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Nickent Pipe Putter Review

Apr. 28, 2006     By     Comments (9)

With two new blade-style models, is less more for Nickent's Pipe putters?

Nickent Pipe AngleRiding the success of its 3DX hybrid line, Nickent Golf entered the short-game fray last year with the Pipe line of putters. These mallet putters featured a visually distinctive rounded white "pipe" section that served as an alignment aid and as a way to shift weight away from the putter's face.

Let's put it this way: if an Odyssey 2-Ball and a Futura Phantom got drunk and popped out a kid, the Pipe may be it.

Nickent has added two new models to the, uh, Pipe line this year. The Pipe PP004 and PP005 are both blade-style models that feature a modified version of the Pipe design. Is the Pipe hype or is it just your type? Read on to find out.

I've always favored blade putters to mallets. But thanks to alignment aid/high-MOI putters like the Odyssey 2-Ball, I've gone to a platoon system over the last couple years. I'll putt with a blade, like my trusty Scottsdale Anser, until I hit a cold streak. Then I'll switch to a mallet, like an Odyssey 2-Ball, for a few rounds. This lineup shakeup almost always produces improved putting, at least for a while.

Nickent Pipe Sole
The Nickent Pipe putters have lightweight polymer face inserts and stainless steel bodies.

The Pipe PP004 putter especially appealed to my schizophrenic flatstick tendencies. It has alignment and MOI-enhancement features, but it also has a plumbers' neck hosel and a more manageable head size. I decided to test a 34" inch PP004 over several recent rounds to see if it was twice as good as my two-putter platoon.

Design
All five models of Pipe putters have stainless steel bodies and a lightweight polymer "P-Line" face insert. At the heart of each putter is the Pipe section that gives the line its name. The white pipe section is a rounded tube of ultra-light thermoplastic that is the same diameter as a golf ball.

At the end of the pipe section that is farthest from the face of the putter is a dark gray tungsten weight, which serves to move the center of gravity deep and away from the putter face - 15 percent of the putter's weight is housed in the tungsten plug. Nickent says this design creates a high MOI that improves forgiveness and roll. The PP004 and PP005 blade-style Pipe putters have a slightly shorter pipe section than the original three mallet versions of the putter. The PP004 has a plumbers-neck hosel, while the PP005 has a shorter goose-neck hosel. Aside from the hosels, the Pipe blade head designs are identical.

Nickent Pipe Grass
The white pipe section of the Pipe putters really pops out against the green.

Esthetics
The T-shaped head of the PP004 is hardly subtle. You'll get your share of "What is THAT?" comments the first time you turn it loose on the green. But in practice, the Pipe putters are actually more subtle than many other alignment-style putters. There are no sight lines, dots, arrows, ball-shaped discs or any other sorts of busy-looking alignment aids to catch your eye. The white pipe section stands alone, and makes a nice contrast to the green color of the putting surface. Nickent calls this "three-dimensional alignment" and it is an eye-catcher.

Nickent Pipe Bar
At the back of the pipe section is a tungsten plug that moves the center of gravity away from the face.

I know some people prefer straight lines on their putters to help line up their putts, but I felt the rounded Pipe design was just as effective with less distraction. I thought the white thermoplastic pipe section might be prone to picking up dirt or dings in my golf bag, but the durable material stayed clean (though the heavy-duty, Velcro-close, bright-orange cover that comes with the putter should be used to protect the club during travel).

Each Pipe putter has a small "Pipe" logo in orange against the dark gray of the face insert, and an orange N graces the back of the tungsten weight on the pipe section. The orange-and-gray Winn grip is very comfortable, but a little busy with Pipe and Nickent logos.

Feel and Sound
Nickent Pipe AddressThe Pipe PP004 gave me much-appreciated feedback about whether I'd struck a putt well or not. When you stroke a good putt in the middle of the clubface, you're rewarded with a deep, soft "click" sound. But if you catch one too far out toward the heel or toe, you get a higher-pitched, plastic-sounding "thwock" that lets you know you didn't hit the sweet spot.

Feel is similarly affected by how well you strike each putt. On-center hits feel smooth and effortless, while off-center hits are a bit jarring. Better players will definitely appreciate this level of feedback.

Performance
On the course, the PP004 putter was a solid performer. Like other alignment putters, I felt much more confident on putts inside of 10 feet, and I didn't miss any 3-footers. The Pipe design seemed just as effective in terms of alignment as my 2-Ball putter. The tungsten weight at the back of the pipe section did make for a forgiving putter on anything struck near the center of the putter face, and miss-hits lost a bit of distance but tended to stay on line, though I felt the blade design of the PP004 made it a bit less forgiving than the full mallet versions, which have more weight pushed to the perimeter.

A feature of the PP004 that I really liked was the way the pipe section of the putter helps square the putter head at address. When you sole the putter on the green, the head sits very square and stable and is easy to line up to your target. I thought the extra sole area might make the Pipe putter less versatile from the fringe or on "Texas wedge" shots off the fairway, but the PP004 handled those shots nicely. There's a bit of relief on the bottom of the end portion of the pipe section that keeps it from catching on the green on longer follow-throughs.

Nickent Pipe Headcover
The Pipe putters come with bright orange, industrial-strength headcovers.

