King of the Hybrids Review

Every few years something comes along that changes the way golf clubs are made and what is purchased. Hybrids did just that! The name “hybrid” comes from genetics to denote a mixture of two different species with desirable characteristics of both, and the term here has been generalized; a hybrid club combines the advantages of an iron and a wood. Almost every golf company out there is making them at this point but some are making them better than others. One company calls themselves “King of the Hybrids” and by the time you finish reading this review, you will know why.

Nickent Golf made their name as a hybrid leader on the world’s professional tours and the results have been outstanding. They have been a trend setter in hybrids for over seven years, accumulating awards and professional tour wins from everywhere on the planet, including wins at the 2007 US Open and 2008 Ryder Cup. Nickent will be releasing the 5DX Ironwood shortly, so THP decided it was time to give the readers a review of their amazing hybrid line and a preview of what is coming with the 5DX.

Nickent’s 3DX Ironwood is their most forgiving hybrid. The tungsten polymer insert moves weight to the extreme heel and toe for optimal forgiveness. The inserts help dampen vibration while weight in each port helps create a more stable clubhead with optimal weight distribution to eliminate the “pull hook” associated with other leading hybrids. It is available from 14 degrees in their 1 iron version to 29 degrees in their 6 iron model. We took them out to the range with three golfers that have been playing the game less than 2 years each. All three of the testers had zero problems getting the ball up in the air with great distance and control. Myself, I found the club to be a bit “too forgiving” for my game and not really what I was used to. With a new MSRP of $99 this club should be at the top of the list for any mid to high handicapper that is looking for something to take them to the next level.

The 4DX Ironwood was one of the most popular hybrids on tour the last year. The 4DX has balanced weighting and has a more penetrating ball flight in comparisons with the 3DX. We considered this much more of a “players’ hybrid” and when we went to the course to test it out, a funny thing happened. We grabbed six people before a local tournament was about to start and asked them each if they would test out the 4DX Ironwood for us. Five out of the six of them said “look in my bag”. Most of the people were already playing the club. So it was myself and one other gentleman and we quickly realized exactly why the others had it in their bags. The club was long and straight and felt fantastic. It is also available from 14 degrees to 29 degrees and has a new MSRP of $149.

We really do not want to get into comparing the three hybrids by Nickent in this review though. Each one of these clubs is a separate entity and depending on the level of your game should be looked at carefully. While our mid to high handicappers loved the 3DX most of them the following weekend considered the 4DX not the right fit for their game at all. They much preferred the added forgiveness that the back weighting of the 3DX offered them. While the more experienced players that tested this club and that we spoke with all had trouble with the ball flight of the 3DX and unanimously preferred the 4DX and its specifications. I definitely preferred the 4DX Ironwoon. To find a players’ club that has great feel and forgiveness is rare, but with this club I feel that it was the finest hybrid I had ever hit. Until Today!

Here is a recipe for everyone out there.
Take 1 part 4DX Ironwood – One of, if not the best hybrids on the market today.
Take 1 part John Hoeflich – Legendary club maker with a resume that speaks for itself.
Mix the two of them together for a while and see what comes out!

What comes out is the latest Nickent offering. The 5DX Ironwood.
Here is what the company has to say about the new product:

Nickent Golf, a longtime industry leader in hybrid technology, introduces their latest breakthrough in hybrid shaping and performance with their new 5DX Ironwood.Nickent has been a trend setter in hybrids for over seven years, accumulating awards and professional tour wins from everywhere on the planet, including wins at the 2007 US Open and 2008 Ryder Cup. With their 5th generation design, the King of Hybrids has produced an all stainless steel hybrid with a new geometrical shape that places discretionary weight to the extreme perimeters of the clubhead.

New “wings” on the back of the clubhead were designed by Nickent master designer John Hoeflich to optimize the center of gravity (CG) and increase the Moment of Inertia (MOI) for superior forgiveness. The increased MOI, which surpasses that of most fairway woods on the market, plus stronger lofts means a significant increase in distance.

“This is without a doubt the longest and straightest hybrid we have ever made,” said Hoeflich. “Our first four different ironwood designs all followed the same basic classic profile. We knew we had an opportunity to increase the MOI by adding wings to the back of the clubhead. But one of my main principles in club design is that the club must look good to the player’s eye in the address position. So while the wings add significantly to the playability and performance of the hybrid, we made sure that it would be accepted by the top players in the world from an appearance standpoint.”

