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Review: Cleveland Niblick Short Iron Hybrid

Finally, a Club to Banish the "Chipper"

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating
User Rating 4.5 Star Rating (4 Reviews)

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Cleveland Niblick Short-Iron Hybrid
Courtesy of Cleveland Golf; used with permission
Here's an interesting twist on the short iron. The Cleveland Niblick is a club that combines the loft of an 8/9 iron with the small hybrid-iron clubhead. Cleveland has designed a fairly lofted short iron to help with trouble shots around the green, chipping, pitching, and recovery shots such as from deep or thick rough. Finally, someone has come up with a nice club to replace that single-function chipper that takes up space in the bag.

The Niblick's Look

The look of the club is similar to most of the hybrid irons – elongated and squared off at the toe instead of the traditional rounded and raised iron. There is quite a bit of offset in the hosel, which helps with shots from the rough. The modest eight degrees of bounce make this a useful club from most grass conditions. Hardpan might be a little difficult, but a little practice would fix that.

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

Cleveland NiblickCourtesy of Cleveland Golf; used with permission
Cleveland's "Zip Grooves" are used in the Niblick. I don't pretend to be scientific enough to understand how these grooves work – but they do. "Zip Grooves" are a true square groove that adds extra contact area with the ball ... and that's about as far as my understanding takes me. What I do know is the results, and with the Niblick I was able to add a bit more spin on chips and pitches.

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.

It is, however, a terrific option in deep fairway bunkers where getting the ball up quickly is the biggest demand. Greenside bunker shots can work with more of a pitching stroke and firm sand.

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.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 4 out of 5
Cleveland Niblicks, Member Kahuna77

I do have the 37 42 49 and 56 degree niblicks and I do love the 37 42 49 and they have greatly improved my 120 yards and in shots. However I can not say the same for the 56. The set up and maybe it's just me doesn't seem the same. The back and bottom of the 56 club are different and some way seem to change the overall performance of this club. Again I have tried to use the same set up, grip and ball position I have with the other niblicks but not the same results. I checked out the cleveland website and they suggest its design was for bunker shots around the green..This hasn't worked for me..but on the upside with other three niblicks I haven't been that many...so wouldn't recommend the 56 it's a no go for me...FYI I'm semi retired and I play three times a week and I'm 12 handicapper

17 out of 17 people found this helpful.

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