Last year Nike Golf released its new Covert line of drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons, and the highly anticipated equipment line took the golf world by storm. I’ve been gaming the Covert driver, fairway wood, hybrid and irons since last year, and the combination of added distance, solid feel, great accuracy and improved acoustics all make the Covert line a real winner in my book.
This year Nike Golf has taken the Covert line to the next level — the Covert 2.0 line of drivers, fairway woods and hybrids (all available in Performance and Tour versions), as well as Covert 2.0 cast irons and Covert Forged irons, all look to deliver improved performance to Nike Athletes and amateur players alike. This is my first review of the Covert 2.0 line — the Covert 2.0 driver — which I’ve hit at the range many times, and gamed on the course a few times as well. With the 2014 golf season upon us, I feel this is a good time to share my experiences with the Covert 2.0 driver with you.
FIRST IMPRESSION: DESIGN/APPEARANCE
The Covert 2.0 driver features the same bright red metallic finish on the crown as its predecessor, as well as the large white swoosh toward the heel. Like the original Covert driver, the head size of the Performance model is 460CC (and this year, the Tour model features a 460CC pear-shaped head), and the alignment aid on the crown is the “2.0” from the newly redesigned VR_S Covert 2.0 logo. The sole features a redesigned sole plate with a primarily matte silver finish, new Covert logo, red swoosh and black cavity with red “2.0”.
The hosel contains the same FlexLoft adjustability system as last year’s model, which consists of two plastic collars with which you can adjust the loft and face angle independently in any of 15 combinations. The loft can be adjusted between 8.5 and 12.5 in 1 degree increments, and the face angle can be set left (closed), neutral (square), right (open). The adjustments are made by loosening the shaft screw in the bottom of the sole with the included wrench (the same one as the original Covert driver), removing the shaft, adjusting the collars and reattaching the shaft, all of which can be done easily in a minute or so. The face has a large hitting area that features Nike Golf’s NexCOR face technology, which makes the edges of the face thinner than the center, resulting in a larger sweet spot. This creates faster ball speeds across a wider area of the face and results in longer shots.
The Covert 2.0 comes with a redesigned red and white headcover with a full sock to protect the shaft. The stock shaft is the Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Black HBP (50 gram), and the new stock grip is a white Nike Tour Wrap by Golf Pride. Overall my first impression is that the VR_S Covert 2.0 driver is a club that looks great at address, and features some nice updates to the technological and visual design details of the original Covert driver.
FIRST IMPRESSION: PERFORMANCE
Like the original Covert driver, the first thing I noticed in the 2.0 model was its solid feel at impact — the “heaviness” of the hit and the substantial feel of the club head through the impact zone are impressive. The acoustics mirror the feel — the Covert 2.0 gives a solid “thwack” (almost a “thud”) at impact, with no tinny or “plink” sound at all. The Covert 2.0 has a very solid feel, with an overall sensation of the club powering through the ball as it sends it down the fairway.
The next thing I noticed was the Covert 2.0’s improved accuracy — the 2.0 features Nike’s new Fly-Brace technology which reinforces the back of the club head, creating more stability through impact. I notice the club head feels more stable when striking the ball, and my shots seem to go a bit straighter with this model than they did with the original Covert. The Fly-Brace technology is also designed to transfer more energy to the club face (and in turn the ball), creating more distance. I may hit the Covert 2.0 a few yards farther than the original Covert (I didn’t use a launch monitor in my testing), but honestly I don’t feel like I hit the Covert 2.0 significantly farther. I feel the accuracy I gain from the club head’s stability outweighs the distance I gain, and the distance I do gain might actually be because I’m hitting the ball straighter. I really do notice the stability of the head through impact — for me, straighter is more important than farther, so the increased stability and resulting straighter shots are significantly more beneficial to my game.
The Covert 2.0 also offers great forgiveness on off-center hits. Shots struck away from the center of the club face go straight and far, as they did with the original Covert. The NexCOR face technology’s variable face thickness (thinner the farther you get away from the center) gives amazing distance on mishit shots, and the placement of the mass of the club towards the heel and toe creates perimeter weighting that is responsible for the stability I describe above. That stability keeps the club more square when you miss the middle of the face, producing straighter shots from less than ideal swings.
Finally, the FlexLoft adjustability system is very easy and intuitive to use. Removing the head is simple using the included wrench, and changing the loft and face angle combinations with the two adjustable collars can be done quickly and easily. With the Covert 2.0 you have 15 clubs in one, with the 15 different loft, lie and face angle combinations.
Overall I’ve been extremely pleased with the performance of the Covert 2.0 driver. Notes on the Covert 2.0’s specific performance attributes follow here:
I didn’t use a launch monitor, but I did hit the original Covert and the Covert 2.0 side by side several times at the range — the Covert 2.0 is as long for me as the original Covert, maybe a few yards longer on some shots. I feel my distance gains were secondary to the accuracy I gained with the new model (see below).
Like the original Covert, the Covert 2.0 has a medium to medium-high ball flight. My understanding is the Performance model that I tested has a higher ball flight than the Tour model, which is reported to have a lower, more penetrating ball flight.
For me, this is where the Covert 2.0 really shines — the Covert 2.0 feels more stable to me than the original Covert, producing more accurate shots, and I feel my straighter drives result in more distance off the tee. The 2.0 feels really stable through the hitting zone — this stability is due to improved reinforcement of the club head, and its perimeter weighting with the club head’s mass being located towards the heel and toe.
The Covert 2.0 has tremendous feel, and I can move the ball left or right when I need to. The FlexLoft adjustability system adds to the playability of this club, allowing me to change loft to raise or lower my ball flight, or close or open the face to create a specific shot shape.
The Covert 2.0 is really forgiving on mishit shots — the NexCOR face gives shots hit off-center just about the same distance as shots struck in the middle of the face. The perimeter weighting keeps the club head from twisting on shots hit towards the heel and toe, producing straighter shots from less than ideal swings.
Like its predecessor, one of the more significant characteristics of the Covert 2.0 is its acoustics. The sound at impact is a distictively solid “thwack” (almost a “thud”), the sound of a very solid shot. There is no tinny aluminum sound or any hint of a “plink” at impact.
The VR_S Covert 2.0 driver is a great driver with noticeable improvements over the original model. The solid feel at impact and superior acoustics again are outstanding. Like the original Covert, the distance I get with the Covert 2.0 is exceptional — however for me the true highlight of the 2.0 is the improved accuracy I’m seeing from the increased stability in the newly reinforced club head. And finally, like the original Covert, the forgiveness on off-center hits is extraordinary. If you are looking for a new driver to help you kick off the 2014 golf season with increased distance — and especially improved accuracy — I highly recommend you give the VR_S Covert 2.0 a try.
Editor’s note: The product reviewed above was supplied by the manufacturer to the reviewer/author free of charge for reviewing purposes only. The opinions expressed in the review are strictly those of the reviewer/author.