Nike's R&D team was given an important assignment: Help Rory McIlroy drive it even farther. Mission accomplished.
His new gamer, the Vapor Fly Pro, bought him an extra 3 mph of ball speed, which could mean a double-digit distance gain. McIlroy's not the only one who can benefit from Nike's up-tempo designs. The company has tailored its technologies to fit two additional drivers, plus a full complement of fairway woods and hybrids (in stores January 29). This year, Vapor is lighter across the board, with slimmer crowns and livelier faces to help your shots "Fly."
Vapor Fly Driver
Shaving 30 percent off the crown weight from last year's Vapor Speed driver let Nike's engineers shift five grams from the top of the head to the low perimeter. From there, the new, lower CG promotes higher-launching shots and greater carry for everyday players. Plus, the club's updated sole construction -- the reinforced back is a lot stiffer than the flexible compression channel near the face -- contributes to faster ball speeds. That's because the walls of the updated channel are 25 percent thinner, which helps shots struck low on the face carry more like sweetspot strikes. The edges of the face are 0.3 mm thinner, too, making it more responsive on off-center hits. Compared with its predecessor, the draw-bias Vapor Fly generates an extra 1 mph on center strikes, 0.5 mph low on the face and 0.9 mph off the toe. Vapor Fly maintains Nike's familiar cavity-back design to boost head stability, and it also uses the same adjustable hosel as Vapor Speed. The system allows you to tune in loft (8.5° to 12.5°) and face angle for directional changes.
Vapor Fly Pro Driver
Rory's new 460 cc gamer has many of the same design features as Vapor Fly, right down to the lightweight crown, updated compression channel, reinforced cavity and adjustable-loft system. But this is a more compact package, with a lower natural flight and slightly less spin. The pear-shaped head also has a neutral shot bias. There's also a third driver, the Vapor Flex 440 ($500), set to come out in early March. It's built for stronger players who'd benefit from a very low-spin offering.
Vapor Fly Fairway Woods
With the Vapor Fly, you can swing the same club on Sunday mornings that Nike's Tour staff swings on Sunday afternoons. How does it keep players of all levels happy? By slimming down. A thinner, lighter stainless steel crown than the one found in last year's Vapor Flex and Vapor Speed woods helps to drop the CG, which leads to higher-launching shots. The channel along the sole is 25 percent thinner, too, adding flexibility for faster ball speeds. And Nike's slimmer "FlexLoft" adjustable hosel can change loft by a degree stronger or weaker at either standard or upright lie angles. Lofts include 13° (3+), 15° (3), 17° (3HL), 19° (5) and 21° (7).
Vapor Fly Hybrids
Dropping three grams off the crown leads to a lower CG and higher-flying shots. As with its big brothers, the stainless steel head utilizes an updated channel to improve contact on thin shots, but unlike those clubs, it doesn't offer an adjustable hosel. Comes in 17°, 20°, 23° and 26° lofts.