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Nickent 3DX Pro Irons Review

Jul. 31, 2006     By     Comments (28)

Nickent, long known for their hybrids, has leapt into the iron-making game with one of the biggest names in iron design. Does John Hoeflich's first effort live up to the "Pro" title?

Nickent 3Dx Pro Irons HeroNickent, long renowned for their hybrids, took a big step forward when it hired John B. Hoeflich as senior vice president of product development. Hoeflich's design credits include the Tommy Armour 845 irons, the original Titleist DCIs, and recently the TaylorMade RAC irons and wedges. A while ago, Donald MacKenzie wrote "Look for new Hoeflich-designed clubs to debut by year's end under the Nickent name."

Those clubs are here, and they're the Nickent 3DX Pro irons. Though one may wonder why any iron labeled "pro" features such a game improvement look to them, with cavity backs and low weights, one only needs to consider that the TaylorMade LT2, the Titleist 755, and the Callaway Fusions and X-Tours all see a lot of play on the PGA Tour and all are far from muscleback irons.

I currently play the Titleist 735.CM or the TaylorMade RAC MB TP. Do these Nickent 3DX Pros kick them out of my bag? Read on to find out…

Design and Technology
The 3DX Pro, like many of Hoeflich's prior clubs, seeks to blend cavity-back features with an at-address appearance that resembles those of traditional muscleback irons. Clearly, Hoeflich knows a thing or two about designing such clubs.

In fact, Nickent's 3DX Pro pages say "Hoeflich has designed an iron that combines the classic good looks of a blade iron with the forgiving features of a perimeter-weighted iron." It also states that the 3DX Pro is made of a special stainless steel alloy that provides a soft, responsive feel.

Like the "Pro"-less 3DX iron, the Pro features a tungsten-polymer insert (dubbed the "XW Insert") that strives to dampen vibrations, reducing shock and creating a "muscle-back forged feel."

Nickent 3Dx Pro Irons Backs
The tungsten composite sole weight and stylish, understated backs of the 3DX Pro irons. The weight helps get the ball out of the rough, while the graphics just look nice.

The XW Insert is concentrated directly behind the face for greater workability in the 3DX Pro. The use of a tungsten polymer provides Nickent and Hoeflich greater flexibility in moving weight around the clubhead without detracting from the overall look or feel of the clubhead. Additionally, because the weight of the XW Insert can be modified easily, Nickent can correctly and easily create a wide range of swingweights at varying shaft lengths simply by varying the amount of tungsten polymer.

The 3DX is married to a specially-made Nippon 1180 shaft. Weighing in at 118 grams (and constant weighted throughout the set), Nickent claims the NS Pro 1180 GH is one of the few shafts that are "100 percent made in a state-of-the-art Japanese factory using unique proprietary materials and a specialized heat-treatment process." In other words, it's made differently than your typical True Temper DG S300 or your Rifle 6.0s, but likely just differently enough to mention.

Appearance
Even the 3DX Pro pitching wedge features a cavity back and what appears to be a lot of weight near the sole of the club, turning off potential low-handicap players looking for something more traditional. Despite the fact that semi-game-improvement cavity backs get wide play on the PGA Tour, many better amateurs like the look and feel of a more traditional iron.

Nickent 3Dx Pro Irons Address
At address, the 3DX Pro has a little offset, a medium thickness topline, and a consistent blade length throughout the set.

The cavity features red, black, and white "3DX Pro" markings with the "Nickent" name in black. The lower portion of the cavity is occupied by the tungsten polymer weight and a large bar of metal extending from heel to tie. The Nickent "N" is raised slightly in the middle of the wight plug. "JBH" is stamped on the bottomside of the hosel.

At address, the 3DX Pro appears to have a tad more offset, a thicker topline, and a wider sole than most "player's" or "pro" irons. Though some find the thicker topline comforting, it doesn't appeal to me. The cavity-back usually hidden behind the thick toplines and wider soles reduces my opportunity to work the ball.

