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Nike Covert Drivers: Editor Review

by   |   March 14, 2013
nike red driver review
Nike Covert Drivers: Editor Review GolfWRX Staff
Performance
Looks and feel

Summary: Low spinning, straight and awesomely adjustable. Its cavity-back design will make it the most talked about driver in 2013.

4.5

Low spin and forgiveness


Pros: Thanks to their radical cavity back design (a.k.a. the large chunk missing from the rear portion of the sole), the Nike Covert and Covert Tour drivers less spin and are more forgiving than previous models. Surprisingly, they also have a very pleasing sound. Their adjustable hosel system, Flex Loft, is also one of the widest ranging and most intuitive in the industry.

Cons: Not everyone will love the shiny red paint and the white Nike Swoosh on their crown. Flex Loft is easy to use, but it’s not as fine-tuned as other systems, allowing only 1.5-degree changes in face angle (from neutral) and 1-degree adjustments through its 5-degree loft range. The drivers also lack a non-invasive way to adjust swing weight, which would have been nice to have.

The Takeaway: The Covert and Covert Tour drivers will be hard to beat for golfers who are looking to reduce spin without parting ways with forgiveness. That’s why for the first time, Nike will have non-Nike Golf fans interested in its driver. It’s cool, it’s adjustable and it’s long and straight.

Overview

Before Covert, we never had a reason to play a Nike driver.

EditorsChoice_13Sure, Tiger and the rest of the Nike Golf staff played one. But at GolfWRX, we tend to measure the success of equipment by the usage habits of golfers who are not getting paid to play certain equipment. For Nike drivers, that number was low.

We didn’t know what to say when we first saw the Nike VR_S Covert driver. Unlike the company’s position in some other sports, Nike is the new kid on the block in golf. And here they were in 2013 attempting to sell consumers a driver with one-third of its sole missing. And it was red. And it had a Swoosh on the crown. Were they crazy? Tiger was never going to hit that. But as the technology behind the Covert drivers began to leak out, we suddenly became very interested.

Performance

For years, industry leader TaylorMade has been touting its movement of the center of gravity lower and more forward in the head, which helps create the high-launch, low-spin conditions golfers need to optimize their launch angles. But there’s a problem with moving the weight really far forward in a driver head – it decreases MOI, or in layman’s terms, it makes a driver less forgiving.

2Y9G4284

 The cavity-back design removes the back-middle section of the sole, allowing Nike to bring perimeter weighting to the tee box.

That’s why the cavity-back design of the Covert drivers makes perfect sense. The removal of mass from the rear portion of the driver sole gave Nike engineers more discretionary weight to put in other places – not just forward, but in the rear corners as well, which boosts forgiveness.

nike driver

 The eye popping red crown and white Nike Swoosh will be the first thing golfers see, but the cavity on the bottom of the head is even more significant.

So even though the standard Covert driver measures 460 cubic centimeters and the Tour model measures 430, Nike’s slick engineering makes them play larger and faster than that.

Flex Loft

Nike’s adjustable hosel, called Flex Loft, allows golfers to adjust the loft from 8.5 degrees to 12.5 degrees, a five-degree range that’s as wide as any of the big boys. According Ray Sander, the Nike Golf engineer who was behind the Flex Loft system, it also has another huge benefit. Because Flex Loft is a dual-axis system, not a single-axis or quadrant system, it allows golfers to adjust their loft and face angles independently.

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 FlexLoft allows golfers to adjust loft and face angle independently.

Single-axis adjustable hosels, the ones used by all of Nike’s competitors, have an innate problem — when golfers add or subtract loft on those drivers, they also change the face angle. But different companies have found different ways around that problem.

nike driver 2013

 Covert drivers can be set to five different lofts (8.5 to 12.5) and a right, left or neutral face angle.

