PXG has released new 0317 ST irons. If you’re unfamiliar with “ST,” it’s short for Super Tour. The manifestation of that is a set of modern Tour-level blades (well, mostly blades) designed for well above average ball strikers.
What’s in a name
PXG’s product names come from military codes. If that’s news to you, the background is that it’s a bit of a tribute to PXG Founder and CEO Bob Parsons’ military service. Before this year’s launch of the GEN5 series brought all PXG “GEN” products under the 0311 umbrella, 0317 (the code for Scout Sniper) was the game given to PXG hybrids.
Previous generations of Super Tour irons can be found in both the 0211 and 0311 lineups.
For those trying to keep up: What were 0317 hybrids got rolled under the PXG 0311 GEN5 umbrella and then the Super Tour irons that were sometimes part of the 0211 iron lineup became a stand-alone 0317 iron offering.
The Elite Series
I’ll concede that’s a little confusing but PXG thinks 0317 (sniper) is the perfect designation for what it is calling its Elite series.
To be clear, Elite isn’t some clever rework of the often overused premium, ultra-premium or even extra-premium. In this context, Elite refers to a player type.
At the risk of repeating myself, the PXG 0317 ST Blades are designed for elite ball strikers. The best of the best, if you will.
While the feedback on our recent episode of No Putts Given suggests there are plenty who won’t agree, the PXG 0317 ST irons are not designed for golfers who believe that playing blades will eventually turn them into elite ball strikers. The 0317 ST irons are for the exceedingly small percentage of golfers who already are.
PXG 0317 ST Irons – Construction
Unlike everything in PXG’s GEN5 iron lineup, the 0317 ST irons are single-piece forgings. No polymer cores (goo) here. They don’t have the thinnest faces in golf. It’s not a rebadged PXG 0311 Tour.
It’s the Super Tour. PXG is not messing around.
The PXG 0317 ST irons are “3x forged.” What that means is that three sets of molds are required to shape the irons. While the geometry isn’t as complex as the 5x forged GEN series, the forging steps still create a tight grain structure (better feel) while bringing the heads close to the final shape.
Once the forging process is complete, like other PXG irons, the 0317 STs are precision milled and robotically polished to the final spec.
While some think the milling just looks cool, it has some performance benefits. The milling process allows for the flattest faces possible and allows PXG to tightly control the final geometry on both sides of the clubs. Milling the grooves also helps to optimize spin performance throughout the set. Finally, by milling and robotically polishing its heads, PXG is able to maintain weight tolerances +/- one gram.
For context, a good bit of the industry runs at +/- three grams.
Forged 8620 Steel
PXG 0317 ST irons are forged from 8620. It’s a versatile steel alloy that can be used in either casting or forging. Vokey, for example, uses cast 8620 in its wedges while PING uses a forged 8620 in its Glide Forged series.
While 8620 is described as a soft carbon steel, it’s one of the hardest metals that can be used in forgings. Some may find it doesn’t feel as soft as the 1025E Mizuno uses in many of its forgings. To an extent, PXG is trading a little bit of feel (not every golfer can discern the difference and not all who can prefer the softer feel) for enhanced durability.
The advantage of 8620 is that it’s less prone to dings and dents. Golfers who don’t love the look of bag chatter should find 8620 is more resistant to dings and dents. Your grooves, particularly in the scoring irons, will last a bit longer as well. Finally, because 8620 doesn’t bend as easily, lie/loft integrity will be a bitter better.
The 0317 ST irons offer PXG’s precision weighting system. That big screw in the middle of the club allows fitters to add or remove weight while still keeping the center of gravity, well, centered.
Incorporating head weight into the fitting process is a continuing point of emphasis for PXG. It speaks to the idea that there’s no weight (or swing weight) that’s right for every golfer. And, as it turns out, a healthy percentage of PXG fittings end up in something other than the stock weight.
Even if you do ultimately settle on stock, PXG wants you to have the opportunity to experience and experiment with different weights before buying.
I think it’s fair to say that progressive sets or what you might call naturally blended or out of the box combo sets are becoming increasingly common. That’s true for the 0317 ST irons where true blades in the 6-PW are paired with cavity-back 3- and 4-irons.
To be sure, the 3 and 4 aren’t by any means large irons but, compared to the scoring clubs, they’re a bit bigger overall with thicker toplines and soles and some perimeter weighting.
As you’d expect, it’s a design that pushes the center of gravity deeper which results in higher launch with a little bit of added forgiveness.
Why isn’t PXG offering a full blade set of blades?
In the past, PXG’s ST sets have featured blades from one end of the set to the other. I’d wager there are some who would have liked to see that continue but PXG is adapting to the changing realities at the highest level of the game. PXG’s Brad Schweigart points out that almost nobody on the PGA TOUR plays a 3- or 4-iron blade anymore, adding that “making them would be wasteful and silly.”
For whom are the PXG 0317 ST intended?
The summary of PXG 0317 ST benefits include extreme shot-making capabilities with high-spin performance. I suppose you could call that workability. Toss in excellent sound and feel and we’ve got the big picture covered.
That all sounds good but consider this a gentle reminder that the 0317 ST is a serious blade. Granted, toplines maybe not as scary as the previous generation of PXG Super Tour irons but the design is intended to provide “precise distance control.” And while I think that’s something everybody wants from their golf clubs, the rest of the sentence reads “on center strikes.”
So on the off chance that further clarification is needed, even PXG doesn’t shy away from the fact that 0317 ST irons are not forgiving. They aren’t.
To wrap this up, the 0317 ST is a Tour-level blade (well, mostly blades) designed and intended for use by elite ball strikers.
If you’re among the small percentage of golfers who qualify, there’s a good chance you’re going to like them. If that’s not you but you think playing blades will ultimately improve your game, well, it’s your money, your game, and I wish you all the best.
Specs, Pricing and Availability
PXG 0317 ST irons are available in Chrome and Xtreme Dark finishes.
Retail price for the PXG 0317 ST irons is $199 per iron in Chrome and $219 each in Xtreme Dark.
PXG for Heroes pricing is also available.
The PXG 0317 are available beginning Sept. 27.
For more information, visit PXG.com.
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