Earlier this month, I was invited to take part in a Nike Covert Distance Challenge at Golf Galaxy, which was being held every weekend (Friday – Sunday) in March. I’m a golf junkie, as anyone who knows me understands, so obviously I was pretty excited to take part in this exercise. I’m always in the market for new golf equipment, and after Nike’s recent media barrage, I was very interested to see how the new Covert driver stacked up against my current gamer.
Below are some excerpts from the invitation I received:
“Golf Galaxy has teamed up with Nike to bring golfers across the country the Nike Covert Distance Challenge. Every weekend (Friday through Sunday) in March, Nike gurus will be in-store to deliver club fittings. Golfers of all levels are invited to bring in their existing driver to test against the new Nike VR_S Covert Tour. Just by participating in a fitting, the golfer will be given a free sleeve of Nike 20XI golf balls.
If you haven’t already tried the VR_S Covert, now is the best chance to try a driver that offers FlexLoft adjustability and unique high-speed cavity back technology—all backed by the one-on-one support of a Nike fitting guru.”
I’ll say it again. I’m a golf junkie, and the invitation is worded exactly how I would expect a driver fitting/comparison to go. I’m all for new equipment, but not until I know how it stacks up against what I’ve already grown to love and use on a daily basis. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to see how Nike’s new Covert performed. And then I went to my local Golf Galaxy to participate…..
I walked into the store, a store I frequent at least twice a week during the golf season, to an expected swarm of people who are also excited about the impending spring. The weather has finally turned, the sun was shining, golf courses are starting to open, and people are in their local Golf Galaxy to check out the latest apparel and equipment. The store’s putting green was full of a local college golf team’s players, competing for what we will assume are bragging rights. The clothing department is a collection of all walks of life, trying to decide which latest fashion will make them play better, or at least look like their beloved Rickie Fowler. Resisting the urge to stop the elderly gentleman from buying a flat billed orange hat, I walked past and approached my nearest Sales Associate.
Me- “Hi, are you doing the Nike Covert Distance Challenge today?”
Sales Associate- “Which one?”
Me- “The Covert driver fitting and comparison.”
SA- “Which club you wanna hit?”
Me- “Uh, the driver?”
SA- “I mean which head. Tour or regular?”
Me- “Tour head, that’s what’s on my current driver.”
With this nugget of new information, the Sales Associate scurries off, with no indication if I was to follow or wait for him. I followed him, because it just felt right. I caught up to him digging through a pile of Nike equipment conveniently located by the same launch monitor on which I was fit for my last driver.
“Perfect” I say to myself, “This should be fun. Let’s get on this launch monitor and get things started.” Instead, the Sales Associate asks what loft I want to hit. I think to myself “That’s strange, shouldn’t we determine what loft is best during the fitting?” But, rather than get in the way of what I assumed was his process, I said, “I play a 10.5 now, let’s go with that.” The Sales Associate hands me a club, points to a simulator and says “That simulator’s open” and wanders away, never to be seen again. At no point during our encounter did I get the feeling that this simulator time was going to be for me to warm up, get a feel for the club, nothing. So, I hit a few shots into the simulator with this new club, waited around for the Sales Associate’s unlikely return, and then left the store. Not only did I leave without the sleeve of golf balls I was promised, I left with no more knowledge of the Covert driver than I had when I went into the store compounded by the sour taste of poor customer service in my mouth. Thankfully, I was headed to lunch shortly after.
I won’t let myself believe this was the actual process that Nike or Golf Galaxy had in mind when they sent this invitation. If this was in fact the process, I don’t have the words to describe my disappointment. Maybe this Sales Associate was supposed to perform the fitting, and just wasn’t having a good day. I doubt this as well, as the invitation said Nike Guru’s would be on site to perform the fitting. In my opinion, one of two things happened, neither of which are acceptable but would provide some explanation.
1- This Sales Associate had no idea what I was talking about, but rather than ask someone, he thought it would be easier to send the oblivious customer, who he assumed had no intention of actually buying a golf club, to the nearest simulator to wail away on some balls.
2- The actual Nike Guru was not at the store as advertised, but rather than tell me that, thought it would be easier to send the oblivious customer, who he assumed had no intention of actually buying a golf club, to the nearest simulator to wail away on some balls.
As an aside, the day prior to this, I was randomly paired for 9 holes with a manager of that very store, and I had mentioned my intentions to do this fitting, and he seemed to know what I was talking about. All of these factors leave me at a loss for a valid explanation of my experience. I went into this Covert Challenge fully prepared to write a review of the process, and ultimately of my opinion of the Nike Covert driver itself. So, what is my opinion of the process and ultimately of the driver itself? I’ll offer some words of advice I was recently given.
“That simulator’s open.”