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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Nike Tries to One-Up TaylorMade

Remember back when we couldn't decide whether to call the new driver designs 'woods' or 'metals'? Well, that debate seems insignificant compared to what's going on with the newest clubs.

TaylorMade has been getting a lot of publicity with its M1 multi-material driver, but this new driver from Nike is one of the wildest designs I've ever seen.

Nike Vapor Fly Pro driver

Golf Digest ran a post yesterday about Nike's new drivers, fairway woods and hybrids in the Vapor line. You can find that post here, which includes the photo above. I did a little more searching and found some cool pictures of the most interesting driver -- including the exploded view farther down below -- over at the Golf Support Superstore site. That page is at this link, where you can see a bigger version of the photo below.

Several of the drivers, as well as the fairway woods and hybrids, are part of the Vapor Fly line. The two drivers -- the Vapor Fly and the Vapor Fly Pro (pictured above), both with 460cc heads --  are basically titanium woods with some neat additions. There are speed slots and thin crowns, among other things, although I thought those two support bars in the cavity were particularly cool looking. And all of that tech allows them to make the face even bigger.

But the one that really caught my eye was the Vapor Flex 440 (440cc head). Check this out -- the club is 60% carbon fiber reinforced with RZN, the same stuff they use in the core of the RZN golf balls. They say they can use it to make designs that are impossible in titanium, and that it lightens the club so much that they were able to make the sweet spot 45% bigger! The exploded view shows all the different parts. Isn't this a golf geek's dream?

Explode view of Nike Vapor Flex 440 driver

The Flex 440 is going to be the most expensive driver (of course). Golf Digest says it will retail for $500 and the other clubs will be under that, with the hybrids starting at $220. Everything but the Flex is supposed to be available late next month; the Flex is due in March.

If the Flex turns out to be popular, you can bet we'll be seeing even more 'creative approaches' to clubmaking going forward. But it looks like the "what do we call them?" arguments can begin in earnest now.

I think for now I'll just call the big ones 'drivers' and the others... 'not drivers.'

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