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Home Nike Golf ditches Covert for Vapor

You have to believe Nike Golf is expecting some big things out of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy in 2015. Woods should be healthy and well rested; while McIlroy will look to continue the momentum he’s created in 2014. If either or both players are able to play up to their capabilities, Nike is hoping its association will help to drive sale. For either player to live up to the advanced billing, it will have to start with their tee shots. McIlroy, who ranked third in driving distance vapor(averaged 310.5 yards) in 2014, used his driver as a weapon. It helped him win two majors and more than $8.2 million in the past 10 months. He elected to switch out of his Covert 2 at last month’s Ryder Cup and into a yet to be released Vapor driver.

Nike announced it has more than one Vapor driver; in fact it’s coming to market at the end of January, with three. The Pro, Speed and Flex feature Nike’s FlyBeams, which stiffen the cavity back of the club, a re-engineered Compression Channel and FlexLoft 2, which facilitates the functionality of five lofts and three face angles within 15 different settings. According to Nike Golf, all of these technologies were developed to drive more energy to the golf ball for more distance, no matter the swing. But it will be Woods and McIlroy who it will be left to drive home the points to consumers by their respective performances.

The Vapor Flex model, which carries a whopping street price of $499 (good luck with that), features a RZN tube with a high-density weight on one end, called the FlightPod, which is located in the cavity of the club. By flipping the Flightpod, golfers can move the center of gravity of the Vapor Flex driver to further optimize their launch conditions. Does it sound familiar? Yes, this appears to be Nike’s answer to Callaway’s Big Bertha Alpha driver that has a “gravity core” rod. This isn’t the first time these two companies have been first to market with something unique in the driver category. Some year’s back Callaway had the FT-i, which Nike countered with the Sumo Squared. As history would prove the square driver platform never materialize the way either company envisioned. Perhaps this time around will be different.

Nike is pricing its Vapor Pro at $399 and the Vapor Speed at $299, which is more in line with current market prices. However, history once again as our teacher suggests that consumers are typically attractive to one model versus all three equally in terms of sell through. Retailers will have the task of stocking all three since it’s challenging to forecast consumer spending, even on the best of days. For those wondering, McIlroy chose to put the Vapor Pro ($399) in play at Gleneagles.

Last November, Nike Golf announced two versions of its Covert 2 at its “Innovation Unleashed” summit for 2014. Eleven months later it has gone with three Vapor drivers to temp retailers and in turn consumers for 2015.