PXG 0311 GEN4 Irons – Key Takeways

  • PXG announces the fourth generation of its signature 0311 irons.
  • Options include the 0311 T (for Tour), 0311 P (for Player) and 0311 XP (for Xtreme Performance).
  • Big changes include an updated weighting system and new XCOR polymer material.
  • Pricing is $349 per club. Presale starts March 9, ready to ship in early April.

The new PXG 0311 GEN4 irons are, literally, a case of less being more.

Not something one would normally associate with PXG, is it?

So, what’s “less” on the PXG 0311 GEN4 irons? First of all, GEN4 represents less time between 0311 iterations than ever before. You’ll also notice there are also 44 percent fewer of PXG’s signature mini-weight screws in each iron.

And maybe the biggest less of all is the price tag. To be fair, we’re not talking TJ Maxx-level discounts here but 18-percent lower pricing than GEN3 definitely counts as less.

All of that less, according to PXG, equals more. More what? Let’s find out.

PXG 0311 GEN4 Irons

Let’s start out with something that’s neither less nor more but in fact the same. The PXG 0311 GEN4 series features the same three models as GEN3— 0311 T, 0311 P and 0311 XP—and the specs are virtually identical (almost). As with all three previous 0311 irons, the look across the sets is similar enough to create a relatively seamless blended set, if that’s your fancy.

The 0311 life cycle does appear to be speeding up, though. GEN1 arrived in 2015 but we didn’t see GEN2 for nearly 2 1/2 years. It took only 18 months for GEN3 and now here we are with GEN4 just a little over a year later.

Despite that, PXG isn’t standing pat. There are some significant changes to GEN 4. Specifically, PXG has completely altered two of its signature technologies with an entirely new weighting system and a new proprietary polymer filler for the 0311’s hollow body.

PXG 0311 GEN4 irons

“When we went down this path, (PXG founder) Bob Parsons wanted something that looked like a blade but was as forgiving as a cavity back and offered great distance,” says PXG Chief Product Officer Brad Schweigert. “To achieve those characteristics, the best way is to use a hollow-body technology.”

One of the downsides of hollow-body technology is that, unless you fill the clubhead with polymer, it doesn’t feel very good. PXG claims to have been the first to fill a hollow body with a polymer material with GEN1, which ultimately led to a big legal kerfuffle with TaylorMade.

PXG has been tinkering with its polymer filling in each generation of 0311 irons. The company says its new injectable filling, XCOR, takes sound and feel to a new level while solving another vexing problem.

PXG 0311 GEN4 irons

XCOR – The New Medicated Goo

“One of the sneaky things about polymers is they’re viscoelastic in nature,” says Schweigert. “We learned the thermoplastic polymer we were using in GEN1 was actually absorbing energy at impact.”

If it’s ball speed you seek, absorbing energy at impact is not your friend. Schweigert says the DualCOR material used in GEN3 partially solved that problem but created a new one.

“The material was more optimal but there was no way of getting it in the clubhead without using the DualCOR concept,” he says. “We had to fill the cavity with one material and then inject a secondary material around it. Hence DualCOR.”

To streamline the process, PXG worked with a small R&D firm that specializes in unique polymers. The goal was a soft, flexible, yet fully injectable material. Hence XCOR.

“It’s really the ideal material for this type of application,” says Schweigert. “XCOR stays soft and flexible while also maintaining a high COR performance so it doesn’t dissipate energy during impact. It allows the face to flex in a way so that we maintain our maximum ball speed.”

Like its predecessors, XCOR is one of the rocks upon which the PXG 0311 irons are built. Since Day 1, PXG has claimed to have the thinnest face in golf. If it’s ball speed you seek, thin is your friend. However, at PXG-level thinness (1.5mm, to be exact), the polymer is essential to keep the HT1770 maraging steel face from denting or cracking at impact.

“If you take the polymer out so the face is unsupported and the head is truly hollow, at our thickness, the face with fail,” says Schweigert. “XCOR is soft and flexible and it allows the face to move just enough and it supports the face so it doesn’t fail.”

PXG 0311 GEN4 irons

Where Have All the Head Weights Gone?

Take a quick look at the PXG 0311 GEN4 irons. Notice something missing?

Where did all the weight ports go?

“With GEN1, we put those slots in there thinking we could adjust the weight as needed across the perimeter,” says Schweigert. “But the reality is it was very tedious. It’s not very easy to do so it didn’t get used much.”