The Hackers Paradise is proud to say that we are the first media outlet that is publishing a review of this club. After reviewing both the 3DX and the 4DX, we really did not know what to expect with the 5DX. The 4DX is a club that is loved by so many people. Both on the tours and at the golf courses around the world, people have nothing but good things to say about the Nickent hybrid line. We were excited to review the new club but at the same time apprehensive on how they could improve upon what they have already done with their hybrid line in 2008. With the 3DX and the 4DX they have, what seems like every golfer covered in their needs with hybrid clubs.

When the box arrived at the THP offices I felt like the child that wakes up too early for Christmas morning and is sitting, staring at the presents before being allowed to open them. Once everybody was accounted for, the box got ripped open. At first glance we were in golf club heaven. The headcover is by far the best one that Nickent has done to date. (pictured at the top of review) The white with the green looks perfect and the yellow piping adds a punch. It is little things like this that bring joy to a reviewer’s heart.

Once you slip the headcover off, you notice that things are VERY DIFFERENT than they were before with the Nickent line. As mentioned earlier, in the italic portion, Nickent has added “wings” to the 5DX Ironwood.

Two things came to mind when we first started with this club in our hands. One, it is heavier than either of the other two hybrids. We liked the extra weight because it seemed to be in all of the right places. The club felt as though it would naturally stay on course throughout your swing. Two, we were not sure how we felt about the look of the “wings” that they added. But we leave the club making to Nickent and decided to head off to the course.

We had 8 players lined up to test this new hybrid out. Four of them were local pros that ironically all played the Nickent 4DX. (we had no idea of this ahead of time) The other four were myself and three people that ranged in handicap from 2 to 18. After warming up, we all took turns hitting 12 balls a piece with the 5DX. Most liked it, some really struggled initially at the setup. But we will get to that in a second. But all eight people said the exact same thing at address. “Why didn’t they paint the wings the same color as the head?”. After each of us hit the balls we all gathered around and spoke about the club.

Here are some of the major points brought out in that discussion:

1. At setup this club is very different. When first hitting the club, the wings, being a different color, cause you to focus on them rather than the ball. We would have preferred them in the same color as the head.
2. The weighting of the club, albeit different, was very much liked by all eight of the testers. You get the feeling that because of the weighting the club propels itself through the ball rather than at the ball. Great feeling.
3. There is no doubt in any of the eight that hit the club that this was the LONGEST HYBRID they have ever hit.
4. The Fujikura Level 5 shaft was a great addition to this club and had a perfect ball trajectory.
5. The better players felt as though this club was very much a players’ club. They could “work” the ball anyway they wanted. While the mid to high handicappers felt as though it was incredibly forgiving and straight. We do not know how Nickent did that, but it sure did work.

After the testing THP went back to Nickent to find out the story of exactly why the wings are a different color. Here is a summary of their response.

All Nickent products have a classic and traditional shape at the address position, largely because everything is tour driven. When you add wings to a club like we did with the 5DX, that classic look is not easy to achieve.

In fact John Hoeflich asked THP try some things on this club head. Put black tape on the wings and see what we thought of the look at that point. As usual the club maker was correct. The black wings are even more distracting than the silver. It takes a traditional shaped hybrid and makes it “boxier”. Nickent went on to say that the prototype was all back and was quickly shot down.

Overall I found this club to be the best hybrid that I have played to date. Those are bold but honest words. I would like to see the wings have been a little less distracting at setup, but in the end I will take the playability of this hybrid over that minor complaint all day. The distance and control gained are simply that much better than the competition out there. The 5DX will be available in stores very soon with an MSRP of $199.

If you are in the market for hybrids, Nickent must be near or at the top of your list. They are truly the KING OF HYBRIDS. They offer three models and have something for every golfer in every price range. From the regular player looking for distance and forgiveness to the low handicapper looking for that one thing to take their game to the next level. We urge everyone of our readers to check them out when purchasing their next utility clubs. To read more about all three of these fantastic clubs head on over to Nickent Golf.

Till Next Time

Josh B.

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