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McIlroy puts Nike Vapor Pro driver in play at the Ryder Cup

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GolfWRX readers have been talking about it since photos surfaced here a few weeks ago and now it’s official. World number one Rory McIlroy debuted Nike’s new driver, the Vapor Pro, at the 2014 Ryder Cup in Scotland. It’s risky to change equipment before a prestigious event, but McIlroy proceeded blast the ball down the middle off the first tee, hitting arguably the best drive of anyone in morning fourball matches.

The driver features a pear-shape, black crown with Nike’s bright “volt” color in the cavity back and Compression Channel. The Vapor Pro is designed to produce a penetrating flight, tour-launch with low spin and added speed across the face.

“The first thing I noticed when I hit this driver was how hot it was,” said McIlroy. “Then, I found that I could really control the flight and work it both ways on the golf course. I saw added ball speed on the monitor and am getting 10-15 yards more distance on the golf course this week.”

The Vapor Pro driver includes three key technologies: Nike’s new FlyBeam reinforced Covert Cavity Back design, a re-engineered Compression Channel and FlexLoft 2. All of these are vital to the golf athlete in achieving the ultimate in hitting their window of distance, speed and launch conditions.

To elevate performance, we added FlyBeam technology to the Covert Cavity Back to focus energy into the variable-profile Compression Channel and NexCOR face,” said Nate Radcliffe, Director of Engineering. “This is the first time we have created a driver where the face and channel are measurably more flexible than the body.”

The FlyBeam construction stiffens the Covert Cavity in the back of the club, while the Compression Channel, with variable compliance, accentuates the spring-like effect across the face. Cohesively, the two work together to focus, store, and return impact energy to the golf ball for shots struck at all points on the face.

“This is the first time we have measured higher modal frequencies in the rear portion of the club than the front. This means impact energy is concentrated in the channel and face which tunes acoustics and maximizes energy transfer. This effect drives the increases in ball speed we are seeing in athlete and robotic testing,” added Radcliffe.

FlexLoft 2 allows the golf athlete the functionality of five lofts and three face angles within 15 different settings. The new, improved system is five grams (30%) lighter without compromising function. The redistribution of mass creates more stability, better launch conditions and faster swing speeds. Another benefit of FlexLoft 2 is its forward and backward compatibility. Golfers with previous generations of Covert can use shafts with the original adaptor in the new head or vice versa.

The 460cc Vapor Pro driver will be available on January 30, 2015.

Nike Vapor Pro

Availability:  January 30, 2015
Specifications:  8.5° – 12.5° loft; Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Blue Board 60 shaft; RH/LH: R, S, X flex
MSRP:  $479.99

 

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51 Comments

51 Comments

  1. Pingback: MeandMi | RORY MCILROY

  2. Pingback: RORY MCILROY | Meandmi

  3. stripe

    Oct 3, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Rampant commercialization at this years Ryder Cup. Just one big commercial for the golf industry. Getting worse every year.

    • dot dot

      Oct 3, 2014 at 10:53 am

      Yep, just going to keep getting worse, the trend is becoming the norm.

      • bradford

        Oct 7, 2014 at 8:26 am

        Even posing as two separate people, you fail to provide an example. This thread is not the Ryder cup–and you should expect that a golf forum would be full of equipment junkies, with writers catering to them. Fact is, there was no more “Rampant commercialization” of the actual tournament than any other year.

        • dot dot

          Oct 8, 2014 at 9:35 pm

          disagree

          • stripe

            Oct 8, 2014 at 10:09 pm

            Don’t bother answering Bradford, his deal is to be annoying and disagreeable. Remember the old internet saying “don’t feed the trolls”

          • stripe

            Oct 8, 2014 at 10:10 pm

            Remember we are the same guy.

          • bradford

            Oct 10, 2014 at 12:12 pm

            You ARE the trolls…I just don’t mind feeding them, especially when they’re so bereft of a clue they need to create a second fake name to back themselves up. Perhaps you should add a third, maybe THAT guy will be worth talking to.

          • dot dot

            Oct 14, 2014 at 1:16 pm

            This Bradford guy that keeps responding is creepy.

  4. Pingback: Vapor Unveiled - The Golf Shop Online Blog

  5. Ballzo

    Oct 1, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Put pink and purple polka-dots on the top, neon green on the bottom, Gigantic gold swoosh, a red shaft and a yellow grip. If its longer and straighter……I’ll pay for it and play it.

