It’s not blowing even a little smoke to suggest there is a segment of golfers who are drawn to the PXG brand but find the current asking price for its irons a little too bougie.
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It’s not the kind of purchase that goes unnoticed on the home front. I mean, good luck getting your spouse to sign-off. And while it’s true a good number of PXG’s customers aren’t overly concerned (or any concerned) about the cost, there is an as yet untapped market of potential PXG customers who might be swayed by the introduction of a more affordable offering.
With that in mind, I give you the PXG 0211 iron.
PXG 0211 Irons
Given its significantly reduced price, the new PXG iron should reach more golfers, likely including some who, to date, have professed to despise the brand. Accessibility and something closer to affordability have a way of changing perceptions.
As you’d expect, a few trade-offs were necessary to hit 0211’s more consumer-friendly price point, but PXG didn’t give up much in the way of performance. “It’s still really good,” says company founder and CEO, Bob Parsons.
The company hasn’t abandoned its guiding principles of quality, innovation, and performance either. PXG has put a significant amount of effort into ensuring its new mainstream-ish iron offers performance on par with other PXG offerings.
With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that there’s a fair amount of overlap between the 0211 and the 0311, so it makes sense to begin by explaining how the two iron families are alike.
Construction is the same (Mostly)
We’ll get to what surely qualifies as a significant difference in a bit, but there are inarguable similarities in the construction.
The 0211 features the same face material (HT1770 maraging steel) as the 0311 GEN2, which works in conjunction with PXG’s more responsive second generation COR2 polymer material – the goo filling that allows for the thinnest iron face on the market – to preserve ball speed across the whole of the face.
Like the 0311 GEN2, it offers an internal face perimeter cut-out. It’s a design which leverages an undercut cavity and moves the weld lines between the two pieces to the outer perimeter of the club (as opposed to on the face itself). It’s a forgiveness-boosting feature that makes for an effectively larger face without increasing the size of the clubhead.
PXG 0211 Irons have Outstanding Sound and Feel
This one is admittedly subjective and certainly open to some personal interpretation, but PXG says the new model offers the same exceptional sound and feel as its GEN2 irons.
With the similarities covered, let’s dig a bit deeper into what distinguishes the 0211 from previous PXG iron offerings.
The Body Is Cast
Unlike the GEN2 offerings, which are forged, the 0211 features an investment cast 431 stainless steel body. The new-for-PXG material offers a solid feel, while bringing with it enhanced durability (less bag chatter) and corrosion resistance.
PXG describes casting as a more efficient process, and while that’s a reasonable assessment, in this case, efficient is mostly a euphemism for less expensive. The move from forged to cast is a good bit of why the 0211s can be offered at a significantly lower price.
Typically, golfers associate cast irons with inferior feel (relative to forged offerings), but Brad Schweigert, PXG’s Chief Product Officer, is hoping to shift the paradigm a bit. When it comes more complex, multi-piece (and material) constructions like the 0211, the grain structure isn’t nearly the factor it is in single piece designs.
With the manufacturing method itself a smaller part of the equation, PXG believes feel differences between the two are essentially a push. As always, your mileage may vary.
No Weights in the PXG 0211 Irons
For as long as we’ve been writing about PXG clubs, I’ve been writing the phrase signature weights, and while I technically just did it again, this time around those weights are conspicuous in their absence.
By removing the weight screws from the 0211, PXG is giving up a bit of fitting versatility, though its fitters and builders are perfectly capable of achieving desired swing weights through conventional methods (e.g., tip weights). I suspect while some will be disappointed that the 0211 doesn’t look exactly like other PXG iron offerings, others will appreciate it for exactly that reason.
Progressive Head Design
The 0311 GEN2 iron family is available in 4 different models (T, P, XF, and SGI); the 0211 is offered as single progressive design. Think of it is a factory-designed combo set.
The long irons (more specifically the 4-iron) is most similar to the XF. That gets you a longer blade, more offset, and a wider sole to push the center of gravity back and promote a higher launch.