TaylorMade’s R1 driver has an adjustable dial on its sole that allows golfers to negate face angle effects by changing the orientation of the dial. Cobra created a specially designed section of the sole of its new AMP Cell drivers that allows the club to sit relatively square in all loft settings. But not all golfers sole their driver before they hit their tee shots, which can make TaylorMade’s adjustable dial a non-factor. And golfers who want a specific opened or closed setting with an AMP Cell driver can’t get it. According to Sander, however, it doesn’t matter if the club is soled or not because the Flex Loft system’s two sleeves work independently to keep face angle consistent during loft adjustments.

During face angle adjustments, the loft sleeve (the one closer to the club head) doesn’t move. But the upper sleeve and the shaft do, rotating the head 1.5 degrees to the right or 1.5 degrees to the left (from the neutral setting). During loft changes, the loft sleeve is the only one that moves, tilting the head forward (for less loft) and back (for more loft) without changing the face angle.

So does it work? Based on our FlightScope findings, it was hard to disprove. Our tester set the standard model of the Covert at 12.5 degrees in the right setting and watched his launch and spin numbers climb as high as 11.3 degrees with 3087 rpm of spin. At 8.5 degrees in the right setting, his launch was as low as 8.7 degrees with 2347 rpm of spin with a similar dispersion pattern.

Covert or Covert Tour?

The reason our tester hit the standard Covert (Nike calls it the “Performance” model) in the “right” setting is because Nike intended for it to have a a “square” face angle at address, not the opened look that many golfers with fast club head speeds prefer.

nike covert driver

The reason our tester hit the standard Covert (Nike calls it the “Performance” model) in the “right” setting is because Nike intended for it to have a a “square” face angle at address, not the opened look that many golfers with fast club head speeds prefer. With Nike’s Covert Tour driver, he didn’t have to adjust it to the right setting — the Tour has a face angle around 1.5-degrees open in the neutral setting, which gives golfers the ability to have the club face square or as much as 3-degrees opened if they wish.

covert driver review

According to Nike, the Covert Tour is about 0.75-degrees lower launching and spins about 300 rpm less than the standard model. Every player is going to get slightly different results from the different models, but Nike’s range is pretty close to what we saw on FlightScope.

The biggest factor for golfers who are choosing between the Covert and Covert Tour will be the size difference of the two heads. The Covert is 460 cubic centimeters, while the Covert Tour is 430. Thirty cubic centimeters doesn’t sound like a lot, but the Tour’s deeper, or taller face makes it look even smaller than what it measures — at first glance, it would be easy to mistake the Covert Tour for a large 3 wood. That difference in size and construction makes the tour model more workable, but far less forgiving than the non-Tour model.

tiger woods driver

Some golfers may gravitate toward the Tour model because of it’s black face and sole, which is much cleaner looking than the standard model, and also because it’s the one Rory McIlroy is playing. But unless they need the extremely low launch and low spin of the Covert Tour, most will be better off with the standard model.

Sound and feel

Both the Covert and Covert Tour drivers sound exactly the opposite of what we expected — traditional.

2Y9G4273

According to Tony Dabbs, a product line manager for Nike Golf, the drivers can look like they do and still sound normal because of a support structure at the edge of the cavity that looks like an I-beam and runs from the crown to the sole and helps quiet the sound.

nike covert red driver

Covert Tour Address image

“Think of a cowbell,” Dabbs said. “It’s hollow and makes a loud sound. But if you put a bolt through it, it ties things together and quiets things.”

Because of their different designs, the Covert Tour has a harsher-feeling, higher-pitched sound than the standard Covert, which feels softer and sounds quieter.

Final Thoughts

Golf’s ruling bodies have made it extremely difficult for equipment manufacturers to continue add yards to a golfer’s drives, which is why manufacturers are doing everything in their power to make their drivers as adjustable as possible.

2Y9G4302

Engineers aren’t finding as many yards in the lab as they used to, but there are plenty of yards left for the average golfer to find through proper fitting.

red nike driver

With Covert, Nike has given golfers all the adjustability they could want and something new as well — a driver that can be low spinning and forgiving.

