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Clubs: Nickent 3DX Ironwood DC Review


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By Jeff Smith via TheSandTrap.com
Nickent, a major player in the hybrid market, recently released an upgrade to their popular Ironwood series clubs. The 3DX Ironwood DC is a reliable and high-performance club that you're sure to enjoy.

nickent_3dx_ironwood_dc_bottom.jpgLet's face it: we are the beneficiaries of significant advances in club technology. No longer does one need to fear the 1-iron, the 2-iron, the 3-iron, or even the 4-iron. Sweet-spots the size of neutrons are but a vague and unpleasant memory. Thanks to companies like Nickent, a recent and significant manufacturer of hybrid clubs, our confidence from about 170 to 230 yards has been restored.



Nickent released the 3DX Ironwood DC earlier this year along with the 3DX Utility DC. The 3DX Ironwood DC is an upgrade to the popular 3DX Ironwood. I've wanted to put one of these hybrids through its paces for some time and recently picked one up to see what all the buzz was about. I wasn't disappointed.

There has been considerable buzz surrounding Nickent's hybrids for some time. These clubs couldn't be better for amateurs. Todd Hamilton may singlehandedly be responsible for pushing hybrids into the public's consciousness when he used a Sonartec hybrid to win the 2004 British Open, but companies like Nickent have picked up the ball and run with it. A recent Nickent press release boasted, "At the Nationwide Tour's Rheem Classic in Arkansas, 45 Nickent hybrids were in play," which accounted for 36% of all hybrids. They have continued their popularity.



nickent_3dx_ironwood_dc_face.jpg
Nickent's 3DX Ironwood DC has a hot face with a pleasing "tink" at impact. I love that sound!



Construction
Nickent's original 3DX Ironwood was an excellent club, but in 2005 Nickent set out to improve upon their original design. To begin, a new, thinner face was implemented to deliver a higher CoR than the first Ironwood. CoR is an acronym for "coefficient of restitution," which is scientific marketing lingo for "efficiency of energy transfer." Basically the new Ironwood transfers more of your power to the golf ball than the original.



In addition to the new clubface, forty grams of weight have been moved to the bottom of the club to help you get the ball airborne and to either side of the club to help you hit it straight. The Ironwood has 24% more MOI or "moment of inertia," which is a scientific marketing lingo for "resistance to twisting," than the previous Ironwood. This club is designed to help you get the ball up in the air and hit it straight in the process.



nickent_3dx_ironwood_dc_tungsten.jpg
Tungsten weights bring the center of gravity low in this club making it easy for you to elevate the ball.



Nickent further claims that the "inserts are also used to move the center of gravity of the head to insure proper weight distribution and eliminate the 'pull hooks' produced by many of the leading hybrid designs." I have more to say on whether this is an effective technology or not later on…



Aesthetics
This is one of the finest looking hybrids on the market. Many hybrids have a two-tone top-line that gives you the general impression of what an iron looks like at address with the wood part of the club tacked on behind. The 3DX Ironwood is all wood and no iron in the looks department, and I like it. It doesn't have a scooped out body or anything that makes it look quasi-high-tech at address. It looks like a hybrid should: simple and functional. The only other clubs that achieve this (to my knowledge) are the Sonartec hybrids, but they come at a higher price point. These are beautiful and uncluttered at address.



nickent_3dx_ironwood_dc_top.jpg
One of the best looking hybrids on the market the 3DX Ironwood DC looks as good as it performs.



The back and sole of the 3DX Ironwood DC looks more high tech and are an improvement aesthetically over the original Ironwood. The tungsten weights are a visible reminder of what Nickent has done to make this club forgiving and high flying. The face is simple and confidence inspiring. Put a decent swing on this club and the face does its job.



The Winn V17 series grip and trademark green Aldila NV shaft both look great and complement the club-head nicely. No complaints there.



Like I've said, I feel this is among the best looking hybrids on the market right now. They fill an aesthetic gap left by most other hybrid manufacturers.



nickent_3dx_ironwood_dc_shaft.jpg
Aldila's NV Hybrid shaft gets the ball in the air with a fairly boring ball flight. It provides plenty in the feel department.