The short irons are most similar to the 0311 GEN2 P. They’re more compact with more of a player scoring club look to them. The rest of the set is designed to provide a natural and smooth transition between the two styles.
The big picture design goal is, according to Schweigert, “to give you forgiveness where you need it, and playability where you want it.”
Length, loft, and lie specs are identical to the 0311 GEN2 P iron.
Offering a single progressive set is a more efficient design approach than offering multiple head styles.
PXG 0211 Irons have Lower MOI
Sure, less forgiving isn’t exactly a selling point, but credit to PXG for not trying to spin that detail by claiming the 0211 is more workable. The reality is there is a bit of a relative MOI hit moving from the 0311 GEN2 to the 0211. That’s not to say the new model is unforgiving (it’s not), but because it lacks the tungsten weighting of the 0311, MOI is 7% to 10% lower than the 0311 GEN2 (depending on which 0311 model you compare it to).
PXG believes with the benefit of COR2 construction, the new offering can hold its own against the competitive set.
Stock Shafts – Upgrades Will Cost You
In a first for PXG, the 0211s have what amounts to a true stock shaft offering. True Temper’s new Elevate is the steel offering. The standard Elevate is a 95g offering (available in R and S flex) designed to promote a high trajectory for those who need to put a little spin back into their iron game.
The Elevate Tour (115g) is available in stiff and x-stiff flexes. It’s described as a mid-trajectory, mid spin offering.
Both Elevate shafts feature VSS (Vibration Suppression System) technology. A fresh take on the Sensicore principle, VSS reduces unwanted vibrations by 71% in the standard Elevate, while VSS PRO reduces unwanted vibrations by 56% in the Elevate Tour.
The graphite offering is the just-released MMT from Mitsubishi. It’s a low to mid-weight parallel tip offering described by Mitsubishi as mid-launch and mid-spin.
Fitters and buyers will still have access to PXG’s full shaft matrix, but there is a per club upcharge of $25 (both steel and graphite) to move out of the stock shaft offering.
It’s an understandable line given where the offering fits in the PXG lineup though it does run a bit counter to the message of a company whose sales have, to date, been almost entirely custom fit.
What Does 0211 mean for PXG?
In our previous story on the continuation of the PXG Effect, we surmised that long term growth for the brand could be dependent on its ability to exist on the periphery of the mainstream without falling into it. Given the per club price point – $195 steel, $210 graphite – it appears that’s precisely what PXG is attempting to do with this release.
How much demand is there for PXG irons priced similarly to JDM offerings from Miura, Epon, and others? Hell if I know, but I guess we’re going to find out.
I asked Bob Parsons about his vision for the long-term growth of PXG. How big can PXG get? “I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it. I really haven’t”, he told me. “I’m just focused on doing the right thing for golfers.”
PXG 0211 Irons: A step towards accessibility
If the response to previous PXG offerings has taught us anything, it’s that not everybody will agree that the 0211 is the right thing for golfers, but it’s inarguably a step towards increasing the accessibility of the brand and potentially putting PXG clubs in the bags of more golfers.
It’s reasonable to question whether a lower barrier to entry puts PXG’s status as an elite or aspirational brand in jeopardy. Parsons, says he doesn’t think so, while drawing parallels to Mercedes. Golfers are fond of car analogies, and while they’re often used in the context of release cycles, in this case, it might hold up.
There’s not much evidence to suggest the existence of the A and C class has diminished the appeal of the Mercedes brand for the company’s more affluent customers. The S-class sells just fine, and I’m willing to bet it moves a few Maybachs too.
A less expensive PXG still isn’t cheap, though Bob Parsons is fond of saying, “We’re [PXG] a luxury, but we’re an affordable luxury.” There’s no reason why that luxury can’t coexist with an offering positioned slightly above the mainstream, though in cases like this I find it’s best to defer to one of Nike’s guiding maxims:
Ultimately, the consumer decides.