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Nike VR_S Covert Fairway Woods: Editor Review

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Pros: We love the adjustability of the VR_S Covert Tour fairway woods ($249), which gives golfers five different lofts and three different face angles to choose from. That makes them the most adjustable fairway woods you can buy. The Covert Tour is lower spinning and less forgiving than Nike’s non-adjustable standard model, the VR_S Covert ($199), but both models are pretty forgiving for their sizes.

Cons: They’re not quite as long as their competitors — notably Callaway’s X Hot or TaylorMade’s RBZ Stage 2 fairway woods — because they’re not as low spinning. Some golfers who fit into the standard model will be bummed that it lacks adjustability.

Bottom Line: The adjustability of the Covert Tour fairway woods makes them great for tinkerers — golfers who want to use their 3 woods as a second driver one day and a second-shot club the next. Most PGA Tour players have gravitated toward the standard model, which is higher spinning, more forgiving and has a softer, quieter sound. Both models come with “real deal” Mitsubishi Rayon Kurokage shafts, making them a lot of fairway wood for the money.

Overview

Nike’s VR_S Covert and Covert Tour fairway woods feature the same cavity-back technology as Nike’s VR_S Covert drivers, which allowed engineers to increase the amount of perimeter weighting to make the clubs more forgiving. They also have Nike’s NexCor steel faces, which Nike says creates longer shots across a wider area of the face.

The standard, or “Performance” model, comes in two lofts: 3 wood (15 degrees) and 5 wood (19 degrees) with a Mitsubishi Rayon’s Kurokage Black 60 shaft in regular, stiff and x-stiff flexes. Check out the specs below.

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 Above: Nike Covert “Performance” 5 wood.

Covert 3 Wood (15 degrees)

  • Club Head Size: 181 cubic centimeters
  • Length: 43 inches
  • Lie: 57 degrees
  • Face angle: 1.5 degrees open
  • Head weight: 214 grams
  • Swing weight: D1 to D3

Covert 5 wood (19 degrees)

  • Club Head Size: 160 cubic centimeters
  • Length: 42 inches
  • Lie: 58 degrees
  • Face angle: 1.5 degrees open
  • Head weight: 218 grams
  • Swing weight: D1 to D3

The Covert Tour is also available in two models — 3 wood and 5 wood. But Nike’s FlexLoft system gives each model five different loft settings and three independent face angle settings: N or neutral, which sets up square, R or right, which opens the face 1.5 degrees and L or left, which closes the face 1.5 degrees.

nike covert fairway

Above is the Nike Covert 3 wood crown

They come stock with Mitsubishi’s Kurokage Silver 70 shafts, which are lower launching and lower spinning than the Kurokage Black shafts, and are available in regular, stiff and x-stiff flexes.

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Covert 3 Wood Sole (Cavity) Photo above

Covert Tour 3 Wood (13 to 17 degrees)

  • Club Head Size: 194 cubic centimeters
  • Length: 43 inches
  • Lie angle: 58 degrees
  • Face angle (in neutral): 1 degree open
  • Head weight: 214.5 grams
  • Swing weight: D3 to D5

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Above photos is the Covert Tour 3 wood Face

Covert Tour 5 wood (17 to 21 degrees)

  • Club Head Size: 177 cubic centimeters
  • Length: 42 inches
  • Lie angle: 59 degrees
  • Face angle (in neutral): 1 degree open
  • Head weight: 224.5 grams
  • Swing weight: D3 to D5

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Above: Nike Covert Tour 5 wood.

Performance

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Above: The Covert Tour (left) has Nike’s FlexLoft system, giving it 15 different possible loft and face angle settings. 

According to Nike Product Line Manager Tony Dabbs, the Covert Tour is about 300 to 400 rpm lower spinning, and about 0.75 degrees lower launching than the standard version for PGA Tour players. Neither model is going to be as low spinning as Callaway’s X Hot or TaylorMade’s RBZ Stage 2 fairway woods, two of the longest fairway woods that we’ve tested, but Dabbs said that was by design.

