2005 has been a big year for Nickent Golf. The California-based company saw its profile rise considerably, thanks to its 3DX Ironwood line of hybrids. Tim Petrovic used a 3DX hybrid to win his first PGA Tour event, and Nickent’s 3DX driver and Pipe putter also generated some strong buzz.
Nickent has since added longtime club design ace John Hoeflich as senior VP of product development, and the company’s first new products to bear his design stamp will hit the market early in the new year. The Bag Drop got an early look at the new goodies, and we’re in a sharing mood.
3DX DC Series Hybrids
This is the way the golf biz works today: when you have a hot product, go ahead and change it before it gets old. Nickent’s 3DX Ironwood hybrids have been a hit on tour, especially the Nationwide Tour, and at retail, thanks to an attractive price point. For 2006, the 3DX hybrid line is built to be twice as nice.
The 3DX DC Series is actually a pair of hybrid lines. The first is an updated version of the original 3DX Ironwoods, called the 3DX DC Ironwood. Like the original, this is a hybrid made (as the name suggests) more like an iron than a wood. New to the party is the 3DX DC Utility hybrid, which is built more like a low-profile fairway wood.
Both clubs in the DC series feature a hotter, thinner face an a plasma welding process. This design change freed 40 grams of weight for redistribution. That weight is put to use in the form of two tungsten-fused polymer inserts, one each in the rear toe and heel areas of the clubhead. Nickent says this increases the MOI of the 3DX Ironwood by 25 percent over the original, making the new version more forgiving without changing the shape or making the head bigger. (The Nickent 3DX Utility is seen here with a Titleist 904F fairway metal.)
The addition of the 3DX Utility hybrid gives golfers another option, much like TaylorMade offers the standard and Mid versions of the Rescue hybrids. The 3DX Utility has a longer shaft than the 3DX Ironwood design, which is a good thing for folks who prefer to make a sweeping swing. The 3DX Utility also launches the ball higher than the 3DX Ironwood and puts more spin on the ball. This gives Nickent a pair of DC hybrids that have distinct qualities: one’s much more wood-like, and one’s much more iron-like.
The 3DX Ironwood will be available in lofts from 14° through 26°, while the 3DX Utility will be available in 2° increments from 13° through 21°. They’ll start showing up in golf shops during December at an MSRP of $199 with an Aldila NV shaft or $169 with the UST SR2 shaft, or $179 for a Nippon 950 steel shaft.
Nickent’s first two Hoeflich-designed irons bear the 3DX brand name. There’s a standard 3DX iron model that is a big, bold game-improvement iron, and a more compact 3DX Pro model coming in the near future. Both have Hoeflich’s initials – JBH – stamped on the hosel.
The standard 3DX irons are cast from 431 stainless steel and feature 20 grams of weight repositioned to the heel and toe using tungsten-fused polymer inserts – just like the DC hybrids. This design is meant to help high handicappers get the ball airborne more easily, and the inserts also dampen vibration. The design is somewhat like Callaway’s recent irons with “Notch” weighting, where most of the weight is moved toward the heel and toe. There’s a thick topline and plenty of offset. The 3DX irons look very nice, with a deep red medallion in the cavity that has high-tech mill marks.
We haven’t seen the 3DX Pro irons in person yet, but a Bag Drop operative tells us that they are very attractive chrome-plated irons meant for better players. A softer steel alloy allows for more custom-fitting options, and the tungsten-fused polymer weights are concentrated in the center of the club to increase playability. The 3DX Pro irons also have a thin topline and a straight leading edge for a more blade-like appearance, and a more restrained silver cavity medallion.
The standard 3DX irons will be hitting golf shops later this month at an MSRP of $599 for a set of eight irons with UST SR2 graphite shafts, or $499 with True Temper ST-90 steel shafts. Pricing and shipping info on the 3DX Pro irons is still unknown.
Nickent will also have new versions of the Pipe Putter coming in early 2006. We’ll get you the details on those as soon as we get them.