  6. JEFF

    Oct 1, 2014 at 10:52 am

    LAME STUPID ASoNINE……. who cares what he plays? General public will never get close to what these over paid sissies play. Why care? why drool? golf is the next new dumb reality show!

    • bradford

      Oct 1, 2014 at 11:44 am

      You MAY not make a lot of friends in here…
      Overpaid? We, as the golf fans, pay them–just like football fans pay to watch fat guys in tights, NASCAR fans pay to watch Rednecks all drive the same car in circles, Baseball fans pay to…. well, I’m still not sure what they pay for.

  7. dot dot

    Sep 30, 2014 at 8:47 am

    @Bradford Thank you for admitting you were unable to back up your statements. You are a truly a gentleman. It was the proper think to do. Kudos.

    • Brandon

      Sep 30, 2014 at 10:41 am

      I’m pretty sure people have stopped acknowledging you.

    • bradford

      Oct 1, 2014 at 11:16 am

      My statement was that you were an angsty little man, and you’ve backed that up FOR me, so thank YOU.

      • dot dot

        Oct 2, 2014 at 8:21 am

        You do understand that you are just angry with yourself,right. The thought that you are being combative about an observation is truly telling.

  8. dot dot

    Sep 28, 2014 at 10:07 am

    This just shows what the Ryder Cup and golf in general has become. It’s not about playing with the equipment that gives you the best chance of winning for your country it’s about how much will you can get paid to play the latest released equipment. Forget national pride it is now all about money. Prize money is insignificant during the season. What the players endorsement contract is worth is all that matters.

    • cally golfer

      Sep 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      Lol 5&4 win over fowler I agree fowler must have switched his driver before the match against rory…lol piff

      • dot dot

        Sep 29, 2014 at 9:06 am

        I think you missed the point of the comment. I was addressing the commercialization of Ryder cup not Rory’s match. I always try to make my comments simple to understand, it’s baffling to me how some still require an explanation.
        Signed
        Exasperated with a an aura of disbelief.

    • bradford

      Sep 29, 2014 at 10:20 am

      This is only true for about 5 guys…and I saw almost no branding on the Ryder cup. I respect your right to rebel against the ways of the world, but do it with data. What actual event in the Ryder Cup made you feel this way? Don’t forget that this conversation isn’t actually part of the Ryder Cup…

      • dot dot

        Sep 29, 2014 at 12:23 pm

        See picture of Rory swinging his driver in the articles photo. That’s branding right there. New Driver comes out, Rory is swinging it, that generates press.
        That’s all I’m referring to. Nothing else, no additional data needed. It’s a comment not a homework assignment.

        • bradford

          Sep 29, 2014 at 1:23 pm

          ok good then, so you admit there’s really nothing backing it up. Good, cause it’s a generic garbage statement and if it WERE a homework assignment you’d get a C. Should be an F, but everybody gets a C now–

          I was very pleased that there was no blatant branding at the Ryder cup this year. I think it helps keep it pure.

        • bradford

          Sep 29, 2014 at 1:25 pm

          and again–this photo you refer to ALSO isn’t the Ryder Cup, nor are the “press” they generate.

          • dot dot

            Sep 29, 2014 at 2:53 pm

            LOL My comment would get an A- from the GWRX review staff.
            You really took my thoughts way to seriously. It was an observation. Just because it’s a statement you didn’t like does not make it garbage. Blatant branding was rampant at the Ryder Cup this year. The fact that it didn’t register with you may be something for you to be concerned about. Powers of observation and all that.
            By the way please document the branding you didn’t see. I need to see data proving that there was less branding this year than in years past. Let’s go your assignment is due. Ready Set and GO.
            See how silly that just sounded asking you for documentation and data in a website comment.That’s how you looked when you asked for backup on an observation. I hope I have helped you and that you can learn from this.

          • bradford

            Sep 30, 2014 at 7:07 am

            Again, just because you’ve said something is true doesn’t make it so. You’re clearly an angsty little rebel, aren’t you? That’s ok, the idea of enjoying something for what it is comes with maturity. You’ll get there– until then-hate on. You’ll learn.

    • Nigel

      Oct 1, 2014 at 9:12 am

      I agree with what I think you’re saying….. basically golf is now being used for a lot of advertising. But like others have said, this is just the nature of the world with every single sport and every way of life. It just is what it is… and what it is is that this Driver will be in my bag next Spring.
      Don’t underestimate that these players are exactly like the rest of us and want the latest, newest looking clubs and be the first to use them etc. We’re all human.

