FIRST LOOK PICS: Nike Golf Covert 2.0 Hybrid

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Along with the Covert 2.0 5-wood that arrived earlier this week, Nike Golf sent me the 23-degree 4-hybrid to test out. I’ll be taking this great-looking club to the range and the course to do just that in the coming days, but I didn’t want to wait to post pics of it on the blog, so I’m doing that here. The hybrid has the same design elements and color scheme as the Covert 2.0 driver and fairway woods, and it has the same great confidence-inspiring profile at address. And even better, we’re giving one of these Covert 2.0 hybrids away after next week’s Fantasy Four :: Zurich Classic to the mid-season leader in the NGN 2014 Fantasy Four league on pgatour.com!

I can’t wait to see what this club can do on the course, but until I can post my review here on NGN, the pics in the gallery below will have to do. Enjoy!

 

FIRST LOOK PICS: Nike Golf Covert 2.0 Fairway Wood

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Earlier this week a box arrived on my front porch, and inside was one of Nike Golf’s new Covert 2.0 fairway woods. Nike Golf sent me the 19-degree 5-wood to test and review, which I will be doing in the days and weeks to come. This is a great looking club (just like the Covert 2.0 driver), with the striking red metallic finish on the crown, silver sole plate and white tour wrap grip. Out of the box it looks great at address, and I can’t wait to see how it performs at the range and out on the course. I’ll report on my findings after I’ve put the Covert 2.0 5-wood through its paces, but until then check out the pics in the gallery below.

Deal: Nike VRS Covert and Covert Tour Driver at Rock Bottom Golf for $149

This deal from Rock Bottom Golf is amazing – get a Covert Tour or a Covert Performance driver for $149! In Ladies and Left-handed too!

I have no affiliation with RBG, I am just a big fan of this driver and an even bigger fan of sharing a good deal with you all. I am currently playing the Covert Tour shaft in the Covert Performance head and it is an absolutely amazing combination for me.

Click here while supplies last

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Nike Golf VR_S Covert 2.0 Driver

VR_S_COVERT_2_DRIVER_SLDR_PPT_25415Last 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 woodhybrid 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:

DISTANCE
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).

TRAJECTORY
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.

ACCURACY
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.

PLAYABILITY
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.

FORGIVENESS
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.

ACOUSTICS
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.

SUMMARY
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.

Read Nike Golf’s press release about the VR_S Covert 2.0 Driver >>

Buy the VR_S Covert 2.0 Driver on nikegolf.com >>

Watch the video about Nike Golf’s new Fly-Brace Technology on their YouTube Channel >>

Watch the “Play In The Now” Covert 2.0 Driver TV spot >>

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.

Remember to Check Your Lofts

Hi all, just wanted to share some words of wisdom, as my recent club mishap may result in you avoiding the same fate. You see, I’ve had some difficultly hitting my VR Pro Combo 3 iron and 4 iron well, so I was looking for something more forgiving. After swapping out my 3 and 4 iron for the 3 and 4 iron in my original Pro Combo set, which had bigger grooves and a bigger face, I thought I had my problems solved.

But then I thought swapping to something with a lighter graphite shaft might help me out even more and so recently I bought a VR_S 3 iron with a Fubuki graphite stiff shaft. It certainly looks more forgiving and is light as a feather, but what I should have done before buying the club was check the lofts!

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Why check the lofts?

Currently, I play a hybrid at 19*, a VR Pro Combo 3 iron at 21*, and a VR Pro Combo 4 iron at 24*.

When I received by VR_S 3 iron I realized that it was a lot longer (40.25″ vs. 39″) but was most startling was that the loft on my VR_S 3 iron was 18* vs. the Pro Combo’s 21*! My 2 iron hybrid now has a degree HIGHER loft than my new VR_S 3 iron!

To explain in simpler terms, my old loft progression went: 19 > 21 >24

Now, if I put my brand new club in play it will go: 19 > 18 > 24

So my advice is, before you buy any club, be sure to check the lofts so you don’t find yourself in the same situation as I am in!

Nike Reveals New RZN “Play in the Now” Spots

- Nike Golf’s newest ad pokes fun at golfers too stubborn to make the switch to innovative golf ball technology  -

Nike Golf is introducing a 60-second ad showcasing Nike’s new line of RZN golf balls featuring its proprietary Speedlock Core technology. The spot is the second in Nike’s new “Play in the Now” campaign, a series of TV spots that takes a humorous but pointed jab at golfers who are afraid to try new technology and, as such, reject advancements in innovation.

