What's the first thing you think of when you hear PXG? Maybe it's Dr. Bob Parsons saying, "Boom, baby!" in his raspy voice. Maybe it's the all-black motif. Perhaps it's the weight screws.
If we're being truthful, though, you probably think about how expensive PXG clubs have been. Drivers run $850. Irons run $400 each.
PXG is a premium brand, and you have to get custom fit for them by an authorized fitter to order them. So, for PXG's clientele, the price tag doesn't mean a whole lot if it means, to them, getting the best equipment. However, for the average golfer who isn't prepared to spend that kind of money, the brand has been divisive. PXG has its haters, and it's largely a cost-driven scorn.
So, what will the haters say now that PXG has unveiled a new driver with a price tag of $575?
If you made me guess in which direction PXG pricing would go for its newest generation of clubs, down would not be my guess. However, as Parsons told MyGolfSpy, PXG's pricing model wasn't entirely about exclusivity; it was about covering costs. Now that PXG has effectively covered the cost of getting in business, researching and developing two generations of full-bag equipment, and they've established a fan base, they can now price their equipment at a lower price.
All of a sudden, at a $575 price tag for a driver, PXG is only $75 more expensive than top-tier offerings from Callaway, TaylorMade, Ping, Wilson and more. That's not that big of a leap. So, now it's not a cost-benefit analysis so much as a head-to-head contest.
The new price tag now known, what did PXG do differently with the 0811 Gen2 drivers?
Faster and more forgiving, duh
The aerodynamics package has been improved, with each driver utilizing a multi-level crown with raised elements called Hot Rod Technology. The carbon fiber crown -- with a pretty cool X alignment marker at the leading edge -- has variable thickness, as you'd expect on a part where every portion of a gram could mean an increase in moment of inertia or lowering the center of gravity. The raised rib structure acts as a load-bearing object of sorts, stiffening the crown structure so ball speed isn't lost through deformation at impact.
Both models feature an internal vibration-dampening system using geometrically shaped TPE to improve sound and feel as well.
The weight screws are back on both drivers, though they're heavier than in Gen 1 (4.07-gram tungsten and 0.78-gram titanium) and fewer in number. This makes fitting a little less cumbersome because the more common fits in the bell curve are accommodated more easily while dedicating less of the driver body to housing the screws. That improvement in discretionary weight allowed PXG to hike MOI and push CG to a better location.
The X vs. XF
Both new drivers from PXG feature 460cc of displacement in the head. The X is more compact, with a deeper face and smaller profile. The XF is more for the average player who prefers a bigger overall footprint for some higher MOI and that forgiving look.
The X has nine weight-screw ports, with six titanium weights and three tungsten weights, giving a golfer about 17 grams to play with in configuring the driver's launch characteristics. There are three screw ports on the front of the sole, three on the back of the sole and three on the heel edge of the sole to set up potential draw bias. Move the tungsten weights forward to kill spin, lower launch and hike ball speed. Move them back to be more forgiving, launch higher and carry farther.
However, PXG is claiming a center of gravity well below the neutral axis with the weights moved forward or backward (more so forward, of course). It could kill spin and deliver big on ball speeds for better players who don't need as much MOI, or it could still deliver enough forgiveness with friendlier launch and a slightly improved MOI.
The XF is the MOI machine of the two. While the overall profile is bigger and takes full advantage of USGA regulations, it has fewer weight screws with just five slots, all placed along the rear of the sole -- as far back as possible. The end result is, PXG claims, a massive drop in CG (in engineering terms) and a total MOI (combining vertical and horizontal ratings) over 10,000. The trade-off is higher spin, but fitting should dial that in to an ideal range for most players.
If you're looking for a particular benefit, the X is intended to go farther (and closer to center) while the XF is intended to stay closer to center with a bit of draw bias (and go farther).
The PXG 0811X Gen2 driver is available in 9-, 10.5- and 12-degree heads, while the 0811XF Gen2 adds a 14-degree option. Both are $575 with a complete fitting, and they're available Jan. 15.
It's not crazy to think, if the driver performs as claimed, PXG can't grow, particularly as more golfers get custom fit through the bag. For that type of golfer that's perhaps more brand agnostic and willing to spend to get it right down to the spec, a little premium for a PXG driver, fairway wood or hybrid isn't that much of an ask. The company isn't going to suddenly start selling off-the-rack clubs through big brick-and-mortar stores, and their equipment isn't going to be found on bargain retailer sites.