Stage Two - The Review
I started with the driver set at 10 degrees loft, neutral face angle; the weight pod is set with the heavy end towards the back. One thing I did do was change the grip to a mid-size Golf-Pride grip
Lots going on when the club sits at address, movable weight pod allows for lower or higher ball flight
[Attachment = 38229: NVF 440 Bottom 2.JPG]
Sets up really nice at address, hello ball...
I went to the PGA SuperStore in Scottsdale, I was able to get on the simulator and hit a few balls, if you notice the shot dispersion here is rather wide, Brandon (club fitter) suggested we change the shaft.
See, shaft deflection moved the face all over the place. No way was this operator error, when I get my fourth lever timed up it's a thing of beauty..
I changed to an X flex Diamanna Blue, now look at the difference. Increased ball speed, better carry yardage, and the dispersion pattern is much tighter. Guess I need an X-Shaft, does anyone have an extra? please. please, please
Part of the Stage 2 review involves the range and actual golf course playability; let's start with the range review, shall we?
While I'm sure my musing about the results is important (three balls on the range it went in my bag) I thought why not ask friends and strangers to hit it and give me some feedback, so that's what I did.
Jon Lindquist: Jon was the first person I had try the driver, Jon is not a regular guy (okay, he really is a great guy) but he's the only guy I know that won the Ben Hogan award for best college golfer in the country in 1992, check out his Bio below. Now Jon just said, WOWâ€¦ I think he liked it J
The Next golfer William Oates is my regular partner each Saturday, his story is he was a college high jumper that held Texas records for years. Some of you may know this name Dwight Stone? Well, William beat him during his college days. William is 6'5 and really pounds it, he didn't like it so much, my opinion is the shaft was to short and too flexible.
I then went back to my old Country Club to play in a skins game, some of the players there wanted to take it with them, Mike Goulet and Tom Joyce both liked it.
Today (June 4th, 2016) I walked the range at Papago Golf Club after my warm up looking for (Flat Bellies) to give it a shot, you know the kind of guys that a young, flexible, strong and fearless. (Yes, I remember what it was like 20-years and 30 lbs. ago) Both guys knocked it off the planet but the comment was â€˜I couldn't feel it hit the faceâ€
My turn, Range Review:
The driver is very stable, through the ball is very consistent, ball flight is lower than the R-1 or for that sake my old Titleist 913 driver. The convincing factor to my putting it in the bag after three balls on the range was the FEEL, the feel is incredible, No it's AWESOMEâ€¦. As different golfers read this review a few of you will be feel players, some of you will be mechanical, some of you are an auditory player, and some of you just see ball, hit ball, find ball, hit ball again until it's in the hole. And that's the way you should be, my heightened sensory is feel.
My Range Score: 18
On the Course Review:
Eight rounds in different conditions on three different golf courses over six weeks:
Round One, Papago Golf Club, Phoenix AZ www.papagogolf.com
May, 7th 2016
The day was cool for us (80f) with winds gusting to 25 mph, maybe it was like a first date, the first day of a new job or the first day of school. I hit the ball where I was looking, 11 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens, and a final score of 73 with cash coming my way.
Papago Golf Club, May, 14th 2016
The honeymoon was over she cheated on me, stole my money and broke my hartâ€¦ Okay, not that bad. Another windy day in Phoenix, what I like most about this driver is the ability to play the ball down in windy conditions, I learned not to try and hit the driver â€œHARDâ€, it goes sideways when you do. Shot 80, does she love me, does she not???
Wickenberg Ranch, May, 21st 2016 www.wickenbergranch.com
Let's get down to business, one of the top new courses of 2015, this was a fun day. Playing a golf course for the first time with new equipment in a 20 MPH wind scares me every time, this was no exception. 9-fairways hit, 11 greens, 32 putts and 84 shots later I was paying up. This was not the drivers' fault I did have second thoughts and could hear my R-1 calling from the garage. What got me during this round was playing an unfamiliar layout in gusty conditions and seconding guessing where to hit it, the times I saw the landing area and the shot shape matched what I was thinking it worked great.
Papago Golf Club, May 28th 2016
Calm day, 90 degrees, light winds, firm fast greens, 13 fairways, 14 greens, 25 putts, 75. Cha-Chingâ€¦. Good day to work the ball different ways, high draws, high fades, low draws, low fades and a pop up too. To play Papago well you need to work the ball around the track, it's not overly long from the Blue Tees 6775 but a good test built in 1963 and remodeled is 2008.
Arrowhead Country Club, May 30th 2016
Okay, it's Memorial Day a day you should be with your friends and family searing meat on a grill and consuming adult beverages that came later. I mentioned in the range review a few guys I know really liked the driver, today it was my friend again. One key point I have to make when playing with a new longer driver, â€œdon't hit driver form the white teesâ€ it will mess you upâ€¦. Hazards come into play, 50-60-70-80 yard approach shots to mounded Arnold Palmer Designed greens will eat your lunch, AGGGGHHHHHâ€¦.. Deep Breaths, Deep Breaths, Deep Breaths. Bye, Bye $40.00 skin moneyL
Papago Gold Club, June 4th 2016
Playing at home again brings a â€˜Happy Danceâ€ and cash coming my way, good thing my partner William Oates putted well today, me I hit 12 fairways, 14 greens and shot 75 (how well was I putting today 30 putts, no birdies, no three putts) it was only 105 when we finished today.
Course Score: 17
The NVF 440 sets up nicely with the blue topline against the white ball and green grass, it really squares up easily. I'm not crazy about the seam between the face and the crown; they could have cleaned that up a little more. The standard lie is a little upright was my initial impression, but as the club swings it shortens and flattens so at impact it all good J
Looks Score: 15
Sound and Feel
The driver sounds like a Persimmon Driver of old, it's more of a â€œTwackâ€ or â€œSplankâ€ sound (think about dropping a cantaloupe on the kitchen table) verses a â€˜Tinkâ€, â€œTankâ€, â€œPoinkâ€, â€œDoinkâ€ or the famous â€œBoinkâ€ of dropping a golfball on a beer or soda can.
The driver feels very soft at impact, when hitting the rock range balls it's okay, I play a Titlist ProV-X and you can feel it come off. For giggles I had a sleeve of Noodles from some golf tournament so I wondered what it would feel like with a â€˜Super Softâ€ golf ball. Now imagine if you can hitting a marshmallow with 105 MPH club head speed and think the ball stuck to the face then turning your head to see the ball soaring down the fairway a solid 200 yards, Ickeyâ€¦.
Sound and Feel Score: 17
Likelihood of Purchase
If I was looking for a new driver NIKE would not be on the top of my list, growing up in Phoenix with the PING factory and fitting studio a few miles away they were my first choice. Titlist, Taylor Made then NIKE.
Understanding that the new M-1 is made in the same fashion I would give it strong consideration along with the NVF 440.
LOP Score: 14
I didn't want to like this driver. To me NIKE was always style over substance. That changed once I hit it on the range and in play. As I mentioned earlier they could tighten up the finished product, it looks a little cheap where the crown meets the face and the weight pod could get damaged with one untimely slam to the ground. The other players I had hit the driver all liked the ball flight and performance but the feel turned them off, it doesn't bother me but I like the feel, the control and the slightly lower ball flight.
Would I recommend this driver to everyone No, but if you're looking for a controlled lower ball flight that stays closer to the fairway then GIDDY UP, see your local pro get fit, get a NVF 440 and get out there.
Total Score: 81 NIKE Vapor Flex 440
Available until Jul 15, 2016