My only difficulty with the PP004 was on long putts. On putts longer than 30 feet, the Pipe putter head felt very light (even though it weighs a beefy 345 grams) and I had a hard time judging the distance, usually leaving putts short of the hole. I'm sure a few more rounds would help me compensate for this, but it was noticeable on the few long putts I found myself facing.

Conclusion
NickentPutting is the most personal part of the game, and the beauty of any putter is in the eye of the beholder. Performance-wise, the Pipe putters from Nickent stand up to the other high-MOI alignment putters on the market today. They're reliable at short range and have a confidence-inspiring design.

Pipe putters are available in lengths from 32-36" for righties, while only the original PP001 model comes in a lefty version. The PP004 version I tested had 3.5° of loft and a lie of 71°. Street price for all five models of Pipe putters is $149.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (9)

Discussion

  1. Everardo says:

    "Let's put it this way: if an Odyssey 2-Ball and a Futura Phantom got drunk and popped out a kid, the Pipe may be it."

    Ha! No other way to explain really. A friend of mine just got one and loves it, says it's idiot proof. Great review Don.

  2. Fatt Matt says:

    I use the pp005, and absolutely love it. I think that the tungsten weight not only helps get the ball rolling, but also gives me a great rythym. I don't feel like I have to force the putter through impact, it just swings itself.

  3. Steve says:

    With the pipe putter, you can visualize making the ball go into the pipe straight without the ball hitting the sides of the pipe.

    Straight back, and straight forward....I think this design helps with keeping the face online...and you know immediately when you are pushing and pulling as the pipe is not perpendicular to the initial set-up before the stroke.

  4. Mike Pettifer says:

    Dear sir/
    I am looking for a new grip for my NICKENT pipe putter, as mine is too long and would like to cut it down. Can you help?

  5. Steve says:

    Noticed that a crack/separation has occurred between the pipe material and the steel below it. Used super glue this first time.

    Likely happened when I casually drop the putter on the ground in those situations where you bring your wedge and putter from the cart. Drop the putter, hit the wedge, pick the putter up and head onward to the green.

    Anyone else have that happen? If so, kinda cheap. Love the results of this putter when putting, but sorta a poor design, if it's going to crack that easily.

    Can't believe it just cracks with a casual drop to the ground.

  6. Matt says:

    I played with a traditional blade and I was having alingmnent problems so I picked on up. I played part of a year with a pp/001. I liked it, it helps with alignment. The ball comes off of the insert nice. It was very hard for me to judge lag with this putter so I switched back to my old putter with much better results. I still practice with the pipe and I think it keeps me aligned with my blade. I think about getting rid of it but I pull it out and putt with it and really like the way it feels, I just can't get lag down with it compared to my old ping putter.

  7. Steve says:

    Matt-

    I agree with you. The face of the pipe is not all that "hot", in terms of the ball coming off the face quickly. If the stimp meter (a measure of how fast a green is- 7-8= slow.....10-12=like glass) reads 9+, the pipe works well. However, when you have to take a whack at it to get it rolling to the hole....it's certainly hard to get a feel for the putt with the Nickent Pipe.

    So, to apply the above strengths/weaknesses to certain courses....the pipe works well when the greens are small to middle sized (and fast)...probably not a good choice on courses where the greens are huge, and you'll be needing to do some lag putting.

  8. Nathan says:

    I would agree with the comments made my Matt and Steve about getting adjusted to longer putts on slower greens with this putter. But then again, I absolutely love my PP/001 and have gotten much better at judging the distance of my lag putts the longer that I have used the putter. Come to think of it the last time I switched putters it took me a while to get used to that new putter as well, so I don't see this as a problem with the equipment so much as with the users of the equipment. As Donald put it in the review, "putting is the most personal part of the game...", and once we find a putter that works we tend to stay pretty loyal to them and have a hard time using anything else.

    This is my first mallet putter and I switched from a blade (Odyssey Dual Force 660) early last year. I had wanted a Scotty Cameron Futura Phantom and had every intention of buying one, until I came across this putter. I took a chance on the pipe putter and am really glad I did. I will still gladly take a Phantom when they start giving them away mind you, but I am perfectly happy with the money I saved by buying the pipe instead. I love the feel of this putter and far prefer it over the various Odyssey two-ball putters I have tried (several of my fellow golfers use them).

    For me, the visual difference in size/mass of the mallet style putters in relation to the blade putters made me very cautious about making the switch, regardless of the alignment advantages they may have, and I was more than a little hesitant when I started using this putter. It just looks like it will go so much further than my blade putter would if I used the same stroke, when in reality it isn't that much hotter. Once I got used to the differences between my previous putter and the pipe putter the alignment benefits of the pipe really started to show and my putting has improved greatly from all distances - which is all that I was looking for to begin with.

  9. Mike Harvey says:

    I love my PP/001. It is the easiest putter I have ever used to line up. I put an oversize grip on it and it is deadly from inside 8 feet. I lag well with it as well. It does have a small crack in the pipe (no pun intended). But it was due to my brother in law's clumsiness. I fixed it with super glue. I just saw a new one on ebay for $30 + shipping. I think I'll go buy it in case my big foot brother in law stomps on mine again!

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