Is there a hotter player on the planet than Rory McIlroy? After winning the WGC-Cadillac Match Play, the World No. 1 followed up two weeks later with a romp at the Wells Fargo Championship. How’d he do it? With a little help from his Nike Vapor Pro driver (Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board S+ 70 TX, 8.5°). Before we make the turn and look towards the U.S. Open, let’s review the big dog in Rory’s bag. I hope you’ve been enjoying this ongoing series where I compile the best product reviews and put them into one place to make it easy for everyone to find. – Matt
Club Name: Vapor Pro Driver
Category: Better-Player Driver
Price Point: $399
Specs: FlexLoft: 8.5˚-12.5˚ (FlexLoft 2 technology offers 15 different launch options)
From Nike: With a pear-shaped head, preferred by Rory McIlroy, the Nike Vapor Pro driver utilizes a Covert Cavity Back, Compression Channel and NexCOR face to unleash explosive distance and tour level launch for piercing trajectory.
“This is a driver that I’ve actually been using and practicing with since June. I wouldn’t be putting it in the bag if I didn’t feel it was better. But I think everyone saw yesterday [Ryder Cup], it was the only driver I had out there in the bag.” – Rory McIlroy, September 2014.
The FlyBeam construction stiffens the Covert Cavity in the back of the club, while the Compression Channel, with variable compliance, accentuates the spring-like effect across the face. Cohesively, the two work together to focus, store, and return impact energy to the golf ball for shots struck at all points on the face.
Purchase your version of the Nike Vapor Pro driver or find a fitting center by visiting the Nike Golf website.
Follow Nike Golf on Twitter @NikeGolf.
1. Golf Digest: Gold Rating. Nike’s strategy here seems counterintuitive: Stiffen the clubhead to make it more flexible. How is stiffer more flexible? The theory is, if you stabilize the rear half of the club, the front — especially the face — can flex more. Nike does this by changing the cavity in the sole. It now has parallel beams designed to concentrate the flexing to the front of the club without losing energy in the rear. Benefiting from that structure is the channel in the front of the sole. Running the width of the club, it varies slightly in dimension so your off-center strikes are less awful. The Speed version’s larger shape is friendlier for most golfers. (Rory and Tiger use versions of the Pro and Speed, respectively.) Both models let you position any of its five lofts in neutral, closed or open.
2. Golf Magazine: Just Ok. FEEL: Its strongest category; an impressive, substantial sensation— meets the ball with a home-run thwack; plenty of information reaches the hands; to some, class-leading stability and balance. CONS: A driver that’s not suited for players who might struggle to get or keep the ball in the air—shots stay down unless you provide the oomph; some guys find it difficult to turn the ball over; the Day-Glo green accents catch your eye but aren’t for everyone.
3. My Golf Spy: Like It. The Pro, had that nice, crisp snapping sound. Not distracting at all. Spin came down to under 3000 RPM, ball flight was lower and swing speed was up to nearly 99 MPH. Ball speed increased and carry distance jumped to 250 – a 9-yard increase. The Pro was more consistent and forgiving than the Nike Vapor Flex.
4. Rick Shiels: Like It.
5. Golf A Lot: 5 Stars out of 5. Overall I think Nike has down an excellent job with the Vapor driver range. Now that the Covert Cavity combines with the Compression Channel, I think it adds to every aspect of the club more than it did before on its own. The Vapor Pro I feel has a wider appeal than I initially thought when I first saw it on paper. As always it is key to visit a fitting centre to try out all the variations and see which model in which settings suits your game best.
6. Mitchell Spearman: Love It.
7. Hacker’s Paradise: Like It. Where performance is concerned, Nike has begun to turn a corner into producing a more well-rounded metalwood design while keeping that Covert Cavity Back look that is so easily recognizable by so many as “being” Nike. The Vapor Pro in particular provides that middle ground head in a lineup with ambitions of having something to fit everyone. Naturally, at lower spin and more of a low-mid launcher, it will fit a more finite section of golfers, but it does fit one different than its brethren the Vapor Flex and Vapor Speed.