“We have issues with a lot of our tour players hitting 3 wood too far,” Dabbs said. “They’re not looking for a 330-yard 3 wood.”

Dabbs said that the faces of the Covert fairway woods are just as hot as the leaders, but that the company decided to make this version of fairway woods with a little more spin and a higher launch to give golfers more playability and control.

Click here to watch a video on why Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods play the Performance model of the Nike Covert fairway woods.

For golfers with less swing speed, or those who have trouble hitting their fairway woods high enough, the standard head will make sense. It’s smaller, has a shallower face, and comes with a higher-launching, higher spinning shaft. Players who are looking to reduce spin will favor the Covert Tour, which is larger, has a deeper face, and has a shaft that will offer a more penetrating trajectory.

Golfers who fit in-between the heads will likely be more concerned with appearance and adjustability, which could play a bigger role than launch monitor numbers.

The FlexLoft system on the Covert Tour is a game changer for golfers who have struggled to get the correct loft and face angle combination in their fairway woods. In most models, lowering the loft means opening the face angle, while raising the loft means closing the face angle. The Covert Tour allows golfers to change the face angle independently of loft, meaning that regardless how the loft is set they can still get an opened, closed or neutral face angle at address.

Keep in mind that while the primary purpose of changing the face angle of a club is to influence the starting line of a shot (opened faces start the ball more right, closed faces start the ball more left), those adjustments will also influence dynamic loft — the actual loft of the part of the club that hits the ball at impact. For example, if a club has a more opened face angle, golfers will be forced to rotate the club more closed to square the club face at impact. This will reduce dynamic loft, resulting in a lower launch and lower spin. The opposite is true of closed face angles.

The nice thing about the Covert Tour fairway woods is that unless a golfer is at the upper or lower end of the loft range, he or she can bump the loft up or down to dial in the proper amount of launch and spin for their face angle setting.

Looks/Feel

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Above: The Covert fairway woods at address. Notice the bigger hosel on the Tour model (right). 

The Covert Tour fairway wood is slightly bigger in every respect than the standard model. It starts with the FlexLoft hosel, which had to be made bigger than standard hosels to accomodate the dual-axis mechanism that makes independent loft and and lie adjustments possible. The face is also taller, which will add confidence when the ball is teed up. But it could scare lower swing speed players when they try to hit the club off the ground. It also has a higher-pitched, louder sound than the standard model, which feels a little harsher on mishits.

Both clubs have the same red crown Nike Swoosh logo, but the Tour model has a black finish on the face and the sole that we think makes it look more stealthy.

The Takeaway

The Covert fairway woods aren’t longest fairway woods on the market, but they’re certainly one of the most forgiving — especially the Performance model. Better golfers who want a new fairway wood they can play straight off the rack will enjoy the Covert Tour, which has a stout stock shaft option and enough adjustability to get most golfers the results they want.

Gearheads might be tempted to do what many tour players have done — experiment with heavier, low-spin shafts in in the Performance head. That could ultimately give them the best of both worlds, meaning they could end up with a club that allows them to hit high, low-spin bombs from the tee, fairway and light rough. Of course, the Performance head doesn’t have the face angle or loft adjustability that comes with the tour head, so they better like the way the club looks at address.

Check out more photos of the Covert and Covert Tour fairway woods below, and click here to see what members are saying about the clubs in the forums. 

 

Click here to see what members are saying about the clubs in the forums.

 

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GolfWRX is the world's largest and best online golf community. Expert editorial reviews, breaking golf tour and industry news, what to play, how to play and where to play. GolfWRX surrounds consumers throughout the buying, learning and enrichment process from original photographic and video content, to peer to peer advice and camaraderie, to technical how-tos, and more. As the largest online golf community we continue to protect the purity of our members opinions and the platform to voice them. We want to protect the interests of golfers by providing an unbiased platform to feel proud to contribute to for years to come. You can follow GolfWRX on Twitter @GolfWRX and on Facebook.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. dr.eva steinharter

    Dec 20, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    is it true that nike is discontinuing ladies covert
    fairways-woods?

