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This is a review of the Nike Vapor Pro driver, sister to the Nike Vapor Speed and Nike Vapor Flex in the Vapor family of drivers and preferred by the likes of Rory McIlroy.
The Vapor Pro driver features some key technologies that allow for reduced spin and a piercing trajectory among other things.
It is considered by many to be a better-player driver. How is its performance? What are its weaknesses?
Read on to find out what you need to know about the Nike Vapor Pro driver to make an informed purchase.
What are the reviews like?
The Vapor Pro is generally a very highly rated driver, but it’s not necessarily for everyone. It has 5-star ratings on Global Golf, the Dick’s Sporting Goods website, and the official Nike website, and has also been received extremely well by professional reviewers.
What People Like
Many people have reported a huge gain in distance with the Vapor Pro (10-30 yards), particularly those with stronger/faster swings who could benefit from less spin.
People also love the ball flight (penetrating and non-ballooning), decent forgiveness, solid look, and amazing quality feel and feedback.
What People Don’t Like
As mentioned above, this driver is likely not the best choice for everyone.
Those with slower swings speed may have trouble getting the ball up in the air. Some also have some trouble turning the ball over with the driver.
Overview & Features
One of the defining characteristics of the Vapor Pro driver is the low and forward center of gravity (CG), which produces a “tour-like” result — a lower spin rate and a slightly lower trajectory.
Other features include:
- a pear-shaped 460cc head (discussed in more detail later in the review)
- a “Covert Cavity Back” design that spreads weight out toward the heel and toe for increased moment of inertia (MOI) and thus more forgiveness
- a “FlexLoft 2” adjustable hosel that allows for loft adjustment over the range of 8.5° to 12.5° in increments of 1° (5 settings); for each loft setting, the face angle can be adjusted to three settings left or right (-1.5°, neutral, 1.5°), resulting in a total of 15 possible loft and face angle configurations
- a “NexCOR” face, “Compression Channel” and “FlyBeam” structure and that all work together to stabilize the chassis and increase ball speeds
According to Nike, the stock graphite shaft offered, the Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Blue Board 60, offers “explosive distance and control”.
The stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Wrap 2G.
Note that the head of the Vapor Pro can be swapped with the Nike shafts of previous drivers like the Covert VRS 2.0.
For those interested, below are some of the key specifications of the driver and stock shaft. Full specs can be found on the official Nike website.
|Vapor Pro Driver||Right/Left||8.5° - 12.5° (adjustable in increments of 1°)||45.50"||60°||D3|
MRC Diamana S+ Blue Board 60 Shaft Specifications
How does the driver perform?
It has been shown that the Vapor Pro driver retains more ball speed on mis-hits (by at least 3 miles per hour) than drivers like the VRS Covert 2.0 Tour.
More specifically, ball speed retention appears to be the best high on the face, the worst low on the face, and surprisingly good laterally (towards the heel or toe).
Solid and sufficiently fast sweet-spot strikes can potentially go huge distances (often a 20+ yard advantage over your run-of-the-mill driver).
In general, distance results will likely be phenomenal for strong swingers who would otherwise have a high spin rate. Due to the low-spin attribute of the driver, slower swingers or low spinners may struggle to get decent distance.
In terms of shot dispersion, mis-hits maintain a reasonable line and sidespin is minimized reasonably well.
Strikes high on the face and low on the face will naturally tend to result in higher and lower trajectories, respectively.
Overall, the Vapor Pro offers good forgiveness — better than the drivers in the Covert line — but arguably not as much as you would find in a max game-improvement driver like the Callaway XR.
The Vapor Pro driver tends to have spin and launch rates that lie between the other drivers in the Vapor lineup, the Speed and Flex.
Shots struck well and with sufficient speed have a mid-range penetrating trajectory with a lot of rollout, which is a recipe for maximum distance. In contrast, weaker/slower swings or certain mis-hits will produce lower trajectories — sometimes too low for a respectable result.
Workability is very good. Skilled players will be able to shape fades and draws with relative ease.
What about look, sound & feel?
The pear-shaped head features the color “Volt” on the cavity and in the Nike swoosh on the crown of the Vapor Pro.
Although the clubhead is 460cc, it manages to look quite slim and compact compared to some of the clunky-looking game-improvement drivers on the market.
The two silver FlyBeams not only enhance the entire look, but also serve to strengthen and stabilize the cavity.
The clubface has a black satin-brushed finish, and a glossy black finish covers the crown.
It’s not a look that’s for everyone, and those who want something more confidence-inspiring may be a bit disappointed.
The Sound & Feel
One of the areas where the Vapor Pro driver shines is in the sound and feel department.
Both are very solid; there is no echoing or metallic sound, and solid strikes feel immensely satisfying. The club overall feels very stable and balanced throughout the swing.
Mis-hit feedback is great; you definitely get enough information to be able to tell where you made contact with the face. This isn’t surprising considering the Vapor Pro is a tour-calibre driver.
The stock grip generally feels very soft and comfortable, but apparently doesn’t do as well in humid climates, so watch out for that.
Where should you buy this driver online?
Because of the age of the Vapor Pro, and also because Nike got out of the hard goods business, it can be quite difficult to find this driver.
Global Golf used to have a good selection of these drivers in different conditions, but they are currently out of stock.
Now, the best place to get the Nike Vapor Pro driver at a discounted price is definitely eBay. If you look through the listings, you should find something that you like.
- quality solid sound and feel
- premium construction
- long and piercing ball flight
- very respectable forgiveness
- very workable/shapable
- head is compact and addresses the ball well
- slow swingers/low flyers/higher handicappers may struggle to get a high enough trajectory
- some find it difficult to turn the ball over
- bold look isn’t for everyone
The Nike Vapor Pro driver is a terrific driver, most ideal for skilled golfers with a faster swing speed who could stand to gain more distance through a lower spin rate (and hence a lower trajectory).
Mid to high handicappers can certainly find success with this driver, but they might be better off with the more amateur-friendly Vapor Speed.
Have you tried the Vapor Pro driver? What are your thoughts on it? Feel free to leave a comment below.