Performance
Nickent 3DX Pro 3-IronI tested the 3DX Pro with the stock NS Pro 1180GH in stiff flex. I ventured to a course I've played several times and on which I trusted the yardages (having my Bushnell Pinseeker range finder didn't hurt, either). My first few iron shots flew further than I'd have expected, but I adjusted by swinging more easily and focusing on square contact.

My playing partner knew I was testing the clubs, and after awhile began joking that the marketing slogan should be "Nickent 3DX Pro: Pin High Every Time." It's true that I began sticking shots very close to the pins, yet the shots didn't come off as I thought they would. On one hole, I tried to cut a 7-iron into a right-to-left slope on the green. The ball came off higher than normal, but straight at the flag and without a cut.

Workability is an issue with these clubs, which are clearly closer to TaylorMade's LT2 series and Titleist's 755 than to the TM RAC MB TPs or the Titleist 695MBs. Again, that's to be expected, given Hoeflich's previous club designs - all "player's cavity back" irons.

Still, the clubs had a number of redeeming qualities. The weight low in the head really helped to dig the ball out of questionable lies in the rough. Ball flight was a lower, more boring ball flight than expected, but with plenty of spin to hold firm greens even into the longer irons.

After my first round, suspicious of the lofts, I checked Nickent's site and found that my suspicions were warranted:

Iron      3DX Pro       RAC MB TP       695MB
----      -------       ---------       -----
3           21             21            22
4           23             24            25
5           25             28            28
6           29             32            32
7           33             36            36
8           37             40            40
9           41             44            44
PW          46             48            48

The 3DX Pro 6-iron, with 29° loft, plays closer to the TM and Titleist 5-iron (28°) than the 6-iron (32°). This discrepancy exists throughout the set, despite starting similarly (21° or 22°) in the 3-iron. Nickent's pitching wedge plays more like a 9½-iron. It's no wonder my shots went long.

Nickent 3Dx Pro Irons Toes
You can't tell it here, but the lofts of these irons are almost a full club strong. Swing easy and you'll probably play well.

In the end, I simply couldn't adjust to the 3DX Pro. Though I quickly became accustomed to the slightly thicker topline - I turned it into a reminder that I only needed a smooth swing and "all that metal" would solidly smack the ball - I crave the workability and feel of a muscleback iron.

Still, the game improvement features of the 3DX Pro are commendable. It was was extraordinarily tough to hit a ball offline. Shots that missed the sweet spot still resulted in admirable results.

Specifications
Nickent HoeflichNickent 3DX Pro irons are available in 2-iron through gap wedge (51°), with a standard set consisting of 3-PW. The Nippon 1180 shaft is standard (in X, S, and R flexes), but you can order a grahite-shafted set with the UST Speedrated 2 shafts in X (105g), S (95g), and R (85g) flexes. Club length and lie are fairly standard, as is the D2 swingweight, but be wary of the decreased loft discussed above. In steel, these irons will set you back only $599, and in graphite $699.

Conclusion
While the Nickent 3DX Pro irons are not my cup of tea - their thicker toplines and more cavity-like look and feel don't mesh with my traditional sensibilities - I came away impressed with the irons. They haven't replaced my muscleback irons, but for the average golfer or the better golfer unconcerned with feel and workability, these irons perform quite nicely. The heavier sole really digs the ball out of bad lies and the trajectory - due in large part to the decreased loft - bores through the air.

If you're a fan of Hoeflich's previous work, you owe it to yourself to give these irons a thorough examination.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (28)

Discussion

  1. Erik: Good review. I've played a bit with the 3DX Pro irons, too, and found them to be a good middle ground between a "players" iron and something more forgiving. A very good iron for a mid-handicapper who needs a some forgiveness, but doesn't want a big, shovel-like design.

  2. Santiago says:

    I am currently playing a 3dx pro set with Nippon 950GH. I am a 9hcp and getting lower, I am really starting to love this irons. I never used a blade, my past 2 sets where Clevelands TA5 and CG4, so for me the 3DX looks like a blade at address ;. I foubd the irons very long, even for its lofts (similar to CG4), very good feel and a lot more forgiving than its look.

    I would highly recommend this set to anybody looking for a mid size cavity back.

