From Golf Magazine ClubTest 2013 (March 2013)
Nike VR_S Covert Tour Driver
Category: Tour Drivers
WE TESTED: 9.5°, 10.5° with Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage Silver 60 graphite shaft
DISTANCE: Faster swingers see distance gains due to a reduction in spin compared to their current driver; doesn’t lose a whole lot of distance on misses.
ACCURACY/FORGIVENESS: Good, consistent results across the face; easy to hit straight— forgives minor transgressions; not a lot of sidespin.
FEEL: Muted, muffled thud-like sensation on contact is improved over prior Nike drivers; Kuro Kage shaft plays like a stable, lowtorque shaft that’s more stout than a lot of others.
PLAYABILITY: Testers hit penetrating drives, with a fairly straight shot pattern and a lower than normal trajectory; tunable to any settings desired.
LOOK: The majority of guys like its red color—it’s like a custom paint job on a hot rod; the 430cc head has a small “Covert” alignment aid that settles nicely behind the ball; cavity is out of view at address.
The overall cosmetic package has detractors—the red head can be a distraction, the white Nike swoosh on the crown looks tilted and there’s a big hole on the sole; ball flight is too low for some players, even in higher loft settings; lacks a dynamic, lively, crushed-it feel; a few testers find there are more workable drivers.
BOTTOM LINE: Very good option for high-launch, high-spin players who need to bring flight down to optimize performance.
HOT STIX'S TAKE
Very low launch and spin in all loft settings.
Nike VR_S Covert Driver
Category: Game-Improvement Drivers
WE TESTED: 10.5° with Mitsubishi Kuro Kage graphite shaft
DISTANCE: Many testers say they get more than ample distance; a few guys describe it as a standout.
ACCURACY/FORGIVENESS: Quite forgiving across the face -- dispersion on solid hits is very tight for most guys; distance loss on off-center hits is minimal.
FEEL: Several testers say it’s the best feeling Nike driver to date -- solid, powerful, and stable, with a lower-pitched, more pleasing sound than previous models.
PLAYABILITY: Medium to high trajectory works well for most players and is described as “penetrating” by a few; moderate workability allows for subtle shot shaping; a few guys are blown away by what you can accomplish with the adjustability features.
LOOK: Deep red color instills confidence at address; some say the head is more compact than other 460cc models.
A bit harder to turn over than a few other models; some testers seek greater distance; odd-looking sole cavity and red color is off-putting to some.
BOTTOM LINE: An impressive all-around performer that provides a solid combination of feel, accuracy and playability.
HOT STIX'S TAKE
Launch: Low to mid
Spin: Low to mid
Low-launch, low-spin head geared toward mid-handicappers.
From Golf.com, November 2012
While the red crown of the Nike VR_S Covert Performance and VR_S Covert Tour drivers will draw a lot of attention, it's what's under the hood that everyone is going to be talking about.
The back-middle section of the sole has been removed, leaving the crown hanging over, well, nothing. The dramatic design is Nike’s way of bringing perimeter weighting, which has long been popular in putters and irons, to the tee box.
"What that enabled us to do is produce a slightly higher MOI [moment of inertia]," says Robert Boyd, Innovation Team Leader for metal woods and irons at Nike Golf. "It also helped us move the center of gravity a little more forward, which produces a slightly more boring ball flight. We're really trying to push the limits of distance and forgiveness on this driver."
By having more mass in the heel and toe areas, the Covert drivers should resist twisting more effectively on off-center hits and allow you to hit the ball straighter, more often.
In addition, these clubs feature Nike's updated adjustable hosel that not only lets you to pre-set the Covert drivers to have a right, left or neutral face angle at address, but also to set the loft between 8.5° and 12.5°.
"With these two technologies, you can really dial in your ball flight," Boyd says. "[Golfers] can really hit it into the window they're looking for."
The NexCor face that debuted in last season's VR_S drivers has been carried over to the Covert drivers. By making the edges of the face thinner than the center, Nike says that the sweet spot is enlarged and slight mis-hits will maintain ball speed more effectively.
With a 460-cc head and silver-toned face, the VR_S Covert Performance is designed to be slightly more forgiving and have a higher ball flight than the 430-cc VR_S Covert Tour edition, which has a black face.
The Covert Tour's smaller head and deeper face are designed to help better players shape their tee shots more easily. The weight plug in the sole of the Covert Tour driver helps Nike optimize the center of gravity and is not adjustable or removable.
Both drivers will come standard with a low-torque Mitsubishi Diamana Kura Kage shaft. When they arrive in pro shops in late-January of 2013, look for the VR_S Covert Performance driver to cost $299 and the Tour version to cost $399.
RELATED: Buy Nike VR_S Covert | VR_S Covert Tour on golf.com