  2. MCM

    Aug 22, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    ?????

  3. Robert

    Jun 10, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    Great review. I’m killing the 3 wood tour. Off the deck or tee its going in the bag now. Sits perfect on the ground and Nike has done an excellent job with this years metal woods.

  4. Sam

    Jun 2, 2013 at 10:10 am

    I never thought I’d own a Nike golf club. After I tried just about every 3 wood at my club this year, I liked the Nike Covert Tour the best.
    It might not be as long as the X-Hot or the Rocketballz but that can be attributed to the fact the shaft is an inch shorter.

    • Adam

      Jun 7, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      I agree Sam. I went to Dicks saying I would never buy a Nike club. But after hitting all the drivers it came down to the nike and the rocketballz. I Choose Nike. I liked the adjust-ability which ultimately gave me straighter drives. The Nike is registered an average of 109 club speed and the rocketballz was 111-12 for me. Oh, and they finally fixed the sound of the nike club. Its very nice.

  5. Pingback: Nike VR_S Covert Fairway Woods: Editor Review – GolfWRX | Golf Products Reviews

  6. Jack

    May 31, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Crap clubs for the junior wannabes at the local muni. Real players learned a long time ago that Nike retail is junk.

    • Scott

      Jun 1, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Ignorant comment Jack.

      • Harry

        Sep 16, 2013 at 6:36 am

        Jack, try telling the best player in the world that his clubs are junk.

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Equipment

What GolfWRXers are saying about the best “5-woods under $125”

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@golfexchangeapp

In our forums, our members have been discussing 5-woods, with WRXer ‘gary3aces’ looking for a 5-wood for between $100 and $125. He’s looking to replace his current “M2 5 wood with something a little easier to hit”, and our members have been discussing the best options in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • C6 Snowboarder: “Take a look at a used Callaway Heavenwood in the Epic Flash model = pretty Friggen sweet. It is Heaven!”
  • Golf64: “Bang for the buck, hard to beat Cobra, but find Ping one of the easiest to hit off the deck. Since you are limited in the funds dept., maybe an older model Ping 5W would do the trick?!”
  • tilasan1: “G400 7 wood turned down or just use it as is.”
  • jbandalo: “Fusion fairways. Highly underrated, cheap, easy to hit and go for miles.”
  • RyanBarathWRX: “PING G fairway would be hard to beat and easily in price range:
  • Nelson.br.1515: “Another vote for the Callaway Big Bertha Fusion. Great stick!”

Entire Thread: Best 5-woods under $125″

 

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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In our forums, WRXer ‘ballywho27’ has asked for thoughts on combining his current Ping i500 irons with the brand’s Blueprint irons. ‘Ballywho27’ is considering going “i500 in 3-4 iron and blueprint 5-W” and has asked for fellow member’s thoughts on the idea – who have been sharing their takes in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • jblough99: “I had a combo set for a minute, 3-5 I500 and 6-PW Blueprint. I could not get used to the transition, HUGE difference in looks at address. If I had it to do over I would just go 4-PW Blueprint and maybe a 3 I500 with graphite shaft as a driving, iron.”
  • animalgolfs: “iBlade{5i} – BP{6i-pw}. That’s my combo.”
  • Chunky: “I have i500 4-5 and Blueprints 6-PW. As mentioned above, there is a significantly different look at address. More importantly for me, the i500s are 1/2 to 1 club longer than the BPs (they fly much higher, too). Make sure you account for that added i500 distance when blending lofts or you’ll have a large gap.”
  • howeber: “I’ve done that exact set — 3 and 4 i500 and 5-PW Blueprint. It’s perfect for me since the 3 and 4 are more like a traditional 2 and 3.5. 4 is usually the longest iron I carry, so I like a little extra oomph out of it. At the end of the day though, when I finally tested them vs my MP4s, the Blueprints performed identically, while the i500 launched a little higher (same specs same shafts). Mizzys are still in the bag.”

