Nike Vapor Pro Irons
Category: Better-Player Irons
Price: $1,000, steel
WE TESTED: 4–PW with True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shaft
KEY TECHNOLOGIES: More weight shifted toward the face produces a boring ball flight.
PLAYABILITY: Most playable iron tested, there’s no shot you can’t hit; shaping shots is easy—if you can’t work the ball with these, you can’t work the ball; the thin blades get down to any lie and are helpful in picking the ball off hardpan or bare spots.
ACCURACY/FORGIVENESS: The Vapor Pros are a lot like old-style blades, with just a touch of forgiveness; deadly accurate in the hands of the right player—they go exactly where you hit them; these are like surgical tools, letting highly skilled golfers dissect a course with ease.
DISTANCE CONTROL: No surprises here—predictable distances on full shots and on knockdowns; comparable to other irons when hit well; most panelists are able to control them in no time at all.
FEEL: Many guys haven’t felt a club like this in a long time—it reminds them of a classic forging on good strikes; well-balanced and easy to swing; pure contact feels amazing; just tears through the ball.
LOOK: The Vapor Pro is a pure-looking player’s stick with the thinnest topline, and clubhead, in the test; it has an old-school appearance; the brushed nickel finish is a nice touch; beautiful, no-nonsense blades—short irons are absolutely gorgeous.
The Vapor Pro isn’t for the faint of heart—off-center hits sting in the hands; probably the least forgiving iron in the test—the small sweet spot frustrates many players; typical misses are punished with distance loss and directional variance.
BOTTOM LINE: The Vapor Pro performs more like the forged blades of yesteryear than anything else in the test. Bring your “A” game and you’ll enjoy its wonderful, distinct feel and tons of versatility.
BUY THE CLUB: Get your own Nike Vapor Pro irons
NEXT REVIEW: Ping i25 Irons
MORE INFO ON THE NIKE VAPOR PRO IRONS
From Golf.com, September 2014
Tiger’s future iron, the Vapor Pro, is positioned as the replacement for the traditional blade. According to Rob Arluna, Nike Golf’s global golf club business director, the new iron was originally inspired by Tiger and further enhanced by some help from Rory.
“We made the Vapor Pro Blades feel and perform better with a technology advantage over the traditional blade,” says Arluna. “We then extended that innovation and design to Vapor Pro Combo and Vapor Speed irons.”
The main technological advantage provided by the Vapor Pro design is what Nike calls a “modern muscle,” a design that incorporates tungsten plugs that significantly improves the CG location of the club by moving it closer to the center of the clubface. Unlike traditional blade designs, which feature a CG that’s closer to the hosel, the Vapor Pro and its modern muscle design provide the best results when the ball is struck in the middle of the clubface, and produces much improved results on shot struck off-center.
According to Tiger himself, the new irons provide what he describes as a “heavier hit,” on the ball, and shots that hold their line more precisely, particularly in the wind.
“I hit three of four shots with the Vapor Pro,” said Tiger, “and I knew right away – they sound and feel more solid, more balanced and even more consistent than the tungsten loaded traditional blades I have played for years.”
Rory McIlroy, who will also most likely be switching to the new Vapor Pro irons, echoed Tiger’s sentiments regarding the new sticks.
“When I joined the Nike team, the VR Pro Blade irons were one of the easiest transitions in my bag. To improve my performance, my collaborations with the Oven team were based upon consistency and feel,” said Rory. “With the new Vapor Pro irons, they’ve worked to achieve that for me.”
Other features of the new Vapor Pro irons include a carbon steel forged construction, slightly longer blade length in the long irons with slightly more bounce for added forgiveness through the ground, precision-machined X3X grooves, minimal offset, and thin top lines. A low-glare satin chrome finish provides a classic look all traditionalists will appreciate. — Rob Sauerhaft
NEXT REVIEW: Ping i25 Irons