Which PXG iron is best for me?

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Which PXG irons should I buy? Your guide to each iron in PXG’s 2022 line-up, who they are aimed at, and how they performed when tested by our pro.

Most major golf brands have five, six or even seven sets of irons in their 2022 line-ups. Some are new models, others carried over from previous ranges, but they are all aimed at very specific golfers.

There’s been a huge influx of new forged models over recent years, but choices still range from sublime musclebacks to hollow heads, cavity backs and super forgiving hybrid-style irons. While some are forged from soft carbon steel, others have springy fast faces, just like a driver.

With so many options out there, it’s easy for golfers to get confused over which will best suit their game. And even those who have a good idea of which iron will suit them often don’t realise what’s put on the line in terms of ball speed, carry distance and forgiveness by choosing a set above their ball striking capability.

RELATED: Tested – Best Irons 2022

With every major 2022 iron model now available in the shops, the time felt right to show how each brand’s iron range compares when they go head to head. If it’s a PXG model that has caught your eye, we’ll walk you through their range and find out how they perform.

Thanks to our consistent test pro and his launch monitor data, we can show how whole families of irons stack up. You can read how we test, here. We’ve also given each model a forgiveness rating and a handicap guide to spell out simply which players should be considering each model, and, more importantly, why. Find out more about the ratings, here.

If you want to see how all of this year’s irons performed then check out our full irons test or, if there are other brands on your shopping list, take a look at which, CallawayPingTaylorMade, Mizuno, and Srixon irons are right for you.

RELATED: How a chance meeting led to PXG’s creation

PXG 0211 ST iron

RRP £85 per club | VIEW OFFER
Category Muscleback blade | Forgiveness rating 1/5 | Handicap range 4 and below | Construction Forged 8620 carbon steel | 7-iron loft 32º

Today’s Golfer verdict: The ST is part of PXG’s less expensive 0211 family, and should not be confused with the more costly 0311 ST Gen4, which is 100% CNC milled. The head has a cracking profile and, thanks to strategic mass positioning, the MOI is a little higher than you might first expect.

PXG irons are recognised as some of the straightest irons available; thanks to their extreme tungsten weighting there’s often up to 18% more MOI forgiveness on offer from their more costly models than the competition.

If you’re a serial shot shaper and have been put off PXG before because they’re expensive and hard to shape, the 0211 ST could be right up your street.

PXG 0311 T Gen4 iron

RRP £220 per club | VIEW OFFER
Category Players’ distance | Forgiveness rating 2/5 | Handicap range Six and below | Construction Forged 8620 hollow body with HT1770 face | 7-iron loft 32º

Today’s Golfer verdict: The Ts have more traditional lofts and a more compact head profile than the brand’s 0311 P. There’s also a fraction less hosel offset to give a true players’ iron look.

According to our data, the difference in loft (at a decent speed) gives a ball speed increase of 1.6mph and five yards more carry distance in favour of the P, so unless you’re a very good ball striker we reckon lots of club golfers will see better results with the P.

Remember, PXG irons can be bought individually, so you can create an ideal combo set.

PXG 0311 P Gen4 iron

RRP £220 per club | VIEW OFFER
Category Players’ distance | Forgiveness rating 3/5 | Handicap range 12 and below | Construction Cast 431 hollow body with HT1770 face | 7-iron loft 30º

Today’s Golfer verdict: The P is a brilliant mix of distance and forgiveness, allied to a great-looking head for a phenomenal package. Our data has it down as a very powerful iron – it was our test pro’s longest players’ distance iron of the year (tied with the Mizuno Pro 225).

A real draw for all the brand’s GEN4 irons is the ability to weight a set up or down, so you get the feel and set-up you want (it’s possible to make shafts longer and shorter too), which can improve accuracy and consistency, without changing the centre of gravity location.

If you’re