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Vaporize the golf ball with the Nike Vapor Pro driver

Kiel ChristiansonBy Kiel Christianson,
Senior Writer
Nike Vapor Pro driver
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The Nike Vapor Pro features aggressive styling -- and power. (Courtesy of Nike Golf)

When Rory McIlroy is really at the top of his game, his driving is awe-inspiring: simultaneously effortless and powerful, accurate and monstrously long. And in recent tournaments, his new black and neon-green Nike Golf driver adds an otherworldly aura to his game.

That distinctive driver is the Nike Vapor Pro ($399). It is not an exaggeration to say that Nike Golf's driver technology has reached its highest point so far in this driver, which hit the market early in 2015.

Every engineering edge available has been incorporated into the Vapor Pro, and the results -- for Rory and for you and me -- are impressive.

Nike Golf's Vapor driver line (Pro, Speed, and Flex) features the Covert Cavity Back design, which distributes mass to the edges of the clubhead, especially up toward the face. This forward weight distribution reduces spin, which increases carry and produces a more piercing trajectory.

The Compression Channel on the sole right behind the NexCOR face increases the amount of recoil or spring-like effect on contact. The Flybeam Construction reinforces and stabilizes the cavity on the sole of the club. The FlexLoft 2 technology allows for 15 different launch options.

Essentially, these are all of the major driver innovations introduced over the past five years wrapped up into one high-performance driver.

Playing the Nike Vapor Pro driver

I couldn't wait for the weather to warm so I could take my Vapor Pro to my home course. On the simulators in the clubhouse, I hit a lot of long, straight drives with it, but I always seem to be more consistent on the simulator and range than on the real course. (Any sports psychologists reading this? E-mail me!)

Anyway, on the very first tee, I received a compliment from one of the local high school golfers who works at the course. "I like that driver -- looks great!" he said.

So, I let him tee off with the Vapor Pro, and he striped a high 270-yard shot straight down the middle of the fairway without so much as a warm-up swing.

I, on the other hand, found both fairways and the rough over the first several holes, with reasonable but not memorable length. And honestly, I kept feeling that I wasn't really getting all I could out of the Vapor Pro.

Then, as the winter rust shook off a bit more, I caught a drive directly on the sweetspot, and for a split second, I thought I had missed the ball. The feedback was so exquisite, so sublime, so pure compared to the slightly (and not so slightly) off-center contact I had been making, I literally stood there laughing to myself like a lunatic as the ball sailed well out of my feeble sight.

At address, I love the Vapor Pro's traditional pear-shaped head, which hides all the whiz-bang technology lurking on the sole-side of the clubhead. I am also a big fan of wrap grips, and the Golf Pride Tour Wrap 2G grip that comes standard on the Vapor Pro feels great in your hands.

Some players might not care for the black and neon-green color scheme, or the Swoosh on the heel of the driver. I found these pretty cool, actually, but I'm also young at heart (LOL #foreveryoung). A small dot or arrow or something on the crown would help with alignment, though.

Nike Vapor Pro driver: The verdict

Nike Golf's drivers are quickly becoming the most technologically advanced and fashion-forward big sticks on the market. The other two members of the Vapor family are aimed at recreational golfers of various levels with differing swing characteristics. I might have benefited from playing one of those, what with my somewhat inconsistent contact and all.

But frankly, it is a lot of fun having the same driver as Rory McIlroy in my bag. Now if I could only drive the ball half as well as he does.

For more information, visit www.nikegolf.com.

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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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