Range Ball: 1 Nickent 4DX SE: 0

Has this ever happened to you? Doff your caps for a fallen comrade.

Tragedy struck during a mid-morning range outing Monday when the Nickent 4DX SE driver reviewed in this space barely a week ago, out for a little follow-up field research, suffered irreparable damage from a fatal blow to the head.

After about four or five swings, the sound of impact suddenly went from a pleasant, satisfying bang to an oddly sickening crunch. Closer inspection revealed a substantial crack in the face, just northwest of the sweet spot, out near the toe.

The face of the club is clearly ruptured along the crack, and theres a faint Y formation at the edge of it that seems to indicate further structural weakness.
I hit several more shots, just to see the impact on ball flight, and they seemed to fly OK, although clearly not as far. The sound was slightly different and the swings a bit hesitant, presumably due to the nagging fear that the face was about to cave in entirely, sending shards of titanium rocketing eyeward.Its been a long time since I caved in a face, particularly on a brand-new driver. But head designs are such these days that the faces are incredibly thin, which means theres precious little room for error in the manufacturing process. Im also tempted to blame rock-hard range balls.

A cursory Google search suggests cracks in the face are a lot more common that one might think, even in the case of brand new brand-name equipment.
For the record, it wasnt hard to find other people talking of similar problems with the same Nickent model, although Nike, TaylorMade, Titleist and Callaway were all equally represented as well.
Well follow up with Nickent in the coming days to find out if theyve been having any quality-control issues we ought to know about.
In the meantime, a moment of silence, please.

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James McCarten

When James McCarten isn't at the Ottawa offices of The Canadian Press, where he works as parliamentary news editor, he's either on the golf course or putting off his latest freelance golf-writing gig to spend time with wife Lisa and school-age kids Claire and Lucas. With 20 years of experience in Canadian journalism, James also suffers from a financially crippling addiction to all things Scotty Cameron.

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