For years the fairway wood and hybrid have brought the downfall in driving iron sales. Lee Trevino once joked: “If you are caught on a golf course during a storm and are afraid of lightning, hold up a 1-iron. Not even God can hit a 1-iron.” Joking aside you will rarely see a driving iron in many bags these days as despite their technological advancements to become easier to hit, they remain a specialist iron.
My current gamers are the PXG 0311 P irons so it made sense to test their latest 0311 X driving iron to see not just how it performed but where it sat in terms of gapping and where I would put it in play. But at $275 it’s also priced against their GEN4 hybrid and fairway metals, so where does it fit in?
Picking the right set up
This is very straight forward; the 0311 X comes in one loft as standard at 18 degrees but you can custom order two degrees weaker or stronger depending on how you want to flight and gap your set.
It makes sense to match your current iron shafts, as I prefer the consistency on the eye just as much as the shaft weight. There is an option for custom shafts and lengths. But if you start making it longer for speed gains you run the risk of trying to build a hybrid replacement and will miss the key benefit of the 0311 X head.
In line with the 0311 iron set it is packed with PXG’s latest technology:
5 x Forged – to prevent face wear
XCOR – polymer insert for enhanced feel and forgiveness.
Ultra thin face – paired with the XCOR polymer gives excellent energy efficiency at impact. So, more forgiving.
What PXG say about the 0311 X
Low spin; Low launch; Fast ball speed; Penetrating ball flight; Tight dispersion; Optimum Forgiveness; Outstanding feel and sound.
The 0311 X standard loft is 18 degrees , the same as the PXG 0311 P 3-iron, though the X has a slightly longer shaft at 401/8.
The X produced slightly faster ball speeds but the shaft length would have been more of a contributing factor than just the head variation. Considering the lofts were the same, the X was on average 12 feet lower but carried just 4 yards shorter than the 3-rion. Though the lower spin rate meant the X gained close to more than 15 yards on overall distance.
Who is this club for?
Even though this driving iron is remarkably forgiving, it will be aimed at the better golfer with a high swing speed that wants the ability to work the ball. In windy conditions you could see players of a certain calibre switching out a hybrid for the 0311 X. The club is ideal for chasing a shot onto the green or just split a fairway for position, but you will need a high ball speed to produce that low penetrating flight that still carries far enough.
PXG are correct in promoting the low spin; low launch; fast ball speed, plus the feel and sound were excellent for a driving iron. Though the minimum offset and slightly longer shaft meant I struggled with dispersion and forgiveness compared to the standard 3-iron or a hybrid with more loft. Plus my poor strikes struggled to get the ball airborne. I’m staying with the hybrid for that higher ball flight and forgiveness.