- PXG has announced 0311 GEN5 drivers, featuring two models.
- The 0311 GEN5 is designed for the majority of golfers while the 0311 XF GEN5 offers extreme forgiveness.
- Retail price is $499.
As the GEN5 product line which includes PXG 0311 GEN5 drivers launches, there’s a larger discussion to be had about PXG and how its business evolved during two years of COVID. Suffice it to say PXG is emerging from the pandemic as a dramatically different company from the one that went in. Chalk that up to a mix of necessity and opportunity.
While some of the lowest equipment prices we’ve ever seen have led some to believe otherwise, rumors of PXG’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Again, that’s something we’ll explore in detail later. For now, take the release of the 0311 GEN5 lineup (and the opening of another handful of retail stores) as evidence that the company isn’t going belly up any time soon.
With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at PXG’s 0311 GEN5 driver lineup.
PXG 0311 GEN5 Drivers – A New Naming Convention
It’s a small detail but with the GEN5 lineup, PXG has changed the naming convention of its products. Previously, drivers were 0811, fairways were 0341, hybrids 0317 and flagship irons 0311. The names were based on MOS (military occupational specialty) codes. Call it a nod to PXG CEO and Founder Bob Parsons’ dedication to the Marine Corps. A worthy tribute, perhaps, but for many, myself included, pretty damned confusing. I’ve been covering PXG since before it launched its first clubs and I could never commit model numbers for fairways and hybrids to memory.
Moving forward, PXG is simplifying. All flagship products will be consolidated under the 0311 umbrella. Drivers, fairways, hybrids and irons. Sorry, mortarmen, everything is infantry now.
Simplified further, PXG’s 0211 line represents the base model. 0311, regardless of the club type, is the premium/flagship stuff.
With that out of the way, let’s look at the new PXG 0311 driver family.
Two PXG 0311 GEN5 Driver Models
We’ll discuss the specifics in detail below but with its 0311 GEN5 driver lineup, PXG has cut the number of models from three to two. Gone (at least in name and for now) are both the X and the XT. They’re replaced by a suffix-less 0311 while the ultra-forgiving XF occupies the same role in the 0311 GEN5 driver family.
PXG 0311 GEN5 Driver Construction
Both the PXG 0311 and 0311 XF drivers feature Ti811 bodies and Ti412 faces. I get that this metallurgy stuff isn’t exactly exciting, especially when there’s not MASSIVE TUNGSTEN involved, but it’s worth quickly covering the face material.
Ti412 has high-yield strength with low elastic modulus. That’s the technical way of saying that it’s strong but flexible. The material allows PXG to make its driver faces thinner without worrying about permanent deformation (and non-conformance) over time.
For sure, I’m fully aware that this is the point where the “drivers can’t get any faster crowd” will, mostly unsuccessfully, fight the urge to chime in. The point is that, like everyone else, PXG is looking to find a bit of extra speed in the space between COR (the old metric that determined the cap on ball speed) and CT (the current standard).
Nobody is promising 10 more yards. Small gains are the reality. Set your expectations accordingly.
By using a resilient material and robotically polishing bulge and roll, PXG is able to tighten manufacturing tolerances. That’s a key detail that often gets lost in speed stories. When tolerances aren’t tight, CT targets must be lower to compensate. The companies with the most consistent manufacturing processes can produce the fastest drivers.
Full AV Carbon Crown
The most visible and perhaps most intrusive element of PXG’s GEN4 driver was the silver aluminum vapor crown insert.
As a refresher, aluminum vapor is exactly what it sounds like—vaporized aluminum. When the material is applied to the carbon crown, it provides additional stiffness (less energy lost at impact) without adding much in the way of additional mass.
With the PXG 0311 GEN5 drivers, the company has ditched the insert in favor of full AV carbon construction. That allowed engineers to steal even more weight out of the high center portion of the driver and relocate it to the perimeter.
As part of the redesign, it darkened the carbon fiber by several shades. The crown retains a decidedly two-tone look but it’s far less off-putting. While I’d prefer it to be a few shades darker still, after a few swings, I found I didn’t much notice anymore.
Greater Weight-Based Fitting Capabilities
With GEN4, PXG introduced a three-weight system. GEN5 drivers also feature three weights. However, PXG has made significant changes to their positioning.
While the rear weight is anchored as far back as current engineering allows, the forward center weight of the GEN4 driver has been pushed to an extreme toe position. The heel weight has also been pushed forward and to the extreme perimeter.
Remember COBRA’s radius of gyration story? Same concept.
The changes serve two purposes. First, by moving both the toe and heel weights as far out as possible, PXG is able to retain MOI (a commonly used forgiveness metric) while still providing shot shape correction.
We’ve touched on this before. Typically, heel (and toe) weight positions are appreciably lower MOI than rear positions. While that’s technically true here, the distance from the center of gravity in all positions is similar so MOI values in those positions are similar (and plenty high) as well.
The change to weight positions also eliminates what PXG concedes was a limitation of its GEN4 drivers. While the hosel provided some options, PXG didn’t have a weight-based solution for golfers looking for a bit of fade bias. By moving the center weight to the toe, PXG can fit a wider range of players.
The stock build ships with two 7.5-gram weights and a single 2.5-gram weight. With the 7.5-gram weights in the back and heel (as they are in the stock setup), 0311 drivers provide a bit of draw bias.