Entire Thread: “Blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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GolfWRX Vault: Avoid these 5 club building disasters

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It’s never too late to go back to basics, especially when it comes to club building.

Even with modern new club release cycles the do’s and don’ts of building clubs haven’t changed much in the last few decades except for clubs with adapter sleeves and greater amounts of multi-materials incorporated into the design.

With that in mind its time to revisit an article from the GolfWRX Vault from June 2016.

——————

I’ve been fitting and building golf clubs for more than 15 years, and in that time I’ve seen a lot of really poor workmanship—stuff that would make most GolfWRXers cringe. But like anyone who ever did anything new, I didn’t start being naturally good at putting together clubs. It took a lot of time, ruined components, and trial and error to get where I am today.

I believe my attention to detail now stems from the fact that my dad was a machinist by trade, and anytime we ever worked on something together his attitude was to take your time and do it right the first time. My dad’s approach always had an impact on me, because I feel that if you do something right — even when it takes a bit longer — the job is not only more satisfying but also makes things work better and last longer.

The goal with this article is to help WRXers avoid the most common mistakes and assumptions in club building that lead to broken or ruined clubs, as well as real danger.

Over-prepping a graphite shaft

The shaft on the left has been prepped properly. The one of the right, which has noticeable taper, shows signs that layers of graphite have been removed.

This happens far more than it should, and can ruin an expensive new shaft purchase. To prepare a shaft properly for installation, you only need to remove enough of the paint to make sure that the epoxy adheres to the graphite. This is also true for the inside of the hosel.

Be careful to remove residual epoxy, dirt or rust (common with forged carbon steel club heads that have been sitting around for a while), or some type or solvent like the one used to put on grips, as it can cause of bond to break down very quickly. A proper reaming tool, a wire brush and some compressed air (either a small can or a large air compressor) can make cleaning simple, and prevent a golf club from falling apart.

UPDATE: Over prepping specifically applies to shafts that are designed to go into parallel heads and is especially important for 335 shafts with less material at the tip going into drivers and fairway woods. For information on how to properly taper a shaft to go into a tapered head, check out the video below:

Overheating a Shaft When Pulling it

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated.

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated, and the resin holding the graphite sheets together breaks down. It’s not always as noticeable, but if the shaft starts to fray it means the bonds have been compromised and it’s more likely to fail. 

Overheating a shaft when pulling it is another common mistake that can result in ruining a golf shaft. It also highly increases the chance of breakage. There are quite a few methods I’ve learned over the years to remove a shaft from a club head, from heat guns to large propane torches, but personally I find that using a small butane torch with a regulator for graphite offers the best results. It allows a club builder to easily control and focus the heat only where it’s needed. Bigger torches are fine for iron heads, as long as you don’t damage any plastic badges in the cavity or materials in slots around the head.

One of the best advances in club technology has been the invention and mass adoption of adjustable hosels. They not only help golfers adjust the loft, lie and face angle of club heads, but have also greatly decreased the need to pull shafts. So as long as a golfer is staying with the same metal wood manufacturer, they can usually test several different clubs heads with the same shaft, or vice versa — several different shafts with the same clubhead.

That being said, one of the most important tools that any hobbyist club builder should have or have access to is a high-quality shaft puller. It’s a necessary tool for anyone who wants to do repairs and helps prevent damage to a shaft while pulling it. The more linear pressure that can be applied to the clubhead, and the less heat used to break down the epoxy, the better. It makes sure both the shaft and the head are reusable in the future. For steel shafts, you can use a bit more heat, and twisting isn’t a problem. Again, with increased heat, be careful not to damage any of the badging, or permanently discolor an iron head.

