Nike Golf has released two new sets of irons this year, the VR_S Covert 2.0 Cast and the Covert Forged — look for reviews of those by Alan and Damian respectively on the blog here some time soon. So why am I posting this comparison of Nike Golf’s three preceding iron designs? Well, for a few reasons — several of you have recently asked me about each of these irons, and those of you looking to get a forgiving set of irons that will give you extra distance, and save a few bucks in the process might want to consider checking out these game-improvement irons while they’re still available at some of the online golf retailers.
I’ve played several rounds with each of the VR_S Cast, VR_S Forged and VR_S Covert irons, and each set has different characteristics. My goal is to compare them here and give you my thoughts on each, so you can decide if any of these or right for you (or if you want to go with one of this year’s models). Below I give you my impressions of each set of irons as they relate to several design and performance attributes.
FIRST IMPRESSION: DESIGN/APPEARANCE
VR_S Cast: Out of the box, the VR_S Cast irons have the most game improvement appearance to them. Of the three iron sets, they have the most offset, the thickest topline, and the deepest cavity on the back. These irons include Nike’s NexCOR technology in the face and their Powerbow technology on the back, with the bow extending out and across the back to increase CG and forgiveness. The bow is visible to the right of the topline at address down through the 6-iron, but I don’t find this particularly distracting. The VR_S Cast features colors and design details featured in the rest of the original VR_S line. The stock shaft is a True Temper Dynalite 90 and the grip is Nike Tour Velvet by Golf Pride.
VR_S Forged: The VR_S Forged is the high-end offering of the three, featuring premium materials including Japanese forged stainless steel heads and Nippon steel shafts. These are truly beautiful irons, with great design and craftsmanship to the head design, which also includes subtle design details from the rest of the VR_S line. The VR_S Forged have a slight offset at address, a thinner top line than the cast version (the thinnest of the three actually), and they include a reduced version of the cavity back and Powerbow treatment on the back (you can see the Powerbow slightly at address through the 5-iron). The grip on the Nippon shaft is also a Golf Pride Nike Tour Velvet. This is the most expensive of the three, original price was $1,100 at retail and it’s still commanding $999 on several sites. This iron is the predecessor to this year’s Covert Forged iron.
VR_S Covert: The VR_S Covert irons were released last year, they are the next generation of the VR_S Cast irons and the predecessor to the VR_S Covert 2.0 Cast iron. This iron has the least game improvement appearance at address of the three irons. It has a slightly thicker top line than the VR_S Forged, but with the slightly rounded edges it appears thinner. You can’t see any of the game improvement technology in the cavity from the 5-iron on down, and it has a slightly thinner sole than the other two iron models. The polymer insert in the cavity features design details featured in the rest of the Covert line. The stock shaft is a True Temper Dynalite 90 and the grip is Nike Tour Velvet by Golf Pride.
FIRST IMPRESSION: PERFORMANCE
VR_S Cast: The VR_S Cast irons feature Nike’s NexCOR face technology, and the resulting distance gains are impressive — I gained 10-15 yards in distance throughout the set. These irons have a high launch angle and they make it very easy to get the ball in the air, both thanks to the Powerbow technology on the back. The VR_S Cast are very forgiving irons — the perimeter weighting helps mishit shots to hold their line and keep their distance, and the wide sole helps to get through the rough easily. Feel is not quite as good as the VR_S Forged or Covert, but the distance gains, forgiveness and high ball flight more than make up for that.
VR_S Forged: The VR_S Forged irons do not feature the NexCOR face technology (that is incorporated into the 2014 Covert Forged irons), but distance gains are still significant — I gained between 5 and 10 yards throughout the set. These irons have a mid to high ball flight, and they have forgiveness characteristics that are similar to the VR_S Cast. But the differentiating factor with these irons is the feel — these irons have a butter-soft feel due to the premium materials used in their construction (Japanese forged steel face and Nippon shaft). These irons are a pleasure to hit, and the distance gains and forgiveness are a bonus.
VR_S Covert: The VR_S Covert irons combine distance gains and forgiveness with a players iron profile at address. The NexCOR face gives me 10 yards extra throughout the set, ball flight is mid to high. The polymer insert in the back cavity and the perimeter weighting combine to give these irons incredible forgiveness. Feel is solid with these irons, not quite as good as the VR_S Forged but better than the Cast, and shaping shots is easy. The VR_S Covert is a game improvement iron without the full-on GI look — they look great at address, and perform even better.
VR_S Cast: Of the three irons, the Cast gave me the greatest increase in distance, 10-15 yards throughout the set. The NexCOR face on these irons is hot!
