The key with iron play in golf is control. If you have control of the club, you’ll have more control over the distance, the straightness, and the placing of shots, as well as over any effect once the ball lands.
Control is the difference between vague iron play and consistent precision golf.
The people behind the Nike VRS Covert Iron know this to be true. It seems very much to have been uppermost in their mind throughout the whole design and molding process.
That’s pleasing to see in what should probably be thought of as a super improvement iron, but is, as the name somewhat cryptically suggests, a touch on the secret side about how it’s doing what it’s doing and why.
If you met the Nike VRS Covert in the clubhouse and just got talking, you’d assess it as a cavity backed iron with hybrid tendencies and perimeter weighting.
The cavity back is important, because it’s designed to give you straighter iron play, pushing your shots straighter and higher, so they achieve more distance and make more of your golfing dreams come true.
You know the dream – the sweet connection, the soar of the ball, the lack of any slice or veer, the landing exactly where you envision, the roll for extra distance in a straight line… Yeah – those are the dreams the Nike VRS Covert exists to fulfil.
Nike has always done cavity backed irons well, and in creating the Covert, somebody at Nike got to sit back at the end of the day, put their hands behind their head, give a nod of satisfaction and decide they had a good day.
You want to go through the club in some detail? Sure, we can do that.
First of all, there’s a change of look from standard Nikes here. Traditionally, you’d be looking at a matte gray finish, but here, Nike gets its Spiderman on, all angles and streaks of ‘Came to play’ red.
If you love to be the center of attention – or if you live to divide the room – the VRS is going to sing your song. Personally, we think it’s hella cool, and brings a flash of “What happens next?” drama to the course.
Talking tech, Nike’s bringing you a NexCOR face with high-frequency X3X face grooves.
What does that mean? We talked about control, right? The face grooves give you a combination of what-the-heck ball speed and control over the spin it has – seriously, spin control high speed, flashes of red – this is the club Spiderman would use – at least in our head.
The VRS also comes with a True Temper Dynalite 105 steel shaft, which gives some good soaring height to your shots.
While you might get frowns from older golfers for the red splash, the technology in this club is right on point, and you begin to understand why it’s called the Covert when you play a round with it, because all the high-tech game-improvement technology is almost hidden behind the design, which brings you a thinner-than-usual topline and only a minimal offset.
It almost looks like it shouldn’t work, but then works with an appealing degree of drama and precision.
Major league precision, yes. Again, it’s almost as though it exists to make your straight shooting dreams come true. Dispersion is crushed to an absolute minimum, and your shots are more exactly what you want them to than you may be used to.
Whack, boom, drop, there you go, more or less exactly where you expected. We’ve said the cavity-backed design of the club is useful for this straightness, and it’s especially useful in long iron play because you get solid long shots that do what you want them to.
If you’re in the market for a super improvement club, that may be a brand new experience for you – in which case, when the time comes, you may find yourself declaring that people can have your VRS when they pry it from your cold, dead, straight shooting hands.
The cavity back isn’t all the tech that’s here to help you, though. Weights in both the heel and toe of the club give you extreme, effective perimeter weighting.
That means you can get impressive distances without the usual veer or slice if you hit the ball off-center.
The combination of a thinner than usual shaft, and the weight being shifted out of the face to the heel and toe gives you both strength (for speed and distance) and forgiveness (for correction of potential slice).
Essentially, it gives you the potential for golfing joy, which if you’re early in your time in the game, can help unlock its wonders and its power for you.
We mentioned the True Temper Dynalite 105 R-Flex Steel Shaft. There’s barely an element of a ‘standard’ iron that someone at Nike hasn’t tweaked and enhanced here, and the shaft is no exception.
The True Temper is lighter than you’ll expect for steel, but no less authoritative on the downswing. The flex in the True Temper helps you deliver an easy swing.
We love an easy swing – it means if you hit the ball even vaguely in the vicinity of right (given the perimeter weighting, the cavity-backed clubhead, and the slice-forgiveness), you can expect the ball to soar down the fairway, and go more or less where you aimed it.
To minimize the effect of any slippage, the grip on the Covert is Golf Pride Tour Velvet, with the addition of 360 black and red grip. That means you should be able to swing without any worry about becoming a visual gag as the club, rather than the ball, hurtles down the fairway.
So overall, what’s the impression the Covert leaves us with?
Well, it’s true that Nike has had a rollercoaster history in golf, quite at odds with its record in some other sports. But here… here the company seems to have judged its product well.
Yes, it has the bold design for which the company is justly famous, but here – unlike in some previous cases – it has the substance to back up that boldness.
We’ve said there’s barely an element of a traditional iron that hasn’t been tweaked here. That’s true, but each of the tweaks has logic, efficiency and people-pleasing golf at its core.
The combination of cavity backed clubheads, perimeter weighting, and the True Temper shaft gives you a club you could not only use on a regular basis, but come to rely on to get your ball down the fairway in long, straight, hugely reliable shots.
Cavity backing is used by lots of manufacturers, including now in their irons, but Nike was actually the first manufacturer to use it in irons, and the VRS Covert feels very much like a club that celebrates that innovative spirit – as well as providing hugely positive, grin-making golf and skill improvement to beginners and high-handicappers.
Add that to grip stability and a style that, whether people love it or hate it is guaranteed to turn heads on the course and in the clubhouse, and you have a club to which the only response is a nod of the head, or in more vocal golfers, the occasional “Niiiice.”
Can you get similar clubs these days without paying the sort of premium price Nike is asking for the VRS Covert? You can, but it depends on your definition of ‘similar.’
Nike claims that 30% of the club’s total mass is in the rear here, meaning you get both higher loft and a higher Moment of Inertia, which means higher ball speed.
If you’re relatively new to the game, the combination of these elements with the seemingly effortless swing and the likelihood that your shots will achieve both distance and precision could well be intoxicating.
The style is just a bonus, a thank you from Nike while giving the still moderately respectful finger to anyone who says red styling is somehow indecent.
So, does it feel like a club worth considering? Yes – and no. No, only because there are other clubs that might give you similar results, and that you might be able to keep using even as your skills and your personal precision improve.
And no, because the price of this club doesn’t compare with others that get you close. But in all other respects, yes – you get a lot of club for your money here.
And you get a certain stylish zing of joy with it too, because of the ‘covert’ technology helping to improve your golf behind a scarlet-tinged but otherwise innocent façade.