The Covert comes with “real deal” stock shaft options, Mitsubishi Rayon’s Kurokage Black 50 in the standard model and a Kurokage Silver 60 in the Tour, making the VR_S Covert ($299) and the VR_S Covert Tour ($399) a lot of driver for the money.

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54 Comments

  1. Yokalow

    May 30, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    I just test drove the Nike Covert 2.0 at Golf Smith. Very nice grips feel and sound to it. At 8.5 it took me out to ~308yrds 110 swing speed at 13deg loft. I almost bought it except when I compared it to my 6.5 deg Adams, I was at a consistent 320-330yrds. This is all on computer screen so take that for what it is. Head speed on Adams ~110 with about 9.5-14 degree loft.

    +100 swing speed with an x-stiff shaft, you can’t go wrong. Not sure of the longevity of the adjustable head.

  2. Archie Aquino

    April 23, 2014 at 11:18 am

    I took the tour to the range to compare it against my driver (Nike VR Tour). The sound was really my first indication that it was different. My current driver already sounded “funny” compared to others, but this sounds like an aluminum bat. The next thing that caught my eye was the feel. I like my current driver but NCT launched the ball into the air without much effort. It caught me by surprise. A good surprise. I was able to shape my shots well and play with the trajectory very much like I do with my NVRT. My next step is to compare distances … it feels like I get a few more yards, but I haven’t quantified it yet.

  3. Chris

    March 9, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    I found this difficult to hit the first couple of rounds. 16 handicap. Very low trajectory. Nice deep ping impact sound. Stiff kuro kage 60g feels like a regular. Increased loft tonight from 10.5 to 11.5 so we shall see…

  4. Bobby

    February 20, 2014 at 12:28 am

    I ordered an new covert driver and it came yesterday. I took it to the course today and was very disappointed. I set the shaft to the 10.5 LOFT and set the face to left. I did not hit it straight not once. each time I used it the ball sliced. would like to know what to do. I weighed it and the swing weight is way different than my other clubs. this club had a swing weight of D5. My old driver which I hit pretty good has a swing weigh of D. I need some help with this Nike driver. help. It looks good but made me feel bad when the bad flew over into the opposite fairway.

    • sage Fitchko

      March 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      I have been hitting the covert for about 5 months and had the same problem at first. Mine was set at left 9.5 and would slice it off to the right. I fixed it by quitting golf

      • Paul Hauser

        May 31, 2014 at 9:58 pm

        Now THAT is the PERFECT ANSWER!! I got a job at Golfsmith recently, and I get free lessons. I had a terrible time slicing the ball. With the free lessons, I have learned to things to cure my slice. If you’re slicing the ball, it’s because you’re picking up the club on the backswing out to in. When you come back down it’s the same, so the ball spins to the right. To cure this, lift the club with your shoulders FIRST. NOT your arms. Make sure you turn your shoulders. Another issue I had is hitting the ball flat footed. My instructor suggested I hit the ball like Gary Player, taking a full step forward with my right foot on the downswing. These two things have made a major difference in the way I hit the ball.

  5. carl

    December 12, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    was in Golfsmith hitting the covert tour and ball was flying off head good flight, looked at setting and it was set at 8.5 and the shaft was x-stiff. I usually play regular shaft so I was surprised at how well the ball took off and climbed. Well try on course and see if it beats by x hot driver

  6. Brian stamps

    October 25, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Have the regular 460cc nike covert VRS driver, love it!

  7. John

    October 3, 2013 at 11:39 am

    “no your increasing a slice when its closed set it on open”??
    Can you elaborate a little?