VR_S Forged: I gained 5-10 yards with the VR_S forged, not insignificant, although this was the least of the three irons as far as distance gained.
VR_S Covert: The NexCOR face in the Covert irons gave me a average of 10 yards extra distance per club throughout the set.
VR_S Cast: The Cast’s high ball flight gives a steep landing trajectory, allowing the ball to land softly. Although feel and control are good with these irons, they came in third in accuracy.
VR_S Forged: The buttery-soft feel gives a great sense of control over the ball, and I am able to be very accurate (at least for me) with these irons. The mid to high ball flight creates a penetrating trajectory combined with a soft landing.
VR_S Covert: As far as accuracy, the Covert irons have similar characteristics to the VR_S Forged — good feeling of accuracy and ability to get the ball close to the target, mid to high trajectory with a steep decent and soft landing.
VR_S Cast: While very long and extremely forgiving, the VR_S Cast irons came in third again in regards to the ability to work the ball and shape shots. Although I can move the ball with these irons, it wasn’t as easy as with the Forged or Covert.
VR_S Forged: The VR_S Forged excelled again in this area, the great feel allows me to create a variety of shots — hitting the ball high and low, and moving it left-to-right and right-to-left is a breeze with these irons.
VR_S Covert: Like the VR_S Forged, the Covert allows me to create a variety of shot shapes. High and low, left and right, however I want to move the ball, it’s easy to do so with the Covert irons.
VR_S Cast: This is an area where all three irons excel, but the VR_S Cast irons are especially forgiving. Mishit shots fly just about as far as shots struck in the middle of the face. The perimeter weighting keeps shots flying straight at the target and the wide sole and Powerbow technology make it extremely easy to get the ball in the air with these irons.
VR_S Forged: Like the Cast, the Forged are very forgiving, allowing mishits to fly straight and almost as long as shots that are struck well. The wide sole, Powerbow technology and Japanese forged steel face all combine to create a great feeling and very forgiving iron.
VR_S Covert: The Covert keeps pace in this area as well — the polymer insert and perimeter weighting on the back of the iron keep shots flying straight, and the NexCOR face technology helps shots hit towards the heel and toe to fly pretty much as far as shots hit purely.
VR_S Cast: The Cast irons surprised me here — because of their construction I thought these might have a little bit of a “plink” sound. But that isn’t the case, they have a distinctly pleasing “snap” at impact.
VR_S Forged: Same result with the Forged irons, the buttery feel at impact is accompanied by the same confident “snap” that the VR_S Forged produces.
VR_S Covert: Ditto here, the Covert irons produce the consistently solid “snap” at impact as the Cast and Forged irons.
In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with any of the three sets here (or from the look of them, the new Covert 2.0 or Covert Forged). But depending on your preference regarding overall looks and appearance at address, your playing ability and need for game improvement, and of course budget, each model has slightly different benefits to the player. Here’s a final summary of each to help you decide which set is right for you:
VR_S Cast: The VR_S Cast are true game improvement irons. These irons are engineered for distance gains and forgiveness, and although their feel for accuracy and control and the ability to shape shots is good, it’s not quite up to par with the VR_S Forged or Covert irons in that area. But if you’re looking for irons that will help you get the ball in the air, and give you extra distance and forgiveness in the process, these irons are what you’re looking for.
VR_S Forged: If you’re looking for a high-end iron constructed from premium materials (with the price tag to match) with a butter-soft feel at impact, look no further than the VR_S Forged. This iron has terrific feel and acoustics, and will also will give you a big boost in distance and forgiveness for mishit shots. The VR_S Forged is a premium game improvement iron with the feel and performance of a players iron.
VR_S Covert: The VR_S Covert is a game improvement iron with a players iron profile. Outstanding distance gains and amazing forgiveness combined with great feel and shot-shaping capability make this iron an outstanding performer. The technology that’s responsible for this iron’s great performance is hidden in the rear cavity (truly “covert”), giving the Covert iron the appearance of a player’s iron at address. If you’re looking for GI performance with a look of player’s iron, the Covert is the iron for you.
Do you have experience with any of the three set of irons above? If so, please share your experience in the comments below.
Editor’s note: The products reviewed above was supplied by the manufacturer to the reviewer/author free of charge for reviewing purposes only. The reviewer/author was not paid for this review, and the opinions expressed in the review are strictly those of the reviewer/author.
VR_S IRONS COMPARISON:
VR_S CAST IRONS:
VR_S FORGED IRONS:
VR_S COVERT IRONS: