50 Words or Less
The New Level NLU-01 utility iron is even better than the 4995 HB. Easily one of the best utility irons on the market, very possibly the best.
From the moment I got it in hand, the New Level 4995 HB utility iron [review HERE] has been in my bag. It’s been everything that I wanted in a 4 iron replacement – easy to elevate, versatile, consistent – and it’s fended off a wide array of challengers. Is it possible that New Level Golf could produce something even better? I tested the NLU-01 to find out.
There’s no question that the look at address is most important, but the NLU-01’s look in the bag is stunning, so I’m going to start there. This is a perfect example of a club that’s eye-catching without veering too far from tradition. The ridges at the bottom of the blade provide a distinctive feature, but the rest of the back is clean. The mill marks beneath the “NL” logo make it pop better than neon paint fill ever could.
At address, the NLU-01 has less offset than its predecessor, which better players are going to love. The top line is fractionally thicker, but it’s still slim enough to fit into the players/GI gap. There is a little bit of sole that sticks out behind the top line. Overall, this is a beautiful club that you’re going to love having in your bag.
Sound & Feel
If you want a utility iron that feels like your traditional irons, you will love the New Level NLU-01. This is one of the softest feeling utility irons I’ve ever hit. There’s a little bit of springy, trampoline feel when you catch one perfectly, but the overwhelming sensation is the ball melting into the face.
For those that have gamed the 4995, the NLU-01 lacks the “snap” of its predecessor. The impact sound is negligible where the 4995 had a crisp, slightly explosive sound.
What most players need from a utility iron is help getting the ball airborne. Unless you have elite speed, you need a good deal of launch to get proper distance gaps between your long irons. The New Level NLU-01 excels at elevating the ball to a consistent trajectory regardless of the quality of contact. Thin shots get lifted up, but pure strikes and even high-face strikes remain on a strong trajectory.
Regular readers know that I hit a low ball, which is why I typically don’t carry anything lower lofted than my 24 degree 4995. The 21 degree NLU-01 has earned a spot in my bag because it launches the ball at the same angle as my 24 degree 4995 but with more ball speed and less spin for longer carry distances.
In addition to being forgiving in terms of launch angle, the NLU-01 is also brilliant at retaining ball speed. We all know the feeling of swinging all out at a long approach and missing the center of the face by a wide margin. The NLU-01 pardons these misses and creates a far better result than you deserve.
For the low handicap players out there, the NLU-01 provides plenty of opportunity for shotmaking. This is a club that you can flight up or down and bend in either direction, provided you have the skills.
Finally, I need to highlight the value that New Level is offering. The base price of the NLU-01 is $150, substantially less than most other utility irons. At that price, you get it custom built to your specs with a variety of shaft options. There are additional shafts available at an upcharge, but the highest priced build comes in at $230. Good luck finding any other utility iron that comes close to this level of customization in that price range.
I never thought I’d see myself adding a 3 iron replacement to my bag, but the New Level Golf NLU-01 has earned the spot. Thanks to a unique combination of ball speed, forgiveness, and perfect launch conditions, it creates a meaningful gap off my 4 iron and allows me more eagle opportunities. The stellar looks and feel are a much appreciated bonus. This club needs to be on your short list if you’re looking to replace some of your long irons.