The newest ad, which airs on March 16, showcases a crew of comical characters who pledge their allegiance to an array of antiquated golf ball models like featheries, gutties, wound and solid rubber cores, and express their concerns that Nike’s new RZN core will “ruin the game.” The spot will air on ESPN in the U.S., and will also air in Canada, United Kingdom, Japan and Korea.

With a clear inference that Nike Golf’s innovations represent today’s leading edge of golf equipment, “Play in the Now” takes a snapshot journey through the different eras of golf technology. It makes a stark distinction between the change-fearing golfers of yesteryear and what it takes to move the sport forward.

Accompanying the main 60-second spot are 15-second vignettes featuring characters from different decades who can’t seem to wrap their heads around industry-transforming RZN technology.

More spots highlighting Nike Golf’s latest technologies will be aired in the coming months to complement the campaign. 

 

Nike RZN Speedlock Technology

Nike Golf’s new RZN Platinum, RZN Black, RZN Red and RZN White golf balls are designed to deliver more distance, better feel and a more consistent, stable ball flight than ever before.

Featuring Nike’s proprietary Speedlock RZN core technology,an interlocking core design – the core’s surface is similar to that of a waffle iron – interconnects with the compression layer to form a tighter bond that helps promote better energy transfer through the layers at impact.  Similar to how snow tires utilize aggressive treads to bond with a road surface, the Speedlock core’s interlocking geometry helps eliminate the slipping that normally occurs between a traditional, smooth-surface core and the outer layer. Speedlock Technology helps to harness more energy between layers for faster ball speed, longer distance and more stability into the wind.

“The development of the new interlocking core design has allowed us to pull maximum of the energy out of the existing RZN core,” says Rock Ishiii, Senior Director, Golf Product Development. “Working in partnership with DuPont we were able to develop a softer and faster RZN material and created the interlocking core design to reduce energy loss at impact. That means more distance, especially with fairway woods, irons and wedges, and softer feel and sound around the greens.”

Several Nike Golf athletes, including Rory McIlroy, Russell Henley and Suzann Pettersen, have posted victories with the new ball since putting it into play last fall.

All four models of the Nike RZN golf balls are now available on Nike.com and select retailers. The new Nike RZN Recommender tool helps golfers find the RZN golf ball that best fits their specific needs. 

 

The 2014 Nike RZN line:
•   RZN Platinum: Tour Performance control and moderate spin
•   RZN Black: Tour Performance distance and lower spin
•   RZN Red: Distance Performance, longer carry
•   RZN White: Distance Performance and softer feel for a wide range of swing speeds

Editor’s Note: The post above is from a press release from Nike Golf.

Nike Golf Wants to Know: What’s Your RZN?

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- New Nike RZN Recommender tool helps golfers choose the best RZN golf ball for their game -

More distance, softer feel, less spin, more spin – there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to golf balls. That’s the idea behind the new Nike RZN Recommender, a digital tool that helps golfers find the RZN golf ball – Nike RZN Black, Nike RZN Platinum, Nike RZN Red or Nike RZN White – that best fits their specific needs.

The Nike Golf ball team tapped into feedback from in-person ball fittings to craft a range of simple questions for users to answer: What’s your average score? What is your club head speed? Stay within the fairway or slice and hook? What is your ball flight? What do you want out of your approach shots? Based on users’ responses, the tool doesn’t just tell golfers which Nike RZN ball is best for them — it tells them why.

“Different golfers have different needs when it comes to the ball they should be playing,” says Mike Pai, Global Product Director, Golf Balls & Bags. “There’s a RZN for everybody – whether you’re a beginner or have been playing the sport your whole life, the RZN Recommender is a great tool that utilizes a strategic, streamlined approach to make sure you have the right ball in your bag, and help you understand why it will help your golf game.”  

Users can purchase the ball recommended for them right on the spot. All four models are now available on Nike.com and at select retailers.

Every ball in Nike’s 2014 RZN line features Nike’s proprietary Speedlock RZN core technology, created with an interlocking core design that helps promote better energy transfer between the layers at impact for faster ball speed, longer distance and more stability into the wind.

A new spin-optimized coating on the outer surface of the ball helps grip the grooves for better control on wedge and iron shots. All four models feature a softer cover and softer compression in the core to help provide improved sound and feel, especially on off-center shots.

The 2014 Nike RZN line:

  • RZN Platinum: Tour Performance control and moderate spin
  • RZN Black: Tour Performance distance and lower spin
  • RZN Red: Distance Performance, longer carry
  • RZN White: Distance Performance and softer feel for a wide range of swing speeds

 Editor’s Note: The post above is from a press release from Nike Golf.

