Since we saw the MM Proto 2-iron in Rory's bag at Hoylake anticipation has been building for a new iron from Nike and now the wait is over.
The Nike Vapor irons were fittingly unveiled by Rory and Tiger themselves as they have played an important part in the design. The Vapor family of irons consists of the Vapor Pro, Vapor Pro Combo and Vapor Speed irons to cover all category of golfers.
The Vapor irons are built around a new Nike concept of the Modern Muscle that has taken the standard muscle-back design
and moved the iron's centre of gravity to the centre of the clubface, resulting in more efficient and clean strikes.
The Modern Muscle was brought to life in Nike's famed Oven where engineering expertise is paired with a visionary design team led by Nike's master club builder Mike Taylor.
Rob Arluna, Nike Golf's Global Golf Club Business Director, explains the process:
Our engineers and designers at The Oven have been working with Tiger for quite some time to evolve this innovation and bring it to the golf athlete. We started with the traditional blade and asked what could be done to enhance its performance and modernize the design while maintaining a traditional, pure look at address. Thanks to Tiger’s inspiration, coupled with Rory’s added insights, we made the Vapor Pro blades feel and perform better with a technology advantage over the traditional blade. We then extended that innovation and design to Vapor Pro Combo and Vapor Speed.
Nike Vapor Pro Irons
The Vapor Pro blade is a fresh take on the classic blade profile and Nike say it is their most precise iron to date. Inspired by their experience with Tiger Woods whose previous Nike blades have had Tungsten plugs added to centralise the centre of gravity to maximise precision and improve feel in both centre and off centre strikes.
Woods explains his involvement in the creation of the Vapor Pro:
“Working with the club team to bring this concept to life was a great experience. I hit three or four shots with the Vapor Pro, and I knew right away – they sound and feel more solid, more balanced and even more consistent than the tungsten loaded traditional blades I have played for years.”
The Modern Muscle shifts weight away from the heel of the club to precisely position the CG towards the centre of the face with more mass behind the golf ball at impact.
Forged from 1025 carbon steel the Vapor Pro is a modernised take on the classic Nike blade profile with minimal offset and thin top lines they have a better player appeal. Forward weighting promotes a lower trajectory and the blade length is longer in the longer irons with less face height than previous Nike blades whilst the thin sole, with one degree of added bounce is designed to improve turf interaction.
Nike Vapor Pro Combo Irons
The Vapor Pro Combo combines the workability of a classic blade with the power of distance irons. Also featuring Nike's Modern Muscle geometry the centre of gravity has been moved from closer to the heel to the centre of the face.
Building upon the concept of progressive technology and geometry throughout the set, first brought to the market by Nike in 2002 with the original Pro Combo, the Vapor Pro Combo's feature a different make up across the set.
The longer irons (2 iron to 7 iron) have a thin, high strength machined face built into a forged chassis, with a lightweight RZN insert to increasing ball speed and a higher trajectory.
The material in the RZN insert is actually a modified version of the material found in the high energy core of Nike's RZN golf balls. This allows Nike engineers to displace 45g of weight to the perimeter of the club head for increased forgiveness and enhanced speed whilst maintaining workability and feel.
The classically shaped short irons (8 iron to AW) are a forged iron with a shallow cavity to promote a strong penetrating trajectory that promotes shot making and a solid soft feel.
The Vapor Pro Combo have precision-machined X3X grooves to promote consistency in spin control and the progressive blade lengths and sole widths through the set, together with a beveled leading edge, increases forgiveness and versatility from all lies.
Nike Vapor Speed Irons
The Vapor Speed irons have been developed with the pursuit of power in mind.
Also benefiting from the Modern Muscle technology, the centre of gravity in the Vapor speed is lower, deeper and more towards the centre of the face to promote faster ball speed and longer, consistent distance.
Pairing ultra thin NeXCor club faces with light shafts that are half an inch longer than standard has allowed Nike to produce the longest distance iron in the company's history.
The longer Vapor Speed irons (2 iron to 7 iron) are hollow and boast a new "FlyBeam" technology that has been inspired by the technology normally found in metal woods.
Matt Daraskavich, Nike Golf's Senior Innovation Manager for Irons, Wedges and Putters, explains the benefits:
FlyBeam technology in the cavity of our hollow long irons allow for thinner wall thicknesses while stiffening the chassis. These structures focus impact energy to the high speed NexCor face resulting in the highest ball speed across eh face that we have made to date.
The Vapor Speed also uses the lightweight RZN material in the cavity of the shorter irons to increase feel in the scoring clubs.