17 May 2022

PXG GEN5 Irons – Are they as good as they look?

Back in November 2015, an unknown American start-up company, PXG, released their first generation iron. It was priced at the high end of the market and many critics thought it was going to be a limited production run before their founder Bob Parson’s would run out of financial ammunition and loss of heart fighting against the manufacturing establishment.

Where it all started

The PXG GEN1 iron was impressive for an initial product launch and although it didn’t quite match the performance of the leading brands, you could see PXG was game and not scared of trying something new. For that reason alone, I wanted the brand to succeed. All they needed to do was maintain the image and keep on pushing the R&D envelope.

Deep pockets

Fast forward six years and PXG are now winners on both the PGA and LPGA Tours thanks to Bob Parson’s deep pockets and US Marine Corp grit, a combination overlooked by the establishment. 

GEN5 restored price balance point

This month the GEN5 iron range is out in the UAE and it’s fair to say the brand has got it’s mojo back in terms of premium brand placement. Their 0211 range is a great product and is ironically the iron I currently play but the lower price point removed a layer of image status and shine. Their new GEN5 range has restored what I first found appealing with PXG. They look unique; the quality is high end and the top end price is premium but not ludicrous.

The models

Tour Performance– For professionals and low handicap amateurs. Small head and top line with minimal offset to promote workability.

Players Performance – This head is slightly larger with more forgiveness and offset. You can still work the ball but larger profile and stronger lofts make this ideal for the low to mid handicapper.

Xtreme Performance – As the name suggests this is the larger of the three that is designed to hit it straight and far, even when you are having an off day.

All three 0311 GEN5 iron models are available in Xtreme Dark finish and PXG has labelled them Black Label Elite. The black Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) finish is significantly more durable than PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition), which means that premium dark finish you paid for will not fade like a golfer’s sun tan in winter!

The Technology

X2COR – This is PXG’s latest polymer core material designed for the GEN5 and is lighter than the previous polymer so the weight saving could be used to increase the MOI and forgiveness.

POWER CHANNEL TECHNOLOGY– A U-shaped channel is built into the internal surface of the face to increase deflection and transfer the energy to increase ball speed and launch.

PRECISION WEIGHTING– There are five tungsten heel/toe weights and one large weight located near the CG on the back of the head. The larger weight can be changed during a fitting to find your optimal swing weight but the others are not interchangeable.

5X FORGED– Each iron is five-times forged from 8620 soft carbon steel to increase its strength and prolong the life of the grooves while enhancing the overall feel and looks

ULTRA-THIN FACE– PXG still have the thinnest face in golf at just 1.55mm thick and combines well with the latest polymer to perform  across the face, even on miss-hit strikes.

The Test (Players Performance HEAD)

Shafts fitted: Project X LZ 6.0

I’ve always had a fairly good swing speed but I tend to spray it all over the face, especially when the timing is off. So, unlike a driver where I’m focused on performance data, when I’m choosing irons I’m impressed by two things – dispersion and average distances. The PXG irons, with their ultra thin face and polymer insert, have always delivered on distance and feel. The downside of that pairing can be a broad range in average distances.

The new polymer and Power Channel Technology have certainly played a part in terms of performance when compared against the GEN4 head.

                                     Ball Speed           Total Distance           Spin

GEN4 P  7-iron        114.8mph                 179.1 yards                     5511 rpm

GEN5 P  7-iron        116.1mph                  183.5 yards                     5133 rpm

Launch
The GEN5 launched slightly lower and ran out further than the GEN4, therefore it might be worth weakening the lofts slightly to assist with your carry distances and gapping.

Dispersion
The GEN5 was tighter on dispersion compared to the GEN4 both in average distances and direction. There were no hot strikes and the face felt more stable.

The Players head will be their best seller as it can fit a wide range of handicaps, but it’s worth considering a mixed bag based around the P head, depending on whether you are needing more forgiveness or shot shaping. The XF head is monstrously long and has great feel for a distance club.

The Verdict

The contrasting colours of the heel to toe weighting milled surround certainly works in terms of making the clubs stand out from the crowd!  At first glance it appears that the contrasting colours surrounding the tungsten screws are larger weights, but this is just aesthetics. The clever milling and the use of black DLC do the job in making these irons pop compared to a traditional colour or finish.

It’s just a shame the five tungsten weights in the heel and toe weighting could not be interchangeable in the same way you can adjust a driver during a fitting. Imagine if you could speed up the toe through impact to help eradicate a slice or slow it down to counter a draw! Unfortunately, this cannot be done with the GEN5 as it would play havoc with the balance and MOI of the club. Maybe one day we might be able to cure a slice by just adjusting the heel to toe weighting … but until then aim a little further left.

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