PXG 0311 Black Ops drivers, fairway woods, hybrids: What you need to know
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The PXG 0311 Black Ops drivers, fairway woods and hybrids look to improve performance (higher launch, lower spin, more distance) through new designs made possible in large part by new alloys in titanium and high-strength steel that make these faces more efficient than past versions in the company’s line. The upshot is woods that add new levels of forgiveness while maintaining distance-enhancing low-spin, high-launch ball flights.
PRICE: Driver: 0311 Black Ops ($600), 8, 9, 10.5, 12 degrees with eight-way adjustable hosel; 0311 Black Ops Tour-1 ($650), 9, 10.5 degrees with eight-way adjustable hosel. Fairway woods ($350): 15, 17, 18, 21 degrees with eight-way adjustable hosel. Hybrids ($300): 17, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31 degrees with eight-way adjustable hosel.
3 COOL THINGS
1. Material, not money, changes everything. If you’re going to make a better golf club, particularly drivers, fairway woods or hybrids, it really creates new opportunities if you find a better material to use. That’s what PXG is touting with its latest lineup of 0311 Black Ops metals, which feature both a new titanium alloy for the driver faces and a new high-strength steel alloy for the faces of the fairway woods and hybrids.
In each case, those alloys test out stronger and more flexible than the special metals used in their most recent (0311 GEN6) PXG versions, according to Brad Schweigert, PXG’s chief product officer. That makes for fundamental design advantages, he said.
“The face itself is accounting for that low-spin, high-launch combination,” Scwheigert said, referencing the driver’s titanium face specifically but acknowledging it applies to the fairway woods and hybrids steel faces, too. Schweigert, who’s been in the design business for more than two decades, said the titanium alloy in the driver he has never seen used in the golf industry. “This is the strongest, most flexible titanium we’ve found, and one universal truth is that if the face flexes more during the impact, the ball’s launching higher and spinning less. That’s the big breakthrough: the different launch conditions.
“That means the golfer is going to see more distance because they will be able to go down in loft and thus generate more ball speed while still getting ideal high launch and low spin. That’s going to generate more distance.”
Specifically, Schweigert said the titanium is stronger and has better flexibility than the advanced Ti-412 used in previous PXG drivers and the high strength steel is similarly better than the HT-1770M used in previous PXG fairway woods and hybrids. The new high-strength steel alloy enables the faces of the fairway woods to be 12.5 percent thinner and the hybrids to be 10.5 percent thinner, Schweigert said.
The saved weight helps to improve perimeter weighting to increase stability on off-center hits (moment of inertia) both horizontally across the face and vertically up and down the face. Schweigert indicated that the driver’s combined MOI is near 10,000 grams-centimeters squared and would be easily over 10,000 with a slightly heavier head (as little as a couple extra grams, or increasing to the next heaviest one of PXG’s adjustable weights which come in 2.5-gram increments). More importantly, the saved weight also results in lowering the center of gravity, further improving the low-spin, high-launch ball flight.
2. Carbon footprint. A second and no less vital part of the improved CG and MOI is the widespread use of lightweight carbon composite in the crowns of the drivers, fairway woods and hybrids. All the clubs features a new, more flexible carbon composite in the crown, as well as a sole panel on the drivers. Schweigert said the material helps to boost the MOI measurement up and down the face by as much as 25 percent from the 0311 GEN6 XF driver.
“We have tried higher stiffness carbon fibers, but the problem is you don’t get the same flex characteristics at impact that you need to optimize your potential distance,” Schweigert said.
3. Adjustment bureau. An overlooked or perhaps underappreciated aspect of the PXG lineup, particularly in the area of woods, lies with the company’s emphasis on fitting. Not only does the lineup include two drivers, a standard model and the taller-faced 0311 Black Ops Tour-1 with its more curved crown, the drivers, fairway woods and hybrids all feature adjustable hosels and adjustable sole weights to tweak trajectory preferences and distance gaps.
The adjustable sole weights range from 2.5 to 20 grams in 2.5-gram increments. The standard offering on the driver is 10.5 grams in the center rear and 2.5-gram weights in the heel and toe, but those weights can be changed to match up with different shaft lengths or shaft weights to produce the individual player’s specs and preferences.