  3. GW says:

    I have used the 3dx pro for about 3 months and couldn't be happier. I am currently a 12 hcp playing in very windy conditions and the 3dx is tyhe best club i've hit for driving through the wind. I do very much agree about the pw being more like a 9 1/2 iron so when you buy your set make sure and pick up a good 48-50 degree wedge to go in the bag as well.

  4. Matt says:

    I just got a set of 3dx pros last week. I play them with an extra 3/4" in length, and love the fact that I could keep the D2 swing weight. Every other set I've owned was D6 to D8, the ablility of Nickent to keep the swing weight constant, regardless of length should not be overlooked. I am currently a 6 handicap and would recomend these to anyone from 0-10. Let's not forget that less than 25% of players on the PGA Tour use true blades.

  5. Bad Wolf says:

    I hate to break it to you but based on who plays what, the "traditional" , a politically correct way of saying old technology, iron is all but dead.

  6. Paddy says:

    I absolutely love these irons! I too play to about a 10 hdcp and am making better shots each time out. I'm 1/2 over 2 deg up... and the consistent D2 weighting is paramount. John Hoeflich did a great job with these irons!

  7. rennie says:

    Is it possible to get a combo set made up of nickent 3dx pro

    5,6,7,8,9,10,pw plus the 3 and 4 ironwoods or utility hybrids.

    I notice the combo offerings dont include the 3dx pro

  8. Jon says:

    I played these irons for a couple of games and i like the feel of the ball launching off the clubface with total control and distance . Kind of reminds me of the Srixon 701 and the Burner xd married into one club . Working the ball left or right is a little technical as one has to adjust a lot of factors in ones swing to get the best results . Unlike MB irons where one can easily do draws or fades at will . These are great clubs for those who want to play consistent shots . I wonder what the results will be if i install Project X shafts in X/S . Will advise .

  9. Wayne says:

    Im thinking about replacing my Nike Slingshot Tours with these irons. I like the minimal offset and the clean look to them. What do you all think??

  10. Dave says:

    I bought a set of 3dx pro irons for my dad, since he still played my old 845s from a couple of centuries ago. He gets them this Father's Day '08. :-)

    Range testing shows exactly what I had hoped-- these things just hit the ball straight. No fuss. A sensible smooth swing gets you a boring iron shot with enough height to inspire and enough spin to stop. I didn't try a lot of worked shots, since I was hitting range rocks. But the feel and the ease of straight shots is very very nice.

    I do wish they came stock with 38" five iron instead of 37.75". I'm six four and my dad's six one, so I think they might be a teency bit short for him. But the loft will make up for it, as these are NOT short hitting irons.

    Great feel, easy to hit straight. I like the very small offset, don't like a big one.

  11. Ben says:

    I had a set of Taylor Made r7 irons, then I tried these irons out with a Nippon steel stiff shaft and bought them. I love how they look like a traditional blade at address because of the thin topline, but are more forgiving than a true blade.

    As soon as I hit some at the range with them, I was hitting it straight and controlling them very well from the beginning. I really liked the ball flight- a little bit lower and more penetrating, which I noticed especially with the middle and lower irons. Even though the ball flight was a little lower, I still got great distance with them. I usually land a 3 iron about 205-210. With a smooth, solid swing with the 3DX pro 3 iron I was landing it about 215 easily.

    Nickent has a great set of irons with the 3DX pros. I highly reccomend these irons to any handicapper. I am finding my bag to have more and more Nickent clubs these days.

  12. cedric says:

    I got back into golfing this summer and figured out my nortwestern that my grandfather left me were not really what I needed to improve my game.

    I tested a whole bunch of clubs and all of the ones I really enjoyed were just too expensive for me untill I got my hand on these.

    I lowered my hdcp from 30 to 18 within a month and I feel safe on getting on the green pretty much evertime that I,m on the faiway withing 175 yrds.

    Nice clubs for soemone with a decent swing that is looking for clubs that help you going straight to where you want .

