Nike Vapor Fly Irons Review (2016)
This is a comprehensive review of the Nike Vapor Fly game-improvement iron set, part of the Vapor family of irons which includes the Vapor Fly Pro and Pro models. Labelled “Fly High. Fly Long.” by Nike, the Vapor Fly iron delivers a forgiving high launch and has a thicker head profile designed to inspire confidence at address.
How does this model hold on when put to the test? Is it a worthy game-improvement offering for higher handicaps? Is it worth the buy? Read on to find out what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
What are the reviews like?
The Vapor Fly irons have been viewed positively on the whole, with a rating of 5/5 on Golfsmith, an average customer score of 5/5 on Rock Bottom Golf and several 4-star ratings from professional reviewers.
It has been praised for its high launch more than anything; it also gets points for great mis-hit forgiveness, good accuracy and a nice game-improvement look behind the ball. It has, however, received its fair share of criticism for a hit-and-miss feel and only marginally better forgiveness than the Vapor Fly Pro among other things.
What are the features?
The Vapor Fly irons pretty much have the same features and technologies as the Vapor Fly Pro, which I cover in the features section of my full Vapor Fly Pro review here.
The differences mostly lie in the head design and distribution of the hollow cavities, RZN pockets, etc throughout the set. For one, the Vapor Fly is built as a game-improvement iron with a thick top line, wide sole and enhanced offset (discussed in the appropriate section below). In addition, the long and mid irons (4, 5, 6, 7) have a forgiving hollow cavity, the short irons (8, 9, PW) have an RZN pocket for improved stability and feel, and the approach wedge has a cavity for maximum workability.
The Vapor Fly iron also has different stock shafts and grips. The available stock shafts are the True Temper ZT 85 (steel) and UST Mamiya Recoil 460 (graphite), while the available stock grips are the Golf Pride Z-Grip Blue/Volt and women’s Golf Pride Z-Grip Blue/Volt Undersize. Full information on these options can be found on the official Nike listing. The specs of the pre-built Vapor Fly iron are tabulated below:
|Name||Loft||Length (men / women)||Bounce||Lie Angle||Offset||Swing Weight (men / women)|
|4||21°||39.25" / 38.25"||3°||60°||4.6mm||D1 / D0.5 / C5|
|5||24°||38.75" / 37.75"||4°||61°||4.2mm||D1 / D0.5 / C5|
|6||28°||38.25" / 37.25"||5°||62°||3.9mm||D1 / D0.5 / C5|
|7||32°||37.75" / 36.75"||6°||62.5°||3.5mm||D1 / D0.5 / C5|
|8||36°||37.25" / 36.25"||7°||63°||3.2mm||D1 / D0.5 / C5|
|9||40°||36.75" / 35.75"||8°||63.5°||2.8mm||D1 / D0.5 / C5|
|PW||44°||36.5" / 35.5"||9°||64°||2.5mm||D1 / D0.5 / C5|
|AW||49°||36.25" / 35.25"||8.5°||64°||1.9mm||D1 / D0.5 / C5|
|SW||54°||36" / 35"||7.5°||64°||1.6mm||D4 / D3 / C7|
How do these irons perform?
Distance/Distance Control: I found these irons to be definitively longer on average than the Vapor Fly Pros, particularly with the long irons, but then again the high launch does tend to work to my advantage. All in all they’re decently long, but I have certainly played longer. Strong swingers who naturally hit it high may not realize much distance gain if any at all. Nonetheless, the Vapor Fly has good distance control with a tight distribution.
Forgiveness: The Vapor Fly irons do a great job of minimizing the damage from off-center strikes, including fats and thins. Mis-hits retain plenty of ball speed and often times keep you in play in the fairway or on the green. These irons are quite a bit more forgiving than the Vapor Fly Pros, and on an absolute scale can they can compete with many of the most forgiving iron models out there.
Ball Flight/Playability: The Vapor Fly is very playable and also very reliable. Usual ball flights are high and straight, and this is preserved over much of the clubface aside from just the sweet spot. Workability is limited, but this is okay because if you want workability you should be looking at the Vapor Fly Pro anyway. The excellent playability translates to being able to get the ball up in the air from a wide range of lies. The sole of the shorter irons is very playable from within 100 yards. The takeaway here is that the Vapor Fly is typically best for getting over trouble rather than around it.
What about look, sound and feel?
Look: The Vapor Fly iron has a pretty standard game-improvement look — a good amount of mass behind the clubface with a thick top line, substantial offset and a wide sole. Confidence-inspiring, no doubt. Just like the rest of the Vapor family, Nike kept the visuals on the back simple; in the case of the Vapor Fly iron you have a large yellow swoosh, white labeling on the hosel and a blue-lined depression behind the Flybeam.
Sound and Feel: As expected, the hollow-cavity long and mid irons irons tend to sound a bit metallic and hollow while the short irons and wedges (with the RZN pocket) sound more solid. In terms of feel, the hollow cavity irons feel hollow yet very explosive, especially when you make contact with the sweet spot. The short irons feel more “snappy” and solid, with less explosiveness and more “springiness”. Mis-hits feel reasonably similar to solid strikes, but there’s generally enough of a distinction there to isolate where you make contact with the face. Impact sound can get a bit funky with certain fat shots and other sloppy shots, but don’t be alarmed by this as the result is usually much better than you might expect initially. I have no real complaints about the sound and feel, which isn’t really anything that out of the ordinary for a game-improvement iron; in fact, I think this is one of the best feeling irons when you hit the middle of the face.
Where should I buy these irons online?
It’s difficult to find prices lower than the price set by the manufacturer for Vapor Fly irons given their newness. At the present time, brand new sets are being sold on Amazon here at a much cheaper price than the Nike Store and other golf retailers. Prices can change, of course, and for that reason I would also recommend also checking for potential discounts on this eBay page (used irons sold at even better prices) and Global Golf here.
Rating: 4.5/5 (Great)
Pros: Great distance; great forgiveness; inspires confidence at address; allows low hitters to get good height on their shots for better carry, softer landings and more distance; dependable with good distance control
Cons: Not as forgiving as some were hoping for given the classification and head size; not everyone is a fan of the look; high launch trait doesn’t tend to suit natural high hitters
Best suited for: Mid to high handicappers, natural low hitters and fans of the Nike brand.
Best places to buy online: Please see the buying section with links directly above.
The Nike Vapor Fly is a solid, modern take on the game-improvement iron that can be a tremendous success for someone who falls in the right category. It’s an iron that you really need to try to know if it’s right for you, but if you’re a senior, high handicap or slow swinger, chances are it will be.