The Niblick's Look
The sole is stepped, with a traditional iron sole, then a second sole area that is stepped up and back, and helps to glide the club along the ground or through rough. It also helps in setting up square for chipping and pitching. It is really quite ingenious how easy the Niblick makes setting up for chipping and pitching around the green. The club basically soles itself like that old chipper, or a mallet putter.
For players who like to chip and putt with similar strokes, the second level of the sole makes this a very comfortable club to use (also making it easier to get rid of that chipper).
At first look, I was afraid the Niblick would feel "clangy" with all the open space behind the clubface, but Cleveland added a gel insert to soften the feel and take excess vibration out of contact. This seems to give the Niblick a very solid feel.
In the Grooves
The Niblick comes in 37 and 42 degrees of loft, and is more upright than a pitching wedge – making it more comfortable for chipping with that putting stroke. It is also 35 inches long – about the length of most putters and a half-inch shorter than the standard pitching wedge, also making it a bit easier for chipping and pitching.
About the only shot The Niblick isn't specifically designed for is a greenside bunker shot where the clubface needs to be laid open. The sole doesn't allow much room to play with the clubface angle.
If I had to change anything about The Niblick, it might be the shaft. Cleveland uses a 110-gram steel shaft, which is lighter than a standard Dynamic Gold, but since this is a club that will be used more by seniors, women, and high handicappers, a lighter shaft might have been better.
There is a graphite shaft option, so if shaft weight is a question, Cleveland does have this covered.
Overall, I was very impressed with the Cleveland Niblick. It does what it is designed to do for chipping, pitching, recovery shots, and regular approach shots from the fairway. This is a very versatile club for most shots around the green. If you have a chipper in your bag, get rid of it and replace it with a Niblick.