FIRST LOOK: Nike RZN Golf Balls

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A few weeks back Nike Golf sent me a sampler pack of their new RZN golf balls, which included a sleeve of each of the four RZN models: Black, Platinum, Red and White. I’ve yet to test these on the course yet, but I’ve putted with the Black and Platinum and they feel great coming off the putter face. After I’ve had a chance to test them on the course I’ll update you here on NGN, but in the gallery below are pics of each model. Here’s a quick description of each ball (from the packaging):

RZN Black
Four-piece ball with tour-level distance and performance with lower spin for higher to moderate swing speeds.

RZN Platinum
Four-piece ball with tour-level control and performance with mid-spin control for higher to moderate swing speeds.

RZN Red
Three-piece ball that’s faster with longer carry and distance performance for moderate to lower swing speeds.

RZN White
Three-piece ball that’s longer with softer feel and distance performance for moderate to lower swing speeds.

Find out what RZN ball is for you

With four new RZN balls now out, I began to wonder which one was for me. I tweeted Nike Golf and fortunately they promptly got back to me and let me know of this “RZN Recommender” which is exactly what I needed. According to the recommender, I need the RZN Platinum and I will be heading to the store to get a box once the snow melts.

Find out which one is for you here.

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Nike Golf at the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show

RZN BallI had the opportunity to visit and walk the floors of the 61st anniversary of the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida. I was able to walk and talk with David Pearce at the Nike booth, and he took me to each area of the Nike products. We started off at the new Method putters, and personally I like the new grip by Winn on the putter line. David mentioned that you can of course purchase the normal Winn grip, but the Nike Method logoed grip should be available March 1st for ordering.

Then we moved over to the Covert 2.0 line of products. The new technology has been updated for 2014, and the launch dates for the products have also been moved up. Again, I really like the Golf Pride grips, which gives a “tackier” feel. Also, to see the new grinds on the wedges in person makes sense what they are trying to accomplish. They were really redesigned with the player’s suggestions in mind over the past year.

David then took me around to see the new golf balls. He told me that the lifespan of the 20Xi was supposed to be another year, but with the response from the players during testing it was pushed up. David told me that he hears people are calling it the “Nike” Rzn, but people at Nike felt that this technology made such an impact that it earned the right to be called SWOOSH RZN. That is why on the box, it leads with the Swoosh. The models of the ball are the Platinum and Black, which is a four piece ball. For me, Nike has the Red and White Swoosh RZN which is a three piece ball. David said that a lot of time and thought was actually put into the packaging. They wanted to make it easier for the average or new golfer to distinguish which ball best suited them. There are two distinct new formulas for the balls, which will make the cores harder or softer depending on the ball used. Tiger used the Platinum in the fall event against Rory in the China exhibition, and is still experimenting to hopefully put it into play.

We then went to see some of the apparel, and they had on display Tiger’s U.S. Open script, as well as Rory’s Masters scripting. They also had on display the update to some of their layering pieces including the HyperAdapt jacket. It comes in two models, a wind and a storm fit comparable version. The Hyperadapt is a third layer piece, to go over a polo and a pull over. It was inspired by Nike’s latest running wear. It is very lightweight and moves with the natural motion of the body with 360 degree stretching. David told me this jacket has already been used this year, but NOT by the players. It was used at one of the west coast tournaments by the crews in charge of the signage. The manager of the crew had two people wearing the jacket, and they were the only two who were dry and warm. The manager of the signs crew came to Nike to fit his entire team with the jacket.

Also, I was seeing some color in the women’s golf gloves, and there’s the possibility we may see that in men’s later in the year. One thing that really stood out amongst most of the apparel is more color. Expect to see the tour a bit brighter this year, along with some great things to match up accessory-wise in belts and vision. The inspiration for all the color came from Jelly beans. Spirit Leatherworks did well displaying its products with FREE jellybeans. I loved the colors and also some new belt buckle designs.

My personal favorite was the shoes! I am a sneaker head, even in golf shoes. A big call out to me is the update to the Lunar Swingtip and Women’s Duet. In last year’s model the outsole had the pods indented into the shoe, but this year’s model has them extended past the outsole. This gives help to being engaged with the ground, and being sturdier with the platform. Also, the men’s Swingtip was redesigned with input from some of Nike’s SB or skateboarding designers. The model shown will also include a Cork insole. It is slated for a July release, along with a few more color schemes and shoes as well.

At the end I asked David with new apparel and new shoes being launch mid year, was there anything in the works equipment-wise we can expect to see. David’s quote to me was, “Though I cannot officially comment on anything new, there might be a surprise coming before the U.S. Open.” So, we might have something special to look forward to later this year!