    Why would ‘closing’ my face (settting to left) increase a ‘slice’ for a right-handed golfer?
    Wouldn’t I be kind of forcing a pull or hook to the left instead? Don’t see how I can be increasing a slice…

  8. johnny

    September 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    no your increasing a slice when its closed set it on open

  9. BRUCE

    September 20, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    IF I SET THE LOFT ON MY COVERT DRIVER TO 10.5 AND THE FACE ANGLE TO LEFT WILL THAT CLOSE THE FACE OF THE CLUB AND MINIMIZE MY SLICE . I AM RIGHT HANDED???

  10. Ajm

    September 19, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    I was a bit skeptical at first. I’m a 4 handicap and hitting it 20+ yards longer (apples to apples). The thing is an absolute sledgehammer coming through the ball. My mishits are 250 and if I catch it right I’m 280+. Give it a try, you won’t regret it.

  11. Les

    September 13, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    I have been playing an R11, one of my playing
    partners bought the Covert and said I needed to hit it.I loved it from the start and bought one my self.I now hit it longer straighter than ever definatly my best purchase.
    Now all my regular foursome bought them and we have all improved at our club we are now called Team Covert

  12. Pingback: Non-adjustable Nike Covert driver spotted – from Golfwrx.com | NG NATION — Nike Golf Fan Blog

  13. joe quinn

    July 17, 2013 at 5:08 am

    Great club, great results.

  14. joe quinn

    July 10, 2013 at 10:29 am

    just ordered the Nike 460. Is there much difference between the regular and stiff shaft that comes with the club? My swing speed is about 95mph. As long as anything I’ve ever tried but much more forgiving and gives me confidence over the ball. I play off 12 and am a leftie!Had no intention of changing from my Titliest 913d until I stumbled on the Nike 460!

    • mark

      September 2, 2013 at 10:33 pm

      If you have a swing speed above 89 mph it is recommended that you have a stiff shaft I have a swing speed of 109mph an find I cut anything less than a stiff if I was you I’d go hit the driver in a stiff an a regular an see what gives you the straighter an best balk flight

  15. j.a.

    June 28, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Although my Cleveland Launcher DST won my Nike Challenge by 30 yds., I was more consistent with the Covert. This convinced me to get it. It’s much better to have a shorter shot in the fairway than a long drive in the woods, water or out of bounds.

  16. Foz

    June 26, 2013 at 10:05 am

    I pulled the trigger on the Nike Covert Driver & 3 Wood. As the flight is much lower with the Kuro Kage shaft, it took a couple outings and adjustments to get it right. I am using the 12.5* Neutral setting with the following results. Steaight, Straight, Straight down the middle of the fairway. Long, Longer, than my Powerbilt AFO w/PX 5.0 shaft. Yesterday, I measured 220′s, 232′s 235 & a 243 yds. On the one short drive (184 yds. )I birdied the hole!

    And the 3 Wood….I am now consistently getting 200 yds. Yesterday I reached two Par 5′s in two! (Driver & 3 Wood).

    I am really having fun now!

  17. Cal

    June 16, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    I just ordered this club through an incentive program with Volkswagen. I am 55 and ordered the “Senior” staff. Being a limited part-time golfer,what is involved with getting the club “fitted”?

  18. Shakka

    June 15, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Just hit an entire rack of drivers at a golfsmith fitting. The last club I thought I’d buy or want is a Nike. I am a 220 and occasionally 240 knocker with a 10.5 degree burner. Somehow, with the fitters adjustment to 8.5 degrees, I was hitting 240 consistently but importantly with much tighter dispersion and 30% less spin. I love my burner but mistakes off the Tee was usually accompanied by high ball spin. When I hit off the toe with the Nike standard, I was surprised how forgiving this club was still hittin 210-220. The stats didnt lie after a solid hour of testing. I would have kept my burner had I not witnessed the tight dispersion, lower spin speed and extra distance. Get fitted before buying drivers. It is a science and everyone swings differently.

    • John

      June 18, 2013 at 11:47 pm

      Look if this doesn’t tell you to look into Covert I don’t know what will. I’m 16 and this thing 300 with 280 carry at the least. I am stronger than most but I NEVER hit anything like this! My only recommendation is to get fit with correct head and shaft. JUST DO IT! BUY IT!