  9. Golfwb

    Sep 27, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    The person that said he has been working a lot with people on launch monitors lately. Don’t you think he has been working with them since he went pro or got with nike?
    He is not swinging the club well this week, an it’s abvious.
    The switch might have been bold, but a lot on wrx know that it’s not the club and one can still be confident. If I got fit with something that I knew was made for me, I would go out 100% with it.

  10. Desmond

    Sep 27, 2014 at 6:59 am

    Vapor Pro is the Better Players Driver. I’ll avoid it and demo the other two models. MOI! MOI!

  11. Larry

    Sep 27, 2014 at 1:56 am

    Lets see number one golfer in the world, been working with this new driver sense June…do you think maybe he has some of the best “Club Fitters” in the world helping him get the club fit right???? What does this say to all the high handicap players out there thinking getting fit for a new driver is really going to be worth the trouble???? answer ZERO. Play with what you like because that is the way you make the clubs work for you. Fitting golf clubs (for amateurs for sure) is not anywhere near a perfect science….your swing on Monday is not your swing on Wednesday otherwise your a single digit handicap….is that most of us????

  12. Rwj

    Sep 26, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    The manufacturers run high profile players.

  13. ed

    Sep 26, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    If you think this is busy, does anyone remember a couple drivers that TM put out a year back…R1 and RBZ Stage 2 ring a bell?? Now that is BUSY

  14. Billy

    Sep 26, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Retail is $399, same as Cover Tour 2.0.

    Heads up.

  15. God5peed

    Sep 26, 2014 at 11:51 am

    “The first thing I noticed when I hit this driver was how hot it was,” said McIlroy. “Then, I found that I could really control the flight and work it both ways on the golf course. I saw added ball speed on the monitor and am getting 10-15 yards more distance on the golf course this week.”

    I think he is reading from the same advertising script for every driver that has ever been made.

    • Ral

      Sep 26, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      I’d like to see the CT and COR measurements on his club.

      • Cole

        Sep 26, 2014 at 1:54 pm

        Why? What would that do for you? The COR is as high as they can get it. If baffles me that people really think to themselves, “Man, I wonder what the COR on this driver is…” Like they really know how COR is measured. It’s going to vary between club heads, maybe you’ll get lucky and the one you buy from Dick’s is slightly above! Ridiculous.

    • jack from Omaha

      Sep 26, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      Rory helped the US by playing with that new Nike driver today in the Ryder Cup. I don;t believe he hot more than 5 fairways in 2 rounds.

      Great decision Rory!!

      The US Team thanks you.

      Dumb, dumb, and dumber!!!!!

      Why on earth would you ever change driver the way you owned your previous driver? Dumb, dumb, dumber!!!!

      • Ponjo

        Sep 28, 2014 at 5:14 pm

        Haha Jack. 9 under for 14 holes says it is working for the heir to the throne 🙂

  16. gvogel

    Sep 26, 2014 at 11:30 am

    McIlroy might have piped it off the first tee, but he took himself out of the 18th hole with a very poor drive to the left.

    When one is the number one driver of the straight long ball on the planet, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to change.

  17. Don

    Sep 26, 2014 at 11:06 am

    I don’t really mind this club like I have with their past products. Looks kinda cool actually. And if the swoosh is really that distracting it isn’t anything that a jiffy marker can’t fix. Or use spray paint. Isn’t that what Tiger did with his Titleist driver when he switched over to the swoosh?

  18. chad ryan

    Sep 26, 2014 at 10:43 am

    it still looks like a half eaten kiwi fruit……which doesn’t make me want to buy it….but it does make me hungry

  19. cb

    Sep 26, 2014 at 10:25 am

    starting to like Nike’s stuff but unfortunately I saw my first problem with this driver. do whatever and put whatever color you want on the bottom of the club. But on the crown there is too much going on. it might have been fine with out the neon swoosh but you dont want something that will cause you to watch the club going back and not the ball

    • B

      Sep 26, 2014 at 10:55 am

      Completely agree. The swoosh on the crown I can tolerate, not so much the carbon pattern.

      • JJ

        Sep 26, 2014 at 12:29 pm

        Couldn’t disagree more. I am a Titleist/Ping fanboy all day, but the carbon looks awesome…in fact I think the crown is the most aesthetically pleasing part of the driver…

      • yolomcswag

        Sep 26, 2014 at 4:16 pm

        same here. love the swoosh, carbon just makes it weird

    • John

      Sep 26, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      if you’re watching the club go back in your backswing, and something like SLIGHTLY lighter shades of grey that you might not notice in the sunlight is enough to distract you, I think you need to be in the market for something other than new golf clubs.

