Rory is using the Nike Vapor Pro, which is one of three drivers (all adjustable) in the range."
Spin it round and replace it to change the spin characteristics to suit your needs.
Callaway’s Big Bertha Alpha drivers use a similar device – which they call a Gravity Core – but with a key difference. Theirs works on a vertical plane where Nike’s FlightPod operates on a horizontal basis.
Nike’s engineers believe it achieves the same benefit of lowering spin without compromising on other elements of performance, including forgiveness.
In contrast to the Covert woods they succeed, the Vapors all have a black crown (albeit with a Volt Swoosh).
They feel great and it’s apparent that there will be a driver to suit all swing speeds, playing abilities and preferences.
The Pro and Flex models come with a genuine Diamana Whiteboard as standard, with the Blueboard also available without an upcharge.
The latter are designed for high launch and maximum playability.
Nike have also developed and simplified their irons range for 2015.
Perhaps most impressive in terms of technology is the former, where Nike have brought genuine innovation to the blades category by moving the sweetspot to within 1mm of the centre of the face.
Previously, it has always been towards the heel. Rest assured, they look as good as they should.
The Pro Combos have long been, to my eyes at least, consistently Nike’s most impressive irons. The latest version are the most forgiving to date while retaining great feel thanks to a two-piece forging and a RZN insert that sits in the cavity.
Finally, the Speed irons are actually hollow structures that use metal-wood technology to offer great forgiveness and some very high ball speeds.
Yes, the lofts are strong, but you can safely rely on some outrageous distance gains from these power-packed irons.
So, that’s three drivers (Speed, Pro and Flex), two fairway woods (Speed and Flex), two hybrids (Speed and Flex) and three sets of irons (Pro, Pro Combo and Speed). All of it packed with exciting and genuine technical innovation.
We’ve had to wait a long time for these drivers to hit the market but trust me – they are worth the wait.
Nike Vapor woods and irons