Though Bob Parsons has already let the cat out of the bag on Instagram, today marks the official release of the PXG Blackjack putter, the first in PXG’s new Battle Ready Collection line of premium putters.
When you first look at the PXG Blackjack putter, another mallet probably comes to mind. Undeniably, there is a whole bunch of TaylorMade Spider DNA in the Blackjack. However, the engineers at PXG have spun some new threads into that classic mallet fabric. Yes, I consider the Spider a classic putter head shape. It’s not an Anser-level classic as of yet but, based upon the number of takes on the design, it has achieved archetype status.
Let’s take a look at how the PXG Blackjack putter spins the Spider-verse.
PXG Blackjack Mallet: Specifications
- Materials: Aerospace aluminum and high-density tungsten
- Weight: Variable (360g-445g depending on neck)
- Construction: 100-percent milled
- Face: Optimized Pyramid Face Pattern
- Length: 33”-38”
- Necks: Heel-shafted, plumber’s neck, double bend (+Armlock)
- Loft: 3°
- Grip: PXG Lamkin Sink Fit (Standard)
- Dexterity: Right and left handed
- Price: $525 ($395 limited offer)
PXG Blackjack: The Tech
Unlike some other expensive putters that are destined for hanging on a den wall, the PXG Blackjack comes packed with features that should help golfers make putts. This is a putter to be played, not displayed. PXG touts the stability and forgiveness of the Blackjack, so much so that they refer to it as a “moneymaker” in the press release.
Next, let’s look at the technical aspects of the PXG Blackjack that could benefit you.
PXG Blackjack: High MOI
If you are going with a Spider-esque design, then a high moment-of-inertia design is almost guaranteed. With the Blackjack mallet, PXG boosts the MOI with perimeter weights and head materials. Weights in the corners of the head will definitely boost MOI. While this is an obvious design plan for performance, not all putters with weights in the corners maintain the sleek aesthetics of the PXG Blackjack.
Do you remember the Scotty Cameron Futura X? That putter had weights in the corners to boost MOI but I believe only Adam Scott and I actually found the design attractive.
By placing the weights on the underside, not only did PXG maintain the great look at address but they were able to lower the center of gravity while boosting the MOI. A lower center of gravity and high MOI combine for more forgiveness and better rolls.
Having played the Spider X lately, I found moving to the PXG Blackjack an effortless transition. The milled face plays a bit hotter than the TaylorMade insert but they both have that familiar high MOI swing feel.
PXG Blackjack: Optimized Pyramid Face
Those of you attuned to the putter-verse will likely have an idea about what PXG is doing with the variable-face milling. If you made the same assumption I did, you, too, are wrong. Where some variable patterns, such as the PING TR grooves, decrease the roll in the center to balance center and off-center strikes, PXG’s Optimized Pyramid Face milling increases center hit velocity. Honestly, this blows my mind a bit. Shots to the heel and the toe usually roll less than center strikes. With these grooves, it sounds like the difference in roll from various spots on the face could be even more exaggerated.
This is something I will be exploring more carefully because it surprised me. When gaming the PXG Blackjack, I never had a sensation of center contact driving the putt longer than intended. There must be more to the groove story than just speed.
PXG Blackjack: Multi-material Construction
No, I didn’t forget about the multi-material construction when I mentioned it in the context of MOI. In fact, I wanted to give the metals their own call-out because this is one of the places where the PXG Blackjack separates itself from the other Spider-like designs. It also gives it some justification for that big $525 sticker price.
The milled aluminum body separates the Blackjack from other insert-based, non-milled putters like the Spider Tour and the Odyssey Ten. Some other mallet putters do feature milled aluminum, though, like the aforementioned (and beloved) Futura X and Bettinardi’s iNOVAi putters.
What separates the PXG Blackjack from the other milled aluminum and multi-material designs is that where others push the weight to the edges using stainless steel, PXG does so with tungsten. Not just tungsten weights but a whole bar of tungsten wrapped around the perimeter. Tungsten is dense and it will tip the weight balance away from the aluminum center, dramatically boosting MOI values. Why don’t other companies use tungsten? Because tungsten is expensive.
I see PXG engineers as having a little more freedom with design in terms of the cost of the final product. If tungsten does a better job, they use tungsten. PXG just has a different design mindset. Today is not the day you learned that PXG clubs are expensive but maybe you gained some insight as to why.
PXG Blackjack: Custom-Build Options
The PXG Blackjack can be configured to suit your putting stroke. The three neck options should serve the needs of the traditional mallet player (double bend), the traditional blade player (plumber’s neck) and the strong arcing putter (heel shaft). It seems I mention it with every mallet review but once again we are seeing the theme of mallets that play like blades. PXG also gives you the option to go with an armlock version should you need to get your Bryson on.
You are also able to dial in your lie, loft, length and head weight. The head weight variability is an interesting option. The selection of neck is going to influence weight, with the double bend being the lightest and the plumber’s neck the heaviest. From there, the corner weights will dial in the final weight. Titanium or tungsten weights will give you five-, 10-, 15- and 20-gram weight options in each corner.
If unsure about which weight works for you, you can order the PXG weight kit for an additional $75. I found the stock 370-gram weight on my heel-shafted Blackjack to be a touch heavy for me. After swapping the front 10-gram weights for five grams, it was a much better fit. Obviously, if you know your ideal weight set-up, you can order it instead of messing around with the weight kit. Personally, I enjoy the chance to tinker.
Though new to my putter hoard, the PXG Blackjack now sits as one of the best-looking mallet putters in my collection. Though my assessment is subjective, nearly every visual aspect of the Blackjack package just works. The putter is amazing at address. Everything draws your eye to the center of the putter which is good since that’s the part you probably want behind the ball. The color and finish on both the black and tungsten areas are rich but not overly so. All of the accompanying photos were taken in full sun which usually yields glare and gloss with this type of design.
Nothing about this putter looks or feels cheap. You would expect that from a $525 putter but rarely does a pricey putter check all boxes like the Blackjack does. Even the headcover is high quality and cool-looking, featuring the bold skull and number 26, honoring Parsons’ service in Vietnam. The black shaft also ties in perfectly with the design. The different weights have a different numbers of the circles, painted black based upon their mass. Maybe a little paint fill does not seem like a big deal but it really speaks about the PXG putter folks paying attention to the small details.
Blackjack Pays 150%, But Costs 75%
I’m not going to defend the $525 price point of the PXG Blackjack putter because it is pointless to do so. Like all things, and seemingly even more so with putters, the individual consumer determines appropriateness of the price. However, I will say that, based upon the build and materials, the PXG Blackjack costs more to make than some other putters out there. Tungsten and milling costs add up. The Blackjack carries its price for some valid reasons.
Good news on the price front is that, for a limited time, you can order a PXG Blackjack for $395. While that is still expensive, it is also very competitive with similar putters in the marketplace. A Scotty Cameron Phantom X costs $429 and an off-the-rack TaylorMade Spider X is $350. In that context, $395 for the Blackjack is a deal.
To find out more at pxg.com or call them at 1.844.PLAY.PXG