Nike Vapor Fly & Fly Pro Driver Review – With golf equipment launches you either get products that are a step change in design for that company or the industry, or they are enhancements of an existing model because the last one was so good.The Nike Vapor Fly drivers fit into the latter category, but that does not mean you should discount them as the improvements are subtle, but worth it.
Once again there are three models and I will review the Vapor Fly and Vapor Fly Pro here and the black soled Nike Vapor Flex 440 review is done separately.
Both the Vapor Fly models feature the same improvements in different ways, so I will start with the most obvious one first – the colour.
It’s not for the faint hearted and Nike is comfortable with this as they would prefer to stand out rather than blend in. I will give you a chance to guess the shades of blue and green.
If you correctly say Photo Blue and Volt then give yourself a Nike tick, but loud is probably what most people will call it. I quite like it and once you are over the ball then you really don’t notice it that much. It will be tying in with Nike’s wider corporate colours for the coming year so get used to them.
I just hope that it doesn’t stop people taking it off the shelf for a waggle in the first place as the black finish of the original Vapor range was classy, contemporary and less likely to be polarising.
Under the paint is a new FlightWeight crown that is 30% lighter than before because Nike has made the titanium thinner.
The lighter theme on the crown is continued through the honeycomb design on the crown that saves weight whilst maintaining strength.
The weight that is saved from here has been moved to the sole of the wider 4th generation Covert cavity where strengthened FlyBeams make the back of the head more rigid as well as lowering the Centre of Gravity (CG)
In typical Nike understated style the face has been upgraded to a ‘HyperFlight’ version thanks to the compression channel in the sole being 30% thinner to allow it to flex more.
The face perimeter is also 30% thinner to make it a little more bouncy and all this extra flexing combines with the more rigid rear of the club to increase ball speed as part of Nike’s Project Max plan for Rory.
The aim of Project Max is to maximise McIlroy’s, and everyone else’s, ball speed and using the above methods Nike say Rory saw an increase of 2-3 mph in ball speed from the new driver. Given his ball speed is now around 186mph, that is around a 1.5% increase, so at around 4 yards extra carry per mph then you can expect to gain a few yards on the previous Vapor model, all things being equal.
However the other things are not equal as the Vapor Fly heads launch the ball higher with less spin and the results are better on off centre hits. Factor all this in with the extra ball speed and your average golfer could expect to get another 5 to 10 yards if they are correctly fitted, as you can see from my results below.
There is a choice of shafts as standard including a new limited edition Mitsubishi Diamana Blue with Kevlar in the butt and Boron in the tip.
In addition there is also a new Mitsubishi Tensei shaft that feels really good and replaces the Fubuki, which is fine by me as I never really got on with that shaft anyway.
Each model comes in one head loft with the same FlexLoft 2.0 adjustable hosel that enables you to vary this through five lofts from 8.5° to 12.5° in 1° increments. Therefore the loft is sorted, so it is just picking the right head and here are the pros and cons of each.
Nike Vapor Fly Driver Review
The Vapor Fly driver is the successor to the Vapor Speed driver as you can tell by the chrome face and sole plate.
It also features the same 460cc head profile that is a more toe heavy with a deeper face than the Vapor Fly Pro.
As a result it launches the ball higher and actually spins a little less than the Pro version. Visually I probably prefer the chrome contrast to the Blue/Volt, even despite the swoosh on the inside of the head at address, when a small one as an alignment aid would probably be better.
Like the previous model the Vapor Fly felt light to swing, sounded really good and was pretty forgiving, so colour aside you will be pleased to hear that the Fly is at least every bit as good as the previous Speed.
But it’s not the one for me.
Nike Vapor Fly Pro Driver Review
OK cards on the table, I am less enthusiastic about the black and the blue/volt. I have grown up feeling black and blue generally do not go together and this has not changed my mind.
However you can disregard that because what you have to realise is that like last time, the correct Vapor Fly driver will choose you depending on how you deliver the club to the ball. Paint does not hit the ball further – the head does.
The Vapor Pro was my choice last time around and the Vapor Fly Pro is my choice again this time because the 460cc head is a little shorter and more rounded at address.
This gives it a more solid sound and feel at impact that just gives it the edge for me, not that the Vapor Fly is that far behind.
What is the clincher however is the numbers that I got when I went on the launch monitor at the Nike Performance Fitting Centre at Archerfield with both the old and the new drivers.
Last time round is was close, but the Vapor Pro edged it. This time taking past and present drivers to the tee, both the Vapor Fly drivers were 5-8 yards longer in carry than their predecessors from an average 101mph swing speed.
The carry for both the new drivers was almost the same with the Pro edging it by a yard or two. However looking at total distance the lower trajectory gave me a little more roll and it ended up 5 yards longer despite the average swing speed for the Pro driver being 1mph less, because the smash factor was the highest of the four models for me.
The considered opinion of the Nike fitter was that the Vapor Fly Pro was the best head structure for me as it retained more ball speed and, whether I liked the black or not, that is the club for me. And I agreed with him.
As before, if you like the idea of the Nike Vapor Fly drivers, the best thing to do is go to a fitting session as the model that suits you will become apparent as you go through the process.
Either way I think the Vapor Fly driver is an improvement on the original Vapor models as the lighter thinner crown and faster face improves the launch conditions and increases the distance to reduce your approach shot by a club or so.
Overall I am secretly pleased, as it was good to see Nike back with a good driver in the Vapor last year and now with the Vapor Fly they have not messed it up, but improved on it and you could paint it pretty much any colour and I would be telling you to add it to your test list for this year.
Reviewed by Martin Hopley – Golfalot.com