I heard a comment the other day that the Nike VRS Covert driver may well reduce the need for custom fitting. This was based on the fact you don’t need to be concerned with which loft to buy as you can dial in loft, independent of face angle after you have bought the club.
I’ll just let that sink in for a minute to see if you agree with this thought process ………..
If this sounds reasonable to you then you might be well advised to read on.
We have to agree, from what we have seen from the Nike promotional videos, the Covert is a great looking driver with, (according to Nike), a revolutionary new way of adjusting loft independently of face angle. Nike claims you are able to dial in the loft from 8.5 to 12.5 deg. then set the face angle to open, closed or square, without affecting your choice of loft. Sounds impressive … because if they have found a way of adjusting loft and face angle independently, this is indeed an innovative first for the golf industry. However until we can measure the loft and face angle in each of the 15 connector settings there is no way at present to confirm their claims. Still let’s assume for the time being that their claims for Flexloft are justified. Does this remove the need for custom fitting a Covert driver?
OK let’s say you have already decided to buy a new Nike Covert driver (not available till next year by the way). First decision you have to make is whether you want a RH or LH driver. That’s the easy bit. The stock shaft is a Kuro Kage but you still have to decide on shaft flex. The sales rep might ask you for your swingspeed or failing that how far you generally hit your current driver. With this rather limited information he may feel he can now recommend a flex. At this point you decide to buy the driver. Job done you might think. Or is it?
As custom fitters we would ask you:
1. Which of the 15 setting are you going to use?
2. How do you know the stock Kuro Kage shaft suits you?
3. How do you know that the shaft flex you have chosen is correct?
4. Do you need a draw bias to straighten out your drives because we can’t see any mention of this in the Nike promotial videos?
5. Are you getting centre strikes with the new driver? If not why not?
6. Can you achieve your optimal launch conditions with this driver?
7. Are you capable of hitting a full length driver of around 45 – 46 inches?
8. Does your hand size merit a standard size grip?
Maybe you plan to take the new driver to a driving range, to play around with the settings and see which one works. Hope you have got a good memory because by the time you have hit around 6 representative shots on each setting you will have at least 90 shots in your head to recall and compare. Bear in mind you might have hit them all with a shaft or a club length that doesn’t suit you. Results also depend on the quality of the range ball and the wind conditions on the day. Chances are at the end of this session you are totally confused and not sure if this club is performing any better than the one you traded in to buy the Nike.
OK here is what we advise:
A driver with exciting new technology like the Nike VRS Covert does have the potential to improve your game. How do we know this? Because any equipment change has the potential to improve your game. However one thing Nike likely won’t be telling you is that this same driver has the potential to screw up your game if the head spec. or shaft doesn’t suit your own individual swing requirements. What determines whether the performance change is for the better or the worse is the custom fitting process, where the club spec. is dialled into your own particular needs. And it goes without saying that you are better finding this out before you buy a driver rather than after you have spent your £300. If you have to trade it back in you can rest assure you will lose the best part of £200.
So in spite of the hype surrounding the versatility of the Nike VRS Covert driver, the only way to make sure you are taking advantage of this new technology is to have a driver fitting session in a reputable facility, with a reliable launch monitor like Trackman and fitters who know how to interpret the data. It is the custom fitting process which ensures that any new technology is working for you instead of against you.
Just remember when the sales guy is trying to get you to buy a Nike Covert driver off the shelf and says, “Just do it”, the advice from us at AGT would be, “Just don’t”.