The idea is to provide plenty of options for either splitting weight across two locations or leveraging a single heavy weight as other three-weight systems do. That will get sorted out during a fitting while the DIYers among us can purchase additional weights from PXG (either individually or as part of a kit) to precisely dial in swing weight and trajectory.
Like everyone else who makes a credible driver, PXG leverages an adjustable hosel. PXG’s system makes it easy to add or remove loft. The standard settings allow for one- and 1.5-degree adjustments in either direction.
What golfers may not realize is that there are some additional settings on the PXG logo side of the hosel that allow for flatter lie angles. The “PXG” setting flattens lie angle by three degrees while settings on either of the adapter logo add or remove one degree of loft while flattening by two degrees.
Given that most golfers slice, these aren’t PXG’s most-used settings but they can be absolute magic for golfers who fight a hook or want to introduce a bit of fade bias.
Significantly Improved Sound and Feel
“I think we’ve made huge strides with the sound and feel of this product.” Brad Schweigert, Chief Innovation Officer, PXG.
Under the hood, the defining feature of PXG’s past metalwoods was the honeycomb TPE insert. Anchored to the sole, the insert helped push mass low but its primary function was to dampen unwanted vibrations stemming largely from PXG’s weight arrangement.
The repositioning of the weights within the 0311 GEN5 driver family eliminated unpleasant frequencies. No insert needed. The result is a better-feeling driver.
Granted, feel is largely subjective but my two cents’ worth is that the driver has a more pleasant sound and feels significantly more lively than any driver PXG has produced to date.
With the commonalities covered, let’s look at what differentiates the two PXG 0311 driver models.
PXG 0311 GEN5 Driver
The first thing that needs to be said is that while the 0311 GEN5 replaces both the X and the XT in the PXG lineup, it’s not a better player’s driver. “It’s designed for any and everybody,” says Schweigert. “It’s very forgiving.”
Think of it as the driver equivalent of PXG’s 0311 P irons. Not too big, not too small, with plenty of forgiveness baked in.
With the forward weight positions, the 0311 can be configured as a high-speed, lower-spin driver but the point is it doesn’t have to be. Typically, those designs trade away MOI to gain ball speed whereas the 0311 has increased MOI to the tune of 25 percent relative to the 0811 X GEN4.
The increased forgiveness should be most noticeable on high toe hits where the 0311 GEN5 reaps the benefits of the new toe weight.
While the added MOI doesn’t put it in PING G425 MAX (or even 0811 XF) territory, if what PXG says proves true, the 0311 should still offer well above-average MOI.
Playing again to the idea that the 0311 driver isn’t exclusively for better players, the head isn’t small or even compact. Schweigert describes the footprint as “comfortable” and, while I don’t recall ever hearing that description before, I find that it pretty much covers it.
The face is a bit taller than the XF though it has been stretched a bit heel to toe. There’s more curvature in the crown which ultimately makes for a more aerodynamic design, even if faster speed players are the only ones likely to benefit from it.
0311 GEN5 Driver Performance
Prefaced with the requisite disclaimers of “in robot testing at 100 mph …” and “your mileage may vary”, PXG says the 0311 GEN5 driver bests the 0811X GEN4 by .5 mph. The total distance benefit works out to just under six yards albeit with slightly lower launch (.4 degrees) and about 300 rpm less spin.
Specifics be damned. Schweigert believes the 0311 GEN5 is as fast or faster than anything else out there.
The PXG 0311 GEN5 driver is available in 7.5, 9 and 10.5 degrees.
PXG 0311 XF GEN5 Drivers
As has been the case with the last few generations of PXG drivers, the 0311 XF represents the company’s entry in the ultra-forgiving, uber-high MOI category. The GEN4 XF was already sniffing the USGA’s MOI limit of 5,900. Keep in mind that’s just a heel-to-toe number. When top to bottom (or crown to sole) MOI is factored, PXG says they’ve increased the MOI of the 0311 XF GEN5 by 23 percent over the 0811 XF GEN4.
That puts it or, more accurately, keeps it in elite company. By its measurements, PXG says the 0311 XF GEN5 is the most forgiving, or at least the highest MOI, driver on the market right now.
It should go without saying that it’s designed for golfers seeking the ultimate in forgiveness.
The shape is what you’d expect of an extreme-MOI driver. The crown is noticeably flatter than the 0311 GEN5 and, while there is a comparative aerodynamic penalty with that, it shouldn’t be any kind of concern for the target golfer.
The face is shallow but larger from heel to toe which again speaks to the intent (forgiveness) of the design.
0311 XF GEN5 Driver Performance
With the same disclaimers as above, PXG says the 0811 XF GEN5 driver is .2 mph faster than its predecessor. While that doesn’t sound like much, with the higher launch and reduced spin, the total distance increase works out to nearly five yards.
Keep in mind that’s with a robot. And while more distance is seldom frowned upon, let’s not lose track of the fact that the XF isn’t meant to be the longest driver on the market. Forgiveness is the thing.
The PXG 0311 XF GEN5 driver is available in 9, 10.5, and 12 degrees.
Pricing and Availability
Retail price for the PXG 0311 and 0311 XF drivers is $499. They can be purchased individually or as part of a full bag package ($4,999 with chrome irons, $5,899 with Black Label Elite irons).
For more information, visit PXG.com.
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