  19. wink

    June 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    this club is even better than my callaway razor.
    best shots are similar but slight heel shots are amazing.
    I used it right away in club tournament team event and it
    was awesome. I lost zero accuracy and was 20 yards further
    on most holes than usual. great club. get it fitted by your pro though.

  20. Scott I

    June 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Tried all the drives in the demo rack at golfsmith today and the Nike Covert Tour performed far and away the best for me. Really strange considering that I’m a short knocker. Normally struggle to pop it out there 230 (80-90mph swing speed, 15 handicap), and the simulator showed that for virtually every other club. I had a few 245-252′s with this club. If it wasn’t for the $399 pricetag, I would have owned it today. Also, if golfsmith would have offered me more than $48 to trade in my 910D2… *sigh*.

  21. Mark L

    May 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    This new driver is the best Nike has ever made, I have all Nike equipment and I used to have the VR driver tiger uses. This driver is 15 yards longer with a better feel and the 3 wood is the best on the market, gained 20 yards switching to the 3 woods

  22. Tom Klintworth

    May 5, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Performance is great! problem is i have cracked two heads in 4 weeks

  23. dakota jones

    May 3, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Finally hit it at a demo day 150 ball speed, 258 carry, 1800 rpm, low side spin it a freaking keeper and I hate Nike golf Clubs

  24. Aaron Morris

    April 10, 2013 at 9:40 am

    This driver is very very surpising. It was every bit as long as my 9016d. Spin numbers were more consistent, dispersion and launch angle were tighter. Plush feel and sound and gave a few extra yards more then the Cally X-Hot. Most accurate for was the R1, Distance goes to Cally and Nike, all around game benefit goes to Nike.
    Any gripes about paint schemes is a failure to realize that “confidence” comes from knowing what to do with the body to move that club in your hands.

  25. Jtmcgk

    April 7, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    I was playing the Cobra ZL Encore when my so got me interested in this club. I’m only 42 but due to a bad snowboarding accident that required eleven total surgeries Four on the knees (I tore both ACL’s) and seven shoulder surgeries all on the left shoulder that culminated in having it replaced twice (I’m right handed). Before the crash I played to a two, thirteen years after the crash I’m back down to a seven. My issue is distance off the tee. I’m a 235-260 guy and it killls me. I’ve found that my average drive distance has increased by about twelve yards. Realistically I was avg. 245 of the tee now I’m close to 260. Its huge. The club is fantastic. I’ve got the performance and to be able to adjust loft and face angle is great. I’m very impressed. I replaced the stock shaft with an Adila PROTO vs. love it. Bravo Nike

  26. kirk

    April 7, 2013 at 8:04 am

    went to nike golf covert challenge, best I counldnt get under 3000spin,
    8.5,xstiff kuro kage. my numbers were 115 club head, 160 ball speed, 295 distance, 3100-3000 was lowest spin

    • Stocksie

      May 19, 2013 at 1:42 am

      Got the same numbers with the same loft, but my spin was even higher with the TM drivers. Maybe it was you steep swing?

  27. Andy B

    March 24, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Nike had a rep at the range in Glasgow today doing a distance challenge. I ended up trading in my Razr Fit 9.5 for the Nike 460 set to neutral and to me, a surprising 11.5. Distance with my new Nike is more consistently long, although my best shots were similar with both, but what sold me was the tight dispersion and how straight it was on off centre hits. I play off 8 at a super tight Scottish links course, but at 6’4″ my naturally steep swing path can result in the odd, very destructive wild one. I can’t wait to hit more fairways in my next round!!

  28. Bill Henwood

    March 20, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    This design was first developed for the Toney Penna Innovator and then again for for the Nicklaus N-1 driver in 1992. I knew it worked then and it works now.

