This is a comprehensive review of the Nike Vapor Fly game-improvement iron, 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 (now Golf Galaxy), 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.
What People Like
- high launch
- great mis-hit forgiveness
- good accuracy
- a nice game-improvement look behind the ball
What People Don’t Like
- the feel is hit-and-miss
- only marginally better forgiveness than the Vapor Fly Pro
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.
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 relevant 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 could once be found on the official Nike listing, but Nike has since exited the hard goods business.
The specs of the rack 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?
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.
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, they can compete with many of the most forgiving iron models out there.
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 & feel?
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.
The Sound & 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.
The 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?
Because of the age of the Vapor Fly, and also because Nike stopped making golf clubs, it can be quite difficult to find these irons.
A couple years ago, brand new sets were being sold on Amazon at a much cheaper price than the Nike Store and other golf retailers.
Now, the best place to get Nike Vapor Fly irons at very cheap prices is definitely eBay. If you look through the listings, you should find something that you like.
Rating: 4.5/5 (Great)
- 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
- 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.
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.
Have you played the Vapor Fly irons, or do you want to try them? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.