With an MSRP of $40 per dozen, Nike One Vapor golf balls are the priciest of Nike's "intermediate-level" balls. This type of ball is designed to bridge the gap between expensive, tour-caliber balls and much cheaper "distance" balls. As such, these golf balls have been engineered to deliver reasonably good performance at a price that stays within reason.
They are targeted at "aspirational golfers." Many of these golfers are single-digit players or those who have hopes of bringing their handicaps down to that level. The balls don't deliver quite the performance of Nike 20XI golf balls (I review these balls on a different page of this site), but they are designed to furnish a good blend of distance and control for reasonably skilled players.
The cover of these Nike golf balls is a softened ionomer blend instead of the 20XI's urethane, and they're three-piece instead of four-piece balls. Instead of the 20XI's 360 dimples, Nike One Vapor golf balls have dimples that are arranged in a seamless design to promote consistency in ball-striking as well as additional length and control. And, instead of the 20XI's revolutionary resin core, they use a solid, "progressive density" core that the company developed to promote maximum distance for golfers with average swing speeds. The core's compression is rated at 70, making these balls easy for slower-swingers to compress properly.
Nike One Vapor golf balls also feature what the company calls a "Power Transfer Layer" - a mantle design intended to promote maximum ball speed, distance and control no matter which club is being used. They use technology to give you a lot of ball for the price, and you don't have to have a 100 mph+ swing in order to benefit from playing them.
In fact, they are engineered to match up well with swing speeds of 80 mph or more. Most golfers swing at least that fast, so in that sense these balls are suited to a whole lot of players. They are, however, a bit on the expensive side for many of us (me included).
Are Nike One Vapor golf balls really worth their $40 MSRP? I bought a couple of sleeves and played them on my home course in order to find out.
"Compromise" was the first word that popped into my head after I'd hit these balls for a couple of rounds. They're a pleasant enough compromise, but they're not perfect. In fact, in some areas I was disappointed. Overall, however, they're actually quite nice. Maybe all the stuff I'd heard about these balls just made my expectations too high.
Although these aren't the longest balls I've ever hit, distance was good with all my clubs. The softened ionomer cover gave these balls a lovely soft feel off the putter (to my mind, just as nice as more expensive balls), but the balls also managed to be durable too - I saw hardly any marks after an entire round, and no cuts or nicks.
The main area where I felt the Nike One Vapor golf balls let me down was the amount of rollout on my approach shots with short irons and wedges. No matter how high the ball came into the green, it rolled more than I expected once it landed. I experienced the same thing with my chips. As a result, I'd rate the balls no better than average in spin and greenside control. Chalk it up as being the price of durability, I guess.
The Bottom Line: Nike One Vapor golf balls aren't as good as what I'd call a tour-level ball, but they are a high-performance, lower-cost alternative to those more expensive balls. They're targeted at those of us who have "average" swing speeds and hope to improve our games by using a ball that delivers more distance and consistent performance. Think of Nike One Vapor golf balls as almost-premium balls that are priced much lower than most premium balls (they're $18 per dozen less than Nike 20XI golf balls). I loved the soft feel they gave me while I was putting. Just don't expect a lot of spin after your ball lands on the green.
Overall, I like Nike One Vapor golf balls, but I'd like them more if they were priced at $30 or $35 instead of $40 per dozen.