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Nike Golf's Vapor Pro Combo Irons deliver power and precision

Kiel ChristiansonBy Kiel Christianson,
Senior Writer
Vapor Pro Combo Irons by Nike Golf
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Got game? Nike Golf's Vapor Pro Combo Irons can help get you to the next level. (Courtesy of Nike Golf)

It's been three or four years since Nike Golf introduced the Pro Combo concept. The company's new Vapor Pro Combo Irons ($1,099-$1,320) represent a fine-tuning of the combo-set concept based on the ball-striking habits of none other than Tiger Woods.

The "combo" set concept has definitely caught on over the past several years, even with touring pros. The basic idea underlying these irons is more radical than just lowering the center of gravity (COG) and offsetting the face a bit in the long irons -- it involves creating an entirely different clubhead composition in longer irons without disrupting the "flow" of the set.

The development of the Vapor Pro Combo Irons held true to this concept with some input from Woods.

Nike Golf's engineers noticed that the wear pattern on his irons was just slightly toward the toe, rather than directly aligned with the clubs' COG. So they drilled into the toe of the Vapors and inserted small tungsten plugs until they had matched the COG to Woods' point of contact.

Hey, if it helps Tiger Woods, it should help the rest of us too, right?

Playing the Nike Golf Vapor Pro Combo Irons

The Vapor Pro Combos are divided into long (2-7) and short (8-AW) subsets, compared to the three subsets of the older VR Combo sets.

The irons are forged from 1025 carbon steel and melded with RZN inserts in the pocket cavity behind the faces of the 2- through 7-irons to produce a soft feel with forgiveness on off-center hits.

One of the days I tested the Vapor Pro Combo Irons was about 45 degrees with a stiff, cold wind. I hit my fair share of clankers, which would have stung like the dickens with old-school traditional blades.

My hands definitely still vibrated with the Combos, but they (thankfully) didn't hurt.

The difference in feel between the off-center hits and contact on the sweet spot was dramatic, as well struck shots were silky soft.

The stock True Temper DG Pro Dynamic Gold shafts are, according to one clubfitter I spoke with, extremely popular among pros and better players. Ball flight was in general somewhat low and penetrating -- especially with the shorter irons -- but with lots of spin to hold approaches on the greens, which is characteristic of the shafts.

Nike Golf's Vapor Pro Combo Irons: The verdict

Nike Golf's new Vapor Pro Combo Irons are targeted at lower-handicap golfers who seek a bit more forgiveness and length without sacrificing control. Inconsistent contact will be penalized a bit in terms of distance, and a bit more in terms of accuracy. The mid-sized clubheads are easy to manipulate, even when you aren't trying to do so. For example, when I contacted the ball out toward the toe, it was almost certain to result in a toe hook. In short, these aren't "game improvement" irons; they're player's irons that offer improved forgiveness on the occasional mishit. They won't compensate for chronic swing faults.

The neon-green on black color scheme of the Vapor line is trendy these days -- especially at Nike Golf. If you have any newer Nike outerwear, bags or shoes, the clubs are likely to match the rest of your gear. But looking like a pro and playing like one are two very different things. If you have the game to take you to the next level, the Vapor Pro Combo Irons can help you get there.

For more information, visit nikegolf.com.

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Nike Golf Vapor Pro Combo Irons

Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.

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