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Whats in the Bag

Paul Casey’s Winning WITB: 2019 Valspar Championship

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Driver: TaylorMade M4 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 70 TX (tipped 1 inch)

3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 TX Limited (tipped 1.75 inches)

Irons: Mizuno MP-25 (3), Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal Pro (4), Mizuno MP-5 (5-PW)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120 TX

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52-08F, 56-10S), Vokey Proto (60)
Shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120 X

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T 350-SSS
Grip: Scotty Cameron Matador

Grips: Golf Pride Z Grip Cord Midsize

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Mizuno’s Senior Club Engineer, Chris Voshall told us Casey’s somewhat surprising setup in his long irons is simply the product of Casey hitting the windows he wants to with the particular clubs in question.

“It’s all based on the height of the ball flight,” Voshall said. The MP-25 3-iron was more penetrating and better for him off the tee, so he kept it in there.”

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Equipment

The Artisan Golf putter fitting experience

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There is a certain mystique surrounding Artisan Golf.  In clubhouses and on courses around Texas, the name Artisan is spoken almost as if it’s a local legend. Something unattainable that only the best players in the world get access to.

Did you see so and so is playing artisan wedges? He ordered a putter from them too. He must know somebody who knows somebody. Those Artisan guys are the old Nike club-makers who worked with Tiger and Rory and Reed.

For nearly the first two years of the company’s existence, Artisan didn’t have a website and orders for custom putters and wedges needed to be done via phone or social media. It wasn’t until January of this year that they launched a website in order to better sell their equipment. And now if you want a custom Artisan club, you can get one. But simply getting online and ordering a wedge or putter isn’t the way they want things done.

“Every single person that has bought a putter, I have talked to them one on one,” said John Hatfield, Artisan’s Head Putter Maker.  “It’s important because I want to make sure that we are getting them the best possible build that we can get them. We are never going to be a volume business. We never want to be a volume business. We want to make what we make and have that good relationship with the consumer.”

John Hatfield

When Nike closed its doors for good on the club making business, Artisan opened the following Monday in the very same space. And things ran pretty smoothly on just word of mouth and prior relationships. Hatfield focuses on putters and Mike Taylor is the wedge maker. But in 2018, Patrick Reed won the masters with a pair of Artisan wedges in his bag and people took notice. The company went from 300 Instagram followers to over ten thousand, essentially overnight. Hatfield doesn’t mess with all that, though. He is old-school and just wants to give golfers the best possible equipment to fit their game.

“We wanted to continue doing what we had been doing,” Hatfield said. “We wanted to offer the consumer what the tour player could get when he or she came in to see us. We had seen people on GolfWRX saying “oh man that is cool but we are never going to get it!” and we said you know what, if you’ll pay for it and if you want it, come and get it.”

And make no mistake. These Artisan guys have worked with the best players in the world. And they still do. When you walk into the Artisan facility, one of the first things you see is a big wall full of signatures from some of the greatest players to ever play the game. Tiger Woods, Ben Crenshaw, Rory McIlroy, and a ton more are all on the wall. Even George Strait has been in for a club fitting.

I went to Artisan headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas to start my relationship with Hatfield and Artisan. To this day, the company is still housed in the old Nike building, nicknamed “the Oven,” which comes complete with a practice green, driving range space and a wedge fitting area. I was there for a personal putter fitting. Having worked for Ben Hogan Golf and Nike, Hatfield has been in the club making business for over 30 years. The man is passionate about putters. But when it came to this fitting, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The fitting took place outside on Artisan’s practice green. And that is by design.

“We like to fit in the dirt. I don’t understand being indoors on a flat putt,” Hatfield said.  “That’s not natural. When you get outside with undulations and trees. This is real. This is how you play golf. I want to see what you are doing on real greens.”

And when Hatfield says he wants to speak with every person that he makes a putter for, he means it. My fitting took two and a half hours on the practice green, hitting putt after putt with different models and weights. Throughout the process, we made some adjustments on my stroke and the ball’s position in my stance but only minor tweaks. It felt like a putting lesson without completely getting away from what I was comfortable with. Hatfield wasn’t there to change the way I putt. He was there to get to know me so he could build the perfect putter for the way I putt. To Hatfield,  that all starts with look and sound.

“The number one thing is that it has to look good,” he said. “It needs to give you confidence. If you set something down and you don’t like to look at it, how long are you going to play it? Then after that it needs to sound good. That audible sound has to give you good feedback or you aren’t going to play it. The different mill depths can give you the different sounds that you need.”

