The most recognized putter in the Nickent Golf portfolio is the PIPE putter, which looks just like its name. While some swear by the PIPE, no one would enter it into a beauty contest.
Now come the new Nickent Tour Tour Prototype Milled putters ($179), which are the stylistic yin to the PIPE’s yang—crisp, clean and very traditional in profile. Is Nickent’s trip back to the future worth the price of admission?
Following is PutterZone.com’s Nickent Tour Prototype Milled putter review, specifically the MP/05 blade model.
The five new Nickent putter models include two heel-toe blades (MP/01 and MP/02), a Zing-style putter (MP/03), a mid mallet (MP/04) and a softtail-style design, the MP/05 being reviewed here.
Each Nickent Tour Prototype Milled putter is milled from 8620 carbon steel and features a proprietary face insert with “Alternate Groove Technology,” which is milled from anodized 7075 aluminum to produce “an extremely true roll with a soft feel.”
The standard loft of the Nickent Tour Prototype Milled putters is 3 degrees, and the available lengths range from 33 to 36 inches. The head weight on all models is 345 grams. The toe hang on the MP/05 is half past five o’clock.
According to Nickent, the putters will be made in “very small quantities.” In fact, they don’t even appear under the putter category on the Nickent web site. To see the Tour Prototype Milled putters, you have to enter the site’s shopping cart.
The View from PutterZone.com
Early reports had the price of the Tour Prototype Milled putters at $249, a figure that was even printed in putter previews in at least two national golf magazines. Such a price would have pitted the putters against some pretty stiff competition in the crowded ultra-premium category.
In a stroke of genius, however, Nickent rolled the putters out of the gates at $179. Suddenly, what sounded like a bit of a stretch had the scent of a steal. And now that I have one in my hands, I can confirm that the Tour Prototype Milled is a sweet putter for the price.
The MP/05 is a riff on the classic softtail design popularized by T.P. Mills, which is a favorite of mine. This design is angular and stubby from the front, but a thing of curvy, symmetrical beauty from above. The MP/05 doesn’t have a cavity, so it boasts a seamless visual flow from topline to flange. A white alignment dot on the crown is the lone adornment visible at setup.
Nickent delivers on its promise of soft feel with the Alternate Groove Technology insert. The insert feels supple but not at all squishy, and it strikes a distinctive chalky note in the hands as well. The roll off the face is clean and tight, with quick topspin when struck well. If you miss the center of the face, the softness yields to a bit of a bite in the hands and ears that informs you of your misdeed.
The MP/05 is nearly fully toe down in balance, so it really wants to swing on an arc. Therefore, this is not a putter for folks who subscribe to more of a straight-back-straight-through stroke. The 345-gram head feels hefty, at least on the 35-inch model. This weighty sensation is likely amplified by the rotational behavior of the toe-down balance.
I have a few quibbles with the putter on the accessories front. First, the colorful checkered brand logo dominates the grip right below where the right thumb rests on the club, creating unnecessary visual noise and encroaching on the classic beauty of the putter head. Also, the head cover that comes with the putter is, to be kind, unattractive. The good news is that if the grip or headcover are really bothering you, they can be easily replaced for about $10 or less.
I do like the fact that Nickent chose a dark gunmetal gray for the finish of the head, which is a different visual flavor than the familiar finishes of black and stainless steel. I also like the fact that the hue of the insert is consistent with the rest of the head, and that the face displays no logos or paintfill. Such restraint is admirable in this age of over-adornment.
The Bottom Line
The Nickent Tour Prototype Milled putters offer classy good looks and solid performance at a sweet price. The Alternate Groove Technology insert delivers a crisp roll with a soft yet sturdy feel. The MP/05 model will appeal to golfers with an arcing stroke who want to upgrade their putter without breaking the bank.