1. PXG has a penchant for pushing boundaries, so when consumers hear a new wedge is in the works, the expectations are justifiably high – at least as much so as the anticipated price tag.

By this point, golfers should understand PXG is an audacious brand that doesn’t have a problem with a little intrepid behavior now and again – and my hunch is most of you have been around the block long enough to accept that PXG has become a fixture in the industry while resetting norms around what defines luxury golf equipment.

But don’t let any of the window dressing fool you – the challenge with every equipment release is to make good on its stated promise to only bring new equipment to market when it’s demonstrably better than it currently offers. As such, the task only becomes more difficult as the quality of each product increases.

Such is the case with the 2020 PXG Sugar Daddy 0311 Milled and 0311 Forged wedges.

Let’s start by considering what golfers want out of a wedge. At a macro level, wedges should cover the full array of shots a player needs to hit from 100-120 yards and in. In terms of specific characteristics, golfers need to be able to pull off myriad shots from different lies, while altering trajectories and spin. Certainly, the more attributes engineers can pack into a single design, the more potential benefit offered to consumers.

With the 0311 Sugar Daddy Milled and 0311 Forged wedges, PXG looked to incorporate the weight distribution and performance aspects of “high-toe” designs (See: Callaway PM Grind, TaylorMade Hi-Toe) into a more aesthetically pleasing package. By moving more weight toe-side, PXG was able to better manipulate CG locations while pulling the CG nearly in line with the geometric center of the face. The CG location of many standard wedges tends to be slightly toward the heel due to the weight of the hosel. Compared to the previous PXG milled wedges, the CG on the 2020 line of wedges is approximately 1.27mm farther away from the heel. That might not sound like much, but anytime you can shift CG by more than 1mm, it’s significant.

The prime benefit of this design is the ability to access higher vertical CG locations, which makes it easier to hit flatter trajectory shots with tons of spin. Particularly for better players, the ability to flight wedges and pull off the bounce, bounce, skid, stop shot from 40-yards is imperative, and while there’s no doubt skill plays a significant role, having tools more suited to the task is beneficial.

To be clear, rather than create more face area and drastically alter the look of the club, PXG used its signature weights to achieve the desired CG locations. Additionally, PXG engineers modify the center of gravity location based on the loft of each wedge to help optimize launch and spin. Loft-specific CG locations is a common practice in the wedge industry, though brands employ a variety of techniques to accomplish similar results.

Perhaps what’s most intriguing with this release is what’s often been conspicuously absent from tech stories around other toe-weighted designs – namely full swing performance.

Generally, such designs offer unique shot-making opportunities on partial shots and shots around the green where creativity can be an asset – but it’s often at the expense of full-swing performance. We’re not entirely sure why this trade-off seems to exist, but because PXG is using this design for the entire 2020 line, answers will eventually materialize.

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WHAT’S NEW

For 2020, the most obvious changes are in the design, which in turn creates differences in performance. The 0311 Sugar Daddy Milled wedges are still 100% milled from 8620 carbon steel (a process which takes roughly 3.5 hours per head) though this time, the footprint is ever-so-slightly bigger and the grooves are more aggressive.

The USGA dictates that the cross-sectional area of a groove divided by the pitch must be less than or equal to .0030 in^2/in. Basically, the radius has to sit somewhere between .010” and .011” with a tolerance of .0003”. So, aggressive really translates as “as close to the USGA specifications as a milling machine will allow us to get.”

PXG states that player feedback so far confirms that a tighter radius yields both increased spin and more consistent spin from a variety of lies and weather conditions. Though these specific wedges weren’t available for the 2019 Most Wanted Wedge test, it’s clear more OEMs are paying attention to the importance of spin consistency, particularly in wet/damp conditions.

Also, as the Sugar Daddy name indicates, PXG eliminated the Zulu and Romeo grinds from the line up (sort of) and swapped the 46° and 48° models for 62° and 64° options. Why the change?

Simply, consumer demand. Looking at buying trends, PXG sold significantly more Sugar Daddy wedges than it did than Zulu or Romeo models. Also, more buyers opted to stick with the matching-set wedge rather than opting for the milled alternative. The caveat here is PXG is going with two bounce/sole options (07 and 09) in the 58°, and 60° models, and the 07 option is effectively the Zulu sole design.

So, how is the 0311 Sugar Daddy Milled wedge different from the 0311 Forged wedge? Both have the same Nickel/Chrome plated finish, milled grooves, and proprietary weights positioned in the flange. That said, the 0311 Forged features a thicker shelf toward toe instead of individual weights. The 0311 Forged also has slightly fewer loft options, but practically speaking, both versions should offer near-identical performance.

Ultimately, milling a wedge all but entirely removes humans from the process and, in doing so, allows for damn-near exact replication. That’s particularly beneficial for the golfer who demands the highest level of precision. It also means PXG can maintain more exact tolerances from wedge to wedge, which is helpful when it comes to servicing its tour staff and stocking the tour van.

In the grand scheme of things, is this absolutely necessary? Of course not, but again, a defining characteristic of PXG is that it does some things other brands won’t. While some OEMs mill different pieces of a wedge (most often soles and grooves), no one else mills the whole damn thing.

In a sense, the 0311 Sugar Daddy milled wedge is what PXG is as a brand. Director and Senior Designer Mike Nicolette told MyGolfSpy, “We know there’s a lot of smart guys working in the industry, but no one else is doing 100% milled wedges.” The salient point is that designing high-performing products isn’t enough. At PXG, club designers are tasked with creating equipment that generates a “wow factor” which sets it apart from the mainstream branch of the golf equipment industry.

By launching wedges alongside the GEN3 irons, PXG cleans up the release cadence a bit, which is probably a good thing. For those of you who enjoy such things, this is the second iteration of both the 0311 Forged and 0311 Milled wedges. PXG initially offered an 0311 forged wedge alongside its original GEN1 series of equipment and then introduced the first milled wedges in the spring of 2017.

Both the 0311 Sugar Daddy 0311 Milled  ($650 Chrome/$750 Xtreme Dark) and 0311 Forged ($295) wedges are available now.

For more information, visit pxg.com.