And throughout the entire process, he didn’t write down a single word. It was all in his head and in his hands. Hatfield would adjust the weights on a putter and hand it to me. While I used it, he would observe the stroke, ask me questions, adjust a different putter and then hand that one to me. Then Repeat. Different lengths of putts, different lines and reads and speeds. For over two hours. We were narrowing down our options and Hatfield was building my putter in his mind. And at the same time, he was giving me tips on how to better put the ball in the hole.

I came to realize that there was probably no one who understood putting better than Hatfield. Sure, there are his equals. But this guy has spent the last 30 years building putters and fitting them for players. He knows what he is doing. And he wants to use his experience to make you a better golfer. He can talk to you and explain things in a way anyone can understand.

At the end of the fitting, we went back inside and filled out the Artisan putter order form with my specs. We picked out a grip that felt good in my hands but also weighed the appropriate weight for my stroke. I ended up going with the 0217 midslant because it fit my eye the best of the four putter models. The “bluebonnet finish” with a sight circle top line also looks phenomenal in person. I was hooked when I saw it. The full custom fitting and build ended up with a $975.00 price tag.

Each artisan putter comes with a serial number that is assigned to that particular customer. That way, Hatfield will always be able to look back and see exactly what was built for you. And if you want to change your grip or head-weights, that’s fine with him but he wants you to call him and let him know so he can update your file. If your putting turns south, Hatfield wants to know why and he wants to fix it. It really is all about the relationships and making you a better golfer.

The putters aren’t cheap but you are getting personal attention and a relationship with the guy who is making your putter when you spend the money. That is worth a ton, in my opinion.

The headcovers are custom as well. When you end up making your putter purchase, an online headcover creating form is sent to the customer so they can customize the color and stitching. The customer’s input is included in every aspect of the putter purchase.

And if you aren’t able to make it to Fort Worth, Texas for a personal fitting with Hatfield, that is perfectly fine. He still wants to spend a considerable amount of time with you on the phone, talking about your game. He even loves it when you send him videos of your putting stroke and the specs on your current putter. If you go somewhere local for a fitting, he wants to know about that too. The more information, the better. Hatfield wants to get to know you. It’s all about the relationships. He gets to know the player in order to build him the perfect putter.

And that is the thing that impressed me most about Artisan Golf. They care about your score. They want you to improve and if you shop with them, they are going above and beyond to put you in the right equipment to improve your game. If that means spending close to three hours on a putting green with you, Hatfield will do it. If that means giving you his cell phone number so you can call him to tell him you want to change the grip on your putter, Hatfield will do it. If that means taking time to watch videos of your putting stroke and then talking to you on the phone to make sure you get exactly the putter you want, Hatfield will do it.

Artisan cares about lowering your score. Plain and simple.

“We are focused on making products and improving your game,” Hatfield said. “We aren’t focused on all that other pizzazz.”

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight: Quick-Up driving range

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Product: Quick-Up driving range

Pitch: Via Quick-Up: “Using our UT-TEC TM rapid hub deployment system and hanging net impact absorption technology, we created the most unique and functional Golf practice net ever…It’s fast easy set-up and convenient storage and mobility make it an ideal anytime/anywhere practice range. In seconds you can easily have your personal driving range. It’s a powerful, functional and sturdy golfer’s practice tool. Practice all Woods, Hybrids, and Irons with a real ball…”

Our take on the Quick-Up driving range

Avid golfers are seemingly always looking for an easy, convenient place to practice. Of course, a full range is ideal, but we don’t always have the time. The Quick-Up Golf Driving Range tries to provide an affordable solution for us junkies out there to get in our daily dose of practice.

The Quick-Up Driving Range definitely fills a need in the marketplace. Its strength is its portability and doing what its name implies: It sets up in moments and can be taken down in nearly as quickly. It comes with some nice extras such as short game targets and a “shank guard.”

Still, if you are looking for a foolproof option – meaning near-zero chance of a ball missing the net and destroying something that shouldn’t be, you should look elsewhere in the marketplace. Even the fairly pricey Quick-Up Deluxe in not very wide at 10 feet. Set it up in your house and you may eventually have some drywall repairs to do.

While its light weight keeps it portable, it doesn’t’ feel as sturdy and durable as we’d like it to be. Outside, stiff winds can blow it around and the manufacturer recommends using the stakes included for safety. And while initial folding is quick, getting it back in the carry bag may be another story.

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