  13. Kevin says:

    I recently purchased the Nickent 3DX pros with the stiff shaft. These are definately the straightest clubs I have ever played with. It is hard to get that really soft sweet spot but either way, the ball is still going long and very straight. You have to really miss hit it to get the ball off path

  14. MJO says:

    I have a considerable number of irons and currently use a Nickent 3DX Tour Driver and the 3DX Utility clubs. I like the driver and I love the utility clubs. I currently play MacGregor M565 irons. It took me a few holes to adjust to these clubs.

    Unlike some reviewers, I had no trouble working the ball with this club. I was able to consistently draw the ball and honestly think these clubs are better for individuals with a low to mid handicap player. I also think the stiff Nippon shafts plays to more of a firm flex compared to Rifle and Tru Temper shafts.

    One thing I did notice was these clubs will absolutely shred a golf ball. Which means I could go right at the flag and the ball would stick. In the end, I like the clubs and will continue to play more rounds with them. I believe they hold the green better than any cast club I have played - and a bit better than the Macs. Overall, the Mac 565s remain my favorite irons and will remain in the bag.

    These clubs are definitely not as forgiving as the 3dx Hybrids, but I really like the way these set up. A much thinner topline and very little offset. Better players will like these clubs. I would steer anyone shooting above 85 towards another club.

  15. al stewart says:

    I recently purchased my 2nd set of Nickent irons for myself. I bought a set for my dad also. I loved the 3dx hybrid irons but was raised on blades so I up graded to the 3dx pro. I love them. Great clubs. Had 1 problem after approx 2 weeks the weight came out of the back of the 3 iron and was lost during play. I contacted The Golf Warehouse TGW.com and Nickent looking for some assistance. I would be happy if they would send me another weight and I can install it. I notified them today so I will get back and repost letting you know how they each handled the problem.

  16. all stewart says:

    Follow up on previous posting. Had problem with Nickent 3dx pro 3 iron. The weight came out and was lost. I notified tgw.com and they said they would get back to me but never did. I also notified the Nickent company and the following was the result. Nickent had me drop club off to local golf store. They picked the club up repaired it and sent it back to me at my home address. They paid for shipping both ways. My total time spent was almost 2 weeks from time it was shipped untill it was returned to me. They did a great job replacing the weight and had no problem standing behind there product. :smile: I love these clubs and will continue to recomend Nickent.

  17. Brad says:

    I am a high handicapper who played Tommy Armour 845's for nearly 10 years. After playing in the desert, the numbers were nearly worn off the bottom so time for a new set.

    I couldn't get into the hybrid style clubs. Didnt want to spend $1200 on some Callaway technology that will be replaced in two years.

    After doing some research, I found these clubs to be a superb value, great pedigree and hopefully will stay in my bag for another 10 years.

    One thing, the pitching wedge (46 deg) is very strong compared to my last set (nearly 10 yards longer) so I had to bought a gap wedge (50) to fill in the blank. I couldn't handle the 3 iron with my 90-100MPH clubhead speed so bought a nickent 3dX hybrid for $59 at Van's to complete the set.

  18. Andy says:

    This is a GREAT set of irons. Over the years, I've owned Cleveland (VAS), Tommy Armour 845 (stripe), Titleist 990, and Callaway X-18 ... hands down, the Nickent 3DX Pro irons are the clear winner in my book.

    From the first shot on the range to the last iron on 18 it felt like I'd been hitting these clubs forever. Most of the time the ball just went straight, but if I needed to work it a little I was able to do that as well.

    I agree with the comments about the strong PW (in fact all clubs are a little strong) so make sure you've got a 50 - 52 to fill the gap to SW.

    Don't think I'll ever need another set of irons, but if I do ... Nickent will be the first place I look.

  19. Mike says:

    :twisted: I bought these a while back but didn't hit them as well as I liked at the range. So, I put them away and came across them and decided to give them a try. The irons I play (still in my bag) are MacGregor M565s

    Even though I left the Macs in my bag, I actually prefer the way this club set up. I seemed easier to align and also a little easier to make contact with the ball. They were about a half club shorter than the MACs, but think I was a little more accurate with these and was also able to hit a fade.

