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Teachers’ Comments: Versatile and easy to play
I have a fantastic new weapon in my golfing arsenal: the Cleveland Niblick. It’s a Frankenstein monster of a club, sewn together from bits of putters, wedges, irons and chippers into a weapon of deadly accuracy and ease of use.
Like the Doctor’s construct, the Niblick is a little hard to describe. The version I purchased was the “P.” It’s got a putter-like 35 inch long shaft, 42 degees of loft, and eight degrees of bounce. At address, the lead looks like the offspring of a chipper and a mallet putter. From the bottom, it looks like an iron with a long flange attached. From the front, it has a shallow face cut with Cleveland’s Zip Grooves, but is long heel to toe.
Although the Niblick “P” has the loft of a nine iron, on a full swing, it plays for me like a gap wedge—and that’s what it replaces in my bag. But if that’s all it did, I wouldn’t replace my very easy to hit TaylorMade XD A wedge. Where the Niblick really shines is in play all around the green, from sixty yards in.
Since I put the Niblick in my bag, I’ve shot two straight rounds in the low 80s, and a 39 on a nine. For me, those are very good scores. Much of the credit goes to the Niblick. When I miss the green, I’ve been able to use it to get the ball close enough for a short putt for par. On three occasions in that stretch, I’ve holed out on a chip for a bird. It’s deadly accurate.
The Niblick did take a bit of experimentation to figure out the best stroke for use. Depending upon the distance and the lie, my stoke generally has been somewhere between a full pitch and a lag putt. I’ve also used it on a several occasions as a full blown gap wedge and watched it check up almost as soon as it hits the green.
I like the club enough that I’ve ordered the sand wedge version.
If you’re thinking about getting one, though, you should act promptly. The Zip Grooves on the Niblick are theoretically going to be banned from production by the USGA after December—although you can use them for the next decade as part of a planned obsolescence program.