Every year, golf companies compete to bring that one piece of equipment that will set the bar higher. Changes in technology are happening so fast that sometimes it seems some companies even go into competition against their own products. One year, speed is king, the next; perhaps spin. Nike understands these changes. They also understand that there are various philosophies to hitting the big stick. Such that, in the same way golf balls are popularly fitted to your swing characteristics, a single golf company can bring you various options from a single line of products. I’m speaking of the Nike Vapor Driver line.
There are three basic types of players. There are bombers – distance is what they live for. There are those who want to take all the help they can get from technology and be able to play above their own skill level, whether it’s searching for forgiveness or just sending the ball up in the air. Lastly, there are the die hard golf fanatics, one step above the weekend warrior, the self proclaimed “Player”. These players are not just looking to play what the pros play, but understand the value of having absolute control over the golf tee. This is where the Nike Vapor Pro Driver becomes the ringer.
Before I keep going, let’s set the record straight. This is not a club which can be played by just anyone and I have always advocated that the biggest deciding factor of any purchase is if it works better for you. With that being said though; I truly believe that playing this driver can help you become a better striker of the ball and I will tell you why.
There’s not much to say about looks really… it’s that pretty that I’m left speechless! Nike went with Black and “Volt” yellow undercarriage. It can only be explained with the following words: Classy, bold, sporty and sleek. It has just the right amount of wrong to provoke a star-struck stare. Finished in a glossy black finish with a satin brushed-finished blackened face, the driver looks gorgeous. My only wish is that it would stay looking new a bit longer. Chrome sole plates are easier to clean, so make sure you don’t get dirt on it or it is bye bye to the finish. The head is a pear-shape design that, although is 460cc, it does appear more compact. I was personally getting a bit tired of huge looking driver heads and now prefer this shape over a round head 100%. If you’re a player who likes to stand out, you will find that it is very hard for other people to ignore the look of this club.
The Vapor Pro Driver features a D3 swing-weight; sitting in the middle of the road. It feels light over all, but you can definitely feel where the head is at all times. The driver tends to sit a bit toe up, which may help give it a slight draw bias, without having a shut face look. Have I mentioned solid?! Yes, my friends. If you are looking for a driver to wake up your senses, you have found it. This is not that mushy feeling muted face. This driver is loud and proud. When you catch a good one, it feels like you’re ripping the cover off the ball followed by a sound similar to splitting concrete with a jack hammer in one blow. This particular driver I tested featured the good all-around Diamana S+ Blueboard 60 shaft; a mid flight shaft. The grip is a golf pride 2G Wrap. It is soft, tacky and very comfortable. What you feel is what you get. I played a couple rounds well after sunset with this driver. Although it was getting hard to see, I got lots of feedback and could feel if I hit a low or high shot, straight, left or ever right. Overall, this driver feels great. Mishits will announce themselves with plenty of face twisting and flopping around, though, the results won’t be as bad as they feel. Think of it as a reminder that you should practice more or focus more.
Solid and Pure are the best words to describe this driver. There is a lot of terminology out there that no one really takes the time to explain why something works. I did the homework for you guys to take away the mystery, so that you too know what you’re talking about if someone asks.
From the design to how the weight is distributed throughout the head of the club, every aspect of the structure has a purpose. Nike used a common sense approach where every component ties in perfectly. Truly a work of art and science.
It starts with the cavity design, which takes weight away to distribute it closer to the face of the club, promoting more direct contact with the sweet spot of the club. My findings were that something as simple as that actually helps take away a lot of the unnecessary spin and excessive launch angle. My shot trajectory with this club was mid to low piercing flight. Ballooning is kept to a minimal.
This cavity design was previously used on Covert models, except that Nike now added “FlyBeam” technology which is the support running along the cavity. This actually stiffens the shell of the club head, and this added rigidity is what helps reduce the twisting of the face from off center hits and makes the driver feel very solid. One factor contributing to how solid this driver feels is the “NexCOR” face. The face of the club is engineered to have different thicknesses in the center and around the perimeter. In this case, the face is thicker in the center of the face and thinner around the toe and heel of the club. This gives you that pure strike off the sweet spot and some spring off the toe and heel to compensate for loss of ball speed. I found that strikes off the toe or heel did not lose much in direction, but definitely felt deflective and had a noticeable loss of ball speed that led to shots not holding up in the air. THE driver works best if you can nail it right in the middle of the face. Don’t expect it to work magic. Needless to say, it does serve as great feedback to start working on certain bad habits you may have in your swing.
Ahh.. Another great feature is the “Compression Channel”, a design that is popular in the Titleist 915 drivers. The purpose behind this is to allow the face to be flexible around the bottom leading edge. This is a helpful feature to increase the trampoline effect with hits low on the face. It also helps reduce gear affect from toe or heel shots. This is the reason I contribute shots holding their line a little better with off center hits compared to other drivers.
Overall, what we have here is a very stiff and rigid body with a flexible hot face where if you can hit the middle of the face, you will be in for a treat. Very easy to achieve a considerable amount of distance if struck correctly.
I did not see huge increase in distance on average, but a few times I was able to go deep 340+. I was pleased with the consistency and roll of my ball.
The driver is accurate enough to feel comfortable on short par 4s. The face is sensitive though, so you’ll need to have an understanding of hitting a draw, fade or a straight shot. Basically, if you know what you’re doing, it is as accurate as you can make it. If you want to bomb it, I wouldn’t say this is your best option, as there are other applications that are designed for the purpose of gaining distance. Don’t expect to gain 10+ yards immediately with this driver. I would recommend tinkering with it a little until you find the right flight to maximize your distance. There is some work that needs to be done on your part to get the best of the Vapor Pro. Don’t be discouraged though, as you will have a ton of fun finding the sweet spot in the process. You might even find out the secret you have been missing all this time.
My experience with this driver has been extremely pleasant. If you are a person who can play shapes and trajectories, you will love this driver. In this aspect, the Vapor is sure to outperform anything you throw at it. To get the most out of this club, I highly recommend fitting a shaft that you know well and that you feel comfortable with. It will give you the extra edge.
This driver is as pure as it can get. A pear-shape design with a smaller head is a tribute to the old persimmon clubs. You won’t be feeling like you’re swinging an over-sized softball bat, that’s for sure. I was pleased with strikes off the deck with the Vapor Pro. Extremely happy with the ability and ease to shape the trajectory of the ball; right, left, high and low. You can adjust loft and face 15 different ways and it’s easy to change. In my opinion, due to the characteristics of the club head, lower loft settings will enhance all the benefits that this driver can offer. This club is fairly easy to hit from a low tee as trajectory doesn’t drop all that much and increases your accuracy.
I was very happy with the performance of this club. I am surprised to not see it in more top pick lists. Most closely plays like the Titleist 915d except with a smaller head. Final thoughts:
-Very solid. Go deep or go home!
-Sitting roughly at around $400 market.
-Definite low handicap need.