So much of golf is about feel. That’s true not only in terms of performance but also the emotional response of a perfectly struck shot. The feeling you get from hitting the sweet spot and looking up to watch a pure golf shot flying toward the target is thrilling and that’s what I’ve been experiencing more often since putting the PXG Gen 4 clubs in the bag.
While it’s still rather early in the golf season, I’ve managed to play six rounds and several practice sessions with a launch monitor testing the new sticks and discovered a few performance upgrades that yield a sonorous chord of confidence.
First, in the 0311 Gen 4 irons, the brand is using a new custom-made XCOR polymer to reinforce an extremely thin 1.5mm maraging steel face. The material is soft and flexible, but doesn’t absorb energy, which allows for faster ball speeds and more distance compared to previous generations. That new polymer also sounds and feels different (in a good way) at impact.
More distance is cool. I seem to be getting between 4 to 6 more yards out of full, well-struck irons shots, excellent check into greens with the short- and mid-irons, plus a bit of extra forgiveness on mishits compared to Gen 3. But what I’m truly loving about the Gen 4 irons is the new center weight. PXG has reduced the number of its signature visible screw weights in the back of the club head from nine to five—and not just for the sake of Dolly Parton. One of those weights is a large and variable one.
During my session, the PXG club fitter and I experimented with a few different weights in the club head, and we found more consistency from the heaviest 18 gram weight. Some players might pick up speed with a lighter club head, but what I noticed was the heavier weight added some feel to where my club head was at the top of the backswing. As someone who can get a little loose at the top and over-rotates, it allowed me to better realize where my hands are and trigger the transition to the downswing before I go too far.
Adding weight to the club head isn’t a new technology; it’s typically done with lead tape for elite players using blade-style irons in the back of a maker’s tour van. But PXG has added this extra customization for all skill levels—from professional to rank amateur—and it’s worth the time and energy to find the right combination at a personalized fitting.
As with previous generations, PXG offers the 0311 irons in three models T, or Tour Performance, which has less offset (they’re also more workable); XP, for Xtreme Performance along with maximum forgiveness; and P, for Player, which sits in the middle.
The new Gen 4 driver also features loads of new tech. The body and face are both made of high-strength titanium, while a large section of the crown is constructed from carbon fiber reinforced with aluminum vapor. If you cut the club head open, you’d find a honeycomb-shaped thermoplastic urethane inside the sole, which gives the club great sound and feel.
On the course, the new driver is comparable in terms of distance with my previous gamer. The sweet spot isn’t quite as hot, but it’s radically straighter and more consistent thanks to the custom fitting. It’s much easier to make par or better from 10 feet father back and in the fairway than in the rough or the trees.
The driver comes in three models XF (maximum forgiveness), X (blend of forgiveness and distance), and XT (smaller head for more speed).
Fairway Woods and Hybrids
Much like the driver, PXG’s new fairways and hybrids also utilize aluminum-vapor reinforced carbon fiber in the crown, but the bodies and faces are constructed from steel. Both the fairway woods and the hybrids feature larger faces (taller on the woods and longer in the hybrids) with customizable weighting for draw and fade bias.
These two clubs were where I saw the most distance gains. During the fitting, I picked up more than a dozen yards with a three hybrid and 20 plus when ripping a three wood. Those are monstrous numbers. On the course, that’s bringing long par-5s within range of my second shot and making decisions to lay back behind the danger of water or fairway bunkers all the easier.
The 0341 X fairway woods come in lofts of 13, 15, 18, and 21 degrees and 17, 19, 22, 25, and 28 degrees in the 0317 X hybrids.
[From $349; pxg.com]