Performance
This club performs very well. I believe it does what Nickent promises. It is easy to get the ball up in the air and on line without much effort. It responds well to a smooth swing. There is no need to get aggressive with this club. I tried to think "swing it like an 8-iron" every time I looked down on it. More often than not I got pleasing sound and feel, high trajectory, and long ball flight. Swing easy and hit it long. I have the 20° 3-iron replacement, and it nicely filled my 5-wood gap during testing.



Hybrids are well known for hitting the ball high with less roll than an iron, making it easier to hold greens on approach shots and long par threes.



The 3DX Ironwood DC has a pleasing but high "tink" sound when struck on the sweet spot. The sound brings a little smile to my face every time I hear it. The face felt thin and hot the first time I hit it, and it is easy to get the face on the ball in all kinds of conditions. Moderately thick rough, tight lies in the fairway, and off the tee are easy with this face and sole.



nickent_3dx_ironwood_dc_toe_address.jpg
The view at address insires confidence and is pleasing to the eye.



I requested the wildly popular Aldila NV Hybrid 75 gram stiff shaft over the higher launching UST SR2. Club makers are trying to kill as many birds as possible with one stone and Aldila's hybrid shaft does a good job in that respect. My aggressive swing overloads this shaft when I'm warmed up, so I'll be keeping the club and looking for a replacement shaft. The Aldila NV shaft delivers a high ball flight, getting the ball up in the air quickly, and responds to a smooth-as-creamy-peanut-butter swing. I have to hold my swing back more than normal to get pleasing results with this shaft. Smooth swings produce wonderful results.



The resulting ball-flight of 3DX Ironwood DC was high and long. I completely trust this club to get the ball up in the air quickly. There is a dog-leg left par-four on the front nine of a local course with a big tree right in the middle of the fairway. It has cause me a fair amount of frustration with my woods as you have to get up fast to get over it. Generally I have to play it as it was designed (darn it) with a 6- or 7-iron to the fairway on the other side. I started using the Ironwood as it gets the ball past the trouble and further down the fairway. I like that.



This is a forgiving and yet workable club. While I can't work the ball like some of my fellow staff members, I got some cuts and draws out of it during testing but you will have to work at it a little more with a higher MOI. The weighting of this club means that off-center hits aren't going to penalize you as much as they might an iron of similar loft.



nickent_3dx_ironwood_dc_headcover.jpg
Nickent's headcover fits well and looks good in your bag. You can't miss it with that green.



The Ironwood is easy to hit off the tee, fairway, and out of the rough. I found it useful to use chipping around the greens from time to time.



I'm not sure whether it was the clubhead or the shaft but an aggressive swing produced some pull hooks for me. Nickent was trying to do away with them by moving the internal weight around. You need to remember that you can't play a hybrid like a fairway wood. Hybrids are meant to be played like a mid-iron. Place the ball too far forward in your stance and you're in for some pull hooks. I made sure that the clubhead was square to the target line and that I swung easy with proper ball position and the ball stayed on line. It was mildly annoying to have to change my swing even slightly.



Specs
The 3DX Ironwood DC is available in lofts from 14° to 26° in 2.5° increments. Left handed clubs are available lofts 14° to 26° in 3° increments. There are enough loft choices to meet a variety of needs from fairway metal to long- and mid-iron replacement.



The 75-gram Aldila NV Hybrid and higher launching UST SR2 graphite shafts are available. The Nippon 950 steel shaft is a third stock option.



Conclusion
nickent_golf.jpgThe Nickent 3DX Ironwood DC is a go-to club. It works well off the tee when you have to put the ball in play, performs out of the rough, off of the fairway, and looks great in the process. Having confidence is a club is important because golf is tough enough without fighting your equipment. This club is likely one that I'll have in my bag for a long time and I recommend it without hesitation. Make sure that you hit as many shaft options as you can to find the right one for your swing and you will obtain a very reliable and good looking hybrid.

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You covered absolutely everything that I love about the Nickent 3dx DC, I have one that just recently put in bag and absolutely love it. One suggestion you may want to consider, the Accuflex Icon HL shaft is a great fit for more aggressive swingers in this head as evidenced by the fact that a majority of the Nationwide guys at the Rex Hospital Open liked the combo and put it in the bag. This is a testament to both Josh and Jody (Nickent and Accuflex tour reps. respectively) and the quality of both products.

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