    Not sure which way I'm going to go. Went back later and couldn't hit a club for my life. One day I am 7-8 over par, then 20. It's not the clubs. I guess I like them both, but only opted for the MACs now because it has more forgiveness/player improvement. When I was stiking the ball well, I preferred the Nicks. Ths stiff Nippon shaft is nice, but I really think it plays more to a firm. Hit the ball with very litter effort. Once thing I can tell you for sure, is these clubs absolutely put a bit on the ball. I usally get a ball to hop back or to the right. The Nickents, zipped back 4 feet. The grooves are lazer sharp and they will literally rip the cover off the ball.

    I would highly reommend these clubs for a 12 and under and the MACs for 15 and under. Nickent makes great clubs. The Nickent 3DX Utility clubs are the best hybrid/utility I have ever hit period.

  20. JGardner says:

    Im a golf professional in Central Florida and these are my irons of choice although I bent the lofts to a more traditional make up they still work nicely either way. I have 2 more sets of the exact same irons and same specs as my back ups. These go great with my Ping G10 hybird 18, Cobra Speed Pro D 10.5, Vokeys 52 56 60, Ping I series Piper. And I sometimes take out the 3 iron and throw in a 64 vokey.

  21. LBlack14 says:

    Bought a set and have taken over the top spot in the bag. Nice blend of thinner topline and forgiveness in a cb iron. Also like the DGs300 Sensicore shafts.

    1 thing tho', the specs here in this review differ from the ones on NICKENT's site in there "Vault" section. I wish I knew which to believe.

  22. Mike says:

    Okay,

    I decided the striking the ball better and decided to remove my beloved m565 MacGregor irons from the bag and try out the 3dx pro irons. It was pretty windy and I shot 39 - 37 and sunk no putts.

    On the back 9 I literally hit all greens in regulation (tap in pars on 6 holes) - a tap in birdie on the par five and two bogies - a 3 putt on 18 for a 37. I could easily have shot a 34-35. My point, these are the best irons I have ever hit. They were like lazers and I didn't have to swing hard. There are 23 pros on the Nationwide tour using these exact clubs. I figured an average golfer couldn't hit them. I have been averaging about 43 for 9. I'm not this good, but I'll take it.

  23. pcgolfer says:

    These clubs are as good as any forged club I have hit. 23 Nationwide players are playing these irons, yet I am scoring as low as I ever have - posting 4 rounds under 40. I'm normally a 42-46 golfer, but am hitting these clubs well.

    I really like the stiff nippon shafts that are more like firm in my opinion. You barely have to swing these.

  24. Bob says:

    how do these irons compare to ping irons? say the G5?

  25. Jordan says:

    :grin:

    Bought a set (3-PW, Nippon stiff) for $135 earlier this year! Couldn't pass up a deal like that. They replaced a set of Cobra 3400 max game improvement irons. I use to spray everything all over the place with the Cobras, granted my swing has gotten better (13 hdcp), but the Nickents are really accurate clubs with the Nippon shafts. They are somewhat difficult to work left and right as mentioned in the review. I can get baby fades and draws if I'm hitting the ball well that day, but for the most part the ball wants to go straight at the target. They feel better than the Cobras when you pure it and will let you know when you miss it, but no harshness at all. For the price that you can find on these right now I'm not sure that you can find a nicer set of irons.

    I've also found that I am shorter with these than with my old Cobras, but much more accurate. In fact, I'm about a club shorter. Not sure if it is the stiff flex or what.

    Overall this is a a great of sticks. I would recommend Nickent products to anyone.

  26. Michael says:

    I purchased these irons last year barely used. And have to say they have helped my game. Handicap 16 from 20. The need for that gap wedge is warranted to file the yardage gap. solid feel and very forgiving. I use the Pw- 6iron. Would recommend to any one that wants a solid iron.

  1. [... Nickent, long renowned for their hybrids, took a big step forward when it hired John B. Hoeflich as senior vice president of product development. Hoeflich's design credits include the Tommy ...]

  2. [... Nickent, long renowned for their hybrids, took a big step forward when it hired John B. Hoeflich as senior vice president of product development. Hoeflich's design credits include the Tommy ...]

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