When manufacturers are looking at developing new product they usually ask their tour players what they would like to see. So when Nike took the previous Vapor fairway to Rory McIlroy his feedback was don't do anything to the shape.
However he did not say anything about the colour and the construction of the head, so Nike went ahead and did that anyway and the result is the Vapor Fly fairway.
There is only one fairway in the range now instead of two because Nike has merged the head size of Rory's Vapor Speed with the adjustability of the Vapor Flex.
The FlexLoft hosel adaptor is thinner because they have bored the hosel at 1° off axis instead of 2° and therefore the diameter is 15% smaller. This means that the adjustability of each club is down from a range of 5° to 2° using a range of five heads from 13° to 21° that can be adjusted +/- 1°.
This makes much more sense and having more head loft options was one of the things we highlighted in our Nike Vapor Fairway wood review last time round.
Rory didn't mention the colour, so as you can see the new Nike corporate palette of Photo Blue with hints of Volt green adorns the head.
It's a bold statement and I think it works best on the fairway with the chrome face than the other Vapor Fly woods, although I doubt it will be for everyone. At least the swoosh on the crown seems less in your face, but I would still prefer to have this swapped for a little one in the centre as an alignment aid.
I am sure Rory did not say "can I have new Covert Cavity with a FlightWeight crown and a HyperFlight face please", but that is what he has got. The thinner steel crown features a honeycomb pattern on the rear to provide strength and a nice visual feature.
The Covert Cavity on the sole is redesigned to move the weight further to the outside of the head to increase the MOI to make it more forgiving.
This combines with the Channel behind the face which is thinner and a little wider around the heel and toe than in the previous Vapor Speed fairway.
Crossing the channel and supporting the cavity at the back are wider silver FlyBeams that stiffen the head and enable the faster face to return more speed to the ball.
The face is thinner around the perimeter and it is this, together with all the other changes Rory didn't ask for that gives the Vapor Fly fairway a performance advantage over the previous models.
I have to say that I am with Rory on the shape and I am glad that he put his foot down and went with the Vapor Speed head as that was the better fairway last time round. It looked better, was a little bit faster and had that mid-sized fairway wood profile that I feel suits every level of golfer.
The changes Nike has made have also improved the sound and feel from the Vapor Speed, which is even better with a little 'zing' at impact when you got it right. The flight was right in the window I think all players would like to see it with it being penetrating with a good height and I don't see this favouring one type of player over another.
The smaller adjustable hosel looks much better because you hardly notice it and the smaller loft range did offer a decent change in flight. Having slight adjustments always seems better than wider ranges to me, as when you get to the extremes then the face can look quite open or shut
So well done Nike and Rory. I thought the last model was one of the best fairways in the market and with the Vapor Fly fairway I think they should be on to another winner.