The original 0311 irons from 2015 featured 11 weight ports in each head. GENs 2 and 3 had only nine. GEN4 has only five although one of them is pretty big.

The goal is simplicity: two small tungsten weights on the toe, two small titanium weights on the heel and one big weight in the middle to adjust overall head weight. The titanium heel weights are lighter than the club material itself, allowing weight to be shifted toward the toe.

“That improves the moment of inertia and makes the clubhead play a little more forgiving,” says Schweigert.

A large center weight goes as far back as TaylorMade’s Tour Preferred series and showed up again in this year’s Callaway Apex MB irons. It’s all about giving fitters options.

“Our fitters are instructed to go through the process with every consumer to try both heavier and lighter configurations,” says Schweigert. “That said, we instruct our fitters to err on the heavy side if the golfer isn’t gaining speed by going lighter. The heavier head mass generates a bit more forgiveness.”

The large weights come in two-gram increments, from two up to 18 grams. The weights are not user adjustable and feature a tamper-proof Torx head screw held in place with a dollop of Loctite.

PXG 0311 GEN4 Irons – Three Models

PXG is keeping the same models and nomenclature for GEN4. The 0311 T is the most compact of the lineup—the T stands for Tour, after all.  PXG says it’s for highly skilled players who’ve gamed blades in the past but want something with a wee bit more distance and forgiveness.

The XP in the 0311 XP stands for Xtreme Performance. Like its GEN3 brother, it’s designed for players looking for more help, forgiveness and distance. The 0311 P is firmly in the middle (P stands for Player) and is historically the most popular of the lineup.

“It’s a game-improvement model built into a player’s package,” says Schweigert. “You have good workability, a relatively thin top rail, not a ton of offset. You get all the benefits of a player’s-style club but with the forgiveness and distance of a game-improvement iron.”

The specs on all three GEN 4 irons don’t vary much from their GEN3 predecessors. In the case of the 0311 T and the 0311 XP, they’re virtually identical. The XP specs are very much in the game improvement realm, with a 28-degree 7-iron. However, the lofts on the 0311 P GEN4 irons are one degree stronger than their GEN3 counterparts, no doubt to better fit in with competitive sticks in the player’s distance category.

Technology, Baby

As you’d expect, PXG says 0311 GEN4 ball speeds are up throughout the line compared to GEN3. Also as you’d expect, the stronger lofted—by one degree—0311 P showed a nearly four mph ball speed improvement over its GEN3 counterpart. It launched about half a degree lower but still had a higher peak height. PXG’s own info shows the higher ball speed and higher flight lead to more than seven yards of additional carry.

And despite having the exact same loft structures as their GEN3 counterparts, both the 0311 T and 0311 XP GEN4 models were also faster, higher and longer.

“That’s primarily coming from that XCOR technology,” says Schweigert. “That’s the main reason for the distance gains. And even though the XP has the strongest loft, it creates the highest peak height.”

PXG 0311 GEN4 Irons: The Elephant in the Room

Actually, with PXG, it’s probably more rhinoceros than elephant. We get it, PXG pricing pisses some people off. But if it makes you feel any better, the new PGX 0311 GEN4 irons are actually priced 18-percent lower at launch than GEN3 was.

That’s still $349 per iron so it’s fair to ask whether the 0311 is $150 to $200 per iron better than anything Mizuno, Callaway or Titleist can come up with.

The answer, no doubt, depends on who you ask but consider this: what’s the difference between a $15,000 Rolex and a $49 Seiko? Simple: the Seiko keeps better time.

People buy a Rolex for two reasons: because they can and because they want to. Those are the only reasons they need. Does gaming the PXG 0311 GEN4 irons fix a crappy swing or make you a better golfer? Of course not and I’m willing to bet people who buy PXG know that, just like people who buy a Rolex know it won’t help them be more punctual.

And we’ve said it in this space many times: PXG selling irons at $349 a stick doesn’t mean value-priced brands are being taken away from you. It’s not a zero-sum game. And here’s something else to consider: Since PXG burst on the scene in 2015, we have seen mainstream brand pricing creep up. But we’ve also seen the emergence of value-priced and direct-to-consumer brands such as Sub 70, Hogan and others.

Coincidence? I wonder.

And don’t forget: PXG copped Best Value in this year’s MyGolfSpy Most Wanted Driver testing. And if you sashay over to the PXG website, you’ll find the 0211 DualCOR irons going for $99 a club.

What’s next, dogs and cats playing together?

The new PXG 0311 GEN4 irons are available starting today. For more information, visit the PXG website.

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