Fairway woods represent the new frontier in golf equipment. Modern fairway woods have thin, responsive faces and designs that are able to control ball spin with precision. As a result, these clubs are capable of hitting the ball farther and straighter than ever.
At the same time, today’s club designers must deal with the complex role of fairway woods in proper gapping. Hybrids and irons are producing longer shots as well, and creating consistent yardage gaps among all these clubs is not a simple task.
Nike, with its new VRS Covert 2.0 fairway woods, had adapted the same Fly-Brace design principle that is used in the new VRS Covert 2.0 drivers.
Fly-Brace is a method of stiffening and stabilizing the clubhead. A high-strength internal brace runs from the crown on top to the sole on the bottom. It allows Nike to effectively employ its Covert cavity-back metalwood design, in which mass is removed from the center of the club and redistributed to the heel and toe.
Two variations of Covert 2.0 fairway woods will be sold in 2014. One is called the VRS Covert 2.0 Tour, and the other is the regular VRS Covert 2.0. Both have a lower center of gravity and yet, according to Nate Radcliffe, director of engineering for Nike Golf, both spin less than previous models. Radcliffe said the result is about 8 additional yards for the average golfer.
The Tour model features Nike’s adjustable FlexLoft technology. The Tour 3-wood can be adjusted from 13 to 17 degrees of loft, while the Tour 5-wood has a range of 17 to 21 degrees. The 3 and 5 are the only Tour fairway woods available.
For the regular Covert 2.0, a non-adjustable 3-wood (15 degree) and 5-wood (19 degree) will be sold.
This same philosophy is exhibited in the VRS Covert 2.0 hybrids, in which the Tour model has an adjustable hosel and the regular model does not.
The Tour hybrid comes in 3H (17-21 degree) and 5H versions (21-25 degree), while the regular Covert 2.0 hybrid is available in 2H (17 degree), 3H (20), 4H (23) and 5H (26) clubs.
Fly-Brace technology also has found its way from the drivers and fairway woods to the hybrids. Another prominent feature of the 2014 hybrids is what Nike calls linear transition design. This means the lower lofted hybrids have larger heads, while the higher lofted hybrids have smaller heads. In other words, the longer the shot, the more forgiving the club.
In all its Covert 2.0 clubs, Nike strived to create uniform gapping. Carry distances may surprise some golfers with their length, but Radcliffe stressed that Nike has been diligent about providing consistent distance gaps.
One dilemma in today’s game focuses on fairway woods and hybrids: how to mix them in an intelligent bag configuration. The answer for many golfers, as provided by Nike, involves the use of adjustable-loft clubs.
This is why Nike offers adjustable drivers, fairway woods and hybrids – all with a loft range of 4 degrees.
“I believe we can fit anybody so they can cover all the different distances and play with confidence,” Radcliffe said.
Fairway wood and hybrid shafts are second generation Kuro Kage models from Mitsubishi Rayon: Silver 70 for Tour fairway woods, Silver 80 for Tour hybrids, Black HBP (High Balance Point) 60 for non-adjustable fairway woods, Black HBP for non-adjustable hybrids.
The cost is $249 for Tour fairway woods, $199 for regular fairway woods, $229 for Tour hybrids and $179 for regular hybrids.
The entire lineup of VRS Covert 2.0 fairway woods and hybrids will be available at retail Jan. 31.