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Equipment

PXG 0311 GEN5 irons: What you need to know

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: PXG launches three new irons in its GEN5 series, and all feature new technologies to improve speed, launch and forgiveness. That lineup, which includes the players 0311 T, the players distance 0311 P and the larger game improvement 0311 XP, grows beyond the GEN4 lineup through a new lighter and more flexible core polymer in the center of the hollow designs, a new face thickness interior groove, and more than double the amount of tungsten in the heel and toe.

PRICE: $350 per iron in chrome; $450 per iron Black Lable Extreme, which features black DLC coating and a stock Aerotech SteelFiber Private Reserve shafts.

THE DEEP DIVE: For Brad Schweigert and Mike Nicolette, the lead designers at PXG, simply making an iron face faster wasn’t enough. It especially wasn’t enough for the man running the show, Bob Parsons.

As Schweigert tells it, doing his best Parsons no-nonsense impression, coming to the boss with the new polymer that would be the core material for the company’s GEN5 irons and being excited about its lighter weight and higher flexibility was just science talk. Parsons wanted real numbers.

“I said, ‘This new material is great, it’s giving us faster ball speeds and the extra spin is giving us tighter dispersion,’” Schweigert said he told Parsons. “He said, ‘How much longer is it?’ and I said, ‘Well, it’s about a yard.’

“And he just goes, ‘That’s not enough, brother.’”

Of course it wasn’t. But the new GEN5 irons use that new core material and a new face design and an extra injection of tungsten to show that thin, flexible faces work best as part of a total system. That got the new GEN5 family of irons—the compact players 0311 T, the players distance 0311 P and the game-improvement 0311 XP—to be the right amount of “enough,” Schweigert said.

“The way the core polymer works with our structure is a symbiotic relationship, they work together to get us better performance and face deflection,” he said, indicating that without the polymer filling within each hollow iron, the face, which is .058 inches thick, “would dent in one hit.”

The new material is lighter and has a higher resiliency than previous versions, and is injectable for more efficient manufacturing. But Schweigert said he and his team struggled with a slightly lower launch angle and slightly higher spin that cut into its high ball speed benefits. The solution came from Nicolette, director of product design, who suggested a groove built into the back surface of the high-strength steel face insert. The groove, about ten-thousandths of inch deep runs up both sides and across the top of the perimeter to create more give in the face.

“Rather than just creating more speed and deflection, we were looking to change more launch and spin,” Schweigert said. “We were looking to generate more of in essence a gear effect to let us increase launch and decrease spin. We put it around the top and sides to allow the face to deflect in a more non-symmetrical way, deflect more from the top down.”

Also helping those launch conditions is some additional tungsten in the heel and toe weight screws. While the GEN4 irons averaged around six grams of tungsten, GEN5 will have an average of 14 grams through the use of more and longer tungsten screws in the heel and toe. That helps to both lower the center of gravity and improve the moment of inertia, or stability on off-center impacts.

The bodies for all three irons are five times forged to develop the hollow frame and hosel. The back is milled to house not only the tungsten screws but a center weight that can be altered in the fitting process to help produce heavier and lighter swing weights to suit individual preferences.

The three models continue PXG’s previous approach to different player types. The more compact 0311 T features the least offset but offers more forgiveness than a traditional one-piece blade. The 0311 P fits in the players distance category with a midsize head that looks to meld some workability with distance and forgiveness. The 0311 XP is the larger, wider-soled option with more offset and lofts that are five degrees stronger than the 0311 T.

All models are available in either chrome ($350 per club) or the Black Label Elite version ($450 per club), which features a black “diamond-like carbon,” or DLC, coating and a stock SteelFiber Private Reserve shaft or others at no additional charge.