Botching a Grip Installation

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

This one seems simple, but when really getting down to professional level detail, it is quite important. We ALL have a preference and different opinion of what feels good in a golf grip, as well as different sensitivities. For example, we all have the ability to figure out what apple is bigger, even if blindfolded because over time we all develop brain function to understand shapes and sizes. This also applies to grips. If you use the same grips on your 13 clubs, you could potentially have 4-5 different final sizes depending on how many different types of shafts you use, because many shafts have different butt diameters.

Some shafts have larger butt diameters, while others taper faster than others. That’s why it’s very important to own a quality set of vernier calipers, and know how to properly use them. It’s also the same for putters, since many putter shafts are smaller in diameter. I have lost count of how many times I’ve had people bring me, putters, where the bottom half of the grip is twisting and turning because the installer never paid attention to the interior diameter of the grip, the exterior diameter of the shaft, and how it changed from top to bottom.

Using epoxy that’s doomed to fail

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

I’m a bit of a physics nerd and garage engineer, so this is one of those topics that goes beyond just the physical aspects of club building and into the realm of chemistry.

Here comes my nerd-out moment: In the simplest of explanations for a 0.335-inch driver hosel with an insertion depth of 1.25 inches, the amount of calculated surface area the epoxy can bond between the shaft and the head using the internal dimensions of the head is 1.49 square inches. That’s not a whole lot of area when you consider the centrifugal force being applied to a driver head traveling at 100 mph, and then the forces of torque that also come into play when a shot is struck.

In a PERFECT world, almost zero torque is applied to a shaft when a shot is hit on the center of gravity (CG) of the club head, perfectly aligned with the center mass of the ball, while traveling in the intended direction. This is vectors 101 of physics. Unfortunately, almost every single shot is NOT hit like that, and this is where the epoxy bond is put under the most amount of stress. Lap shear strength of epoxy goes beyond me, but it proves that building a golf club is not just cut and glue after all.

Note: For those of you curious, the most popular epoxies are rated for 4500 psi. 

As far are actually working with epoxy, first things first. Always check to see if the epoxy has a best-before date (yep, just like milk). Also, never store epoxy in direct sunlight. If you are using epoxy from a tube in a dispensing gun, you are using what is an almost foolproof method. Plunge out the necessary amount, mix for about a minute (mix! don’t whip), and remember, the less air that gets into the epoxy the better. If air gets in and the epoxy cures with bubbles in it, then you end up with a club that will often “creak.”

For those using two parts in larger bottles, the best way to ensure proper ratios is to pay attention to the weight ratio rather than volume. This isn’t arts and crafts; it’s chemistry, so by using the weight to calculate the ratio you will get the right amount of each part every time, and help decrease the risk of failure down the road. If you have mixed a larger batch and plan on building quite a few clubs at a time, you really have to pay attention to the consistency and viscosity as time goes on. You don’t want to glue a club head with epoxy that has started to set.

Turning an Extension into a Shank

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

This is one of those subjects I don’t even like to talk about. I very much dislike using extensions when building clubs, especially clubs with graphite shafts. Going back to my “do-it-right-the-first-time” mentality, extensions are a Band-Aid fix to a problem that requires surgery. They also counter-balance the club, and by their very nature create a weak point because of the small wall thickness at the butt end of a shaft. The only clubs I don’t mind extending on a regular basis are putters since they are never put under the same level of stress as a club being swung at full speed. I also never extend a club more than 1 inch, because I have been witness to horror stories of clubs that have been overextended that not only break but rip through the grip and cut people’s hands very badly.

If you are going to extend a club, it’s important to make sure the fit is very snug and doesn’t cause the extension to lean in any direction. It’s also best to have the epoxied extension cure with the club on its side to avoid an excess epoxy from running down the shaft and breaking off and causing a rattle.

 

 

 

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