  29. Ed L

    March 20, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I’m not a fan of this trend for OEMs to use the crown of the clubhead for their branding. It’s distracting and makes the clubs look cheap. Offering different colors is one thing, adding distrtacting graphics is another. If OEM’s are trying to sell customization, give me the option to buy the latest technology that has a clubhead not designed for NASCAR. I’m sure golf shops doing club refinishing will see record revenues this year.

    • michael

      March 20, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      then don’t buy the club. I hate the Taylormade R1 and all that other crap they put out so I decided to stick w/ my Titleist 905R. However, when the Covert came out I had to have one. That thing is beautiful and more people would agree than not.

    • Jack

      April 5, 2013 at 1:40 am

      News flash: people like it. They are buying it. You are in the minority so I would doubt that the club refinishing would get any more than normal.

    • JK

      July 8, 2013 at 7:32 pm

      Ed, you are supposed to be keeping your head down and eye on the golf ball not on the club head
      ….how is the swoosh distracting you?

  30. Ken

    March 20, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Is this cavity as radical as Nike would have us believe? In a driver maybe! Sonartec had cavities in their hybrids and fairway woods over a decade ago………………….

    • willM

      March 20, 2013 at 11:53 am

      Which is why I still use my sonartec 3-wood to this day. No wood to date has matched it for forgiveness, flight characteristics, and workability. Mitsubishi shaft a little stiff, but it flies!

      • Jack

        April 5, 2013 at 1:37 am

        Yup still love my royal collection (japanese version same technology) 3 and 5 woods. I think they are more than 10 yrs old now! Have some fujikura i think 757s in there. Best ROI on any club that I’ve owned!

    • willyboy

      March 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      Whats a Sonartec? Under water radar system?

  31. Internet Marketing Miami

    March 17, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Just got this golf club for my birthday. Can’t wait to take out clients on the course and show it off!

  32. Cory Collins

    March 17, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Article says Nike has the only dual axis system. Isn’t the titleist fitting system dual axis?

    • michael

      March 18, 2013 at 12:39 am

      yes however it’s worthless in my opinion because when you change the loft +1.5 for example, you change the face angle to closed

  33. Kris

    March 17, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    I’ve got the Performance with the Tour KK Silver 60g X shaft. Set at 11.5° and open for now. Hit on the range a few times, and while it’s not easy to draw or fade on demand, it can be done. Normally though, it just goes dead straight for me. Beats my old power draw!

  34. G

    March 16, 2013 at 4:21 am

    It’s really very poorly manufactured. They used some cheap epoxy, and the badging inside the cavity will fly out after a little bit of use. Be warned.

  35. Pingback: VR_S Covert Review from Golfwrx.com | NG NATION — Nike Golf Fan Blog

  36. Chris Voshall

    March 15, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Actually moving weight back in the head of a driver increases MOI and forgiveness…big time. Just sayin’

    • Ian

      March 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      That’s what he’s saying.

    • Jacob

      March 15, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      I think that’s what was being said about forward weight decreasing MOI than back weight for MOI. Are you the Mizuno Chris Voshall by the way???

  37. Mark H

    March 15, 2013 at 9:51 am

    FYI, the Kurokage Silver 60 shaft has no up-charge in the Covert Performance model. I’ve got this setup at 11.5 degrees neutral cut down to 44.5″ and it just bombs!

  38. GEORGE STEEN

    March 14, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    nice looking deepfaced driver beat that hideous new r-1

    • Darrell

      June 28, 2013 at 3:53 am

      Just bought the new covert. Great club diffently worth th money. Bad shots stay straighter and added distance. Plenty on confidence on the tee box with this in hand

    • Francisco de Carvalho

      September 12, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      After reading all reviews i decided to buy the VR_S Covert Tour; im a 28 handicap! I played yesterday on Ocean Club in Nassau and i had the best time in my life!!! Out 18 hols i hit 16 straight on the green for the first time in my 3 years of golf. This driver teach you how to play and sounds amazing. Very happy with my investment.

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