Nike Vapor Pro driver

Nike Vapor Pro driver

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Nike Vapor Pro driver

With the release of the Nike Vapor Pro driver, the company has combined two of its core technologies from other recent drivers to help golfers generate more ball speed and forgiveness.

On the sole of the all-titanium, 460cc head, Nike designed a channel that runs parallel to the face. The company calls it a Compression Channel, and it is trimmed in volt (the same yellow color used in the Vapor irons). As it did in the VR Pro, VR Pro STR8-Fit and VR Pro Limited drivers, the channel helps the face flex more effectively at impact to generate more ball speed.

The updated channel has been positioned closer to the leading edge. It is thinner in the middle and wider in the heel and toe. Shots hit in the sweetspot don’t need as much ball-speed enhancement, but the wider channel in the heel and toe provide a greater trampoline effect on mis-hits, when it’s needed most.

The large cavity in the back of the sole was first seen in the Covert drivers, and it was used again in last season’s Covert 2.0 drivers. It was updated with a pair of fang-like supports that Nike calls Fly Beams.

“We’ve basically turned off all the stress and energy absorption in the back of the head, and shifted it all into the face and into the channel,” said Nate Radcliffe, Nike’s director of engineering. “When we store energy in the face and in the channel, we’re actually able to recover it when the ball is unloading on the face.”

The cavity also shifts weight to the heel and toe, effectively creating perimeter weighting, which increases the moment of inertia and helps the Vapor Pro resist twisting on off-center hits.

Rory McIlroy put a Vapor Pro driver in his bag at this week’s Ryder Cup, and Radcliffe said McIlroy was very involved in the development of the club. He told Nike what he liked about his Covert 2.0 and explained that he’d like more ball speed without sacrificing stability. Radcliffe said McIlroy tested a Vapor prototype for the first time at PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., the week before the U.S. Open, and then again a week before the Ryder Cup. The world’s No. 1 player has reported that he’s getting 8 more yards of carry distance with the new club.

Each Vapor Pro driver has an adjustable hosel system that allows players to use any of three face angle settings and change the club’s loft from as little as 8.5 degrees to as much as 12.5 degrees. It also was made 30 percent lighter and accepts shaft tips that worked in Nike’s Covert and Covert 2.0 drivers.

The club comes standard with a Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Blue Board 60 shaft and will cost $399 when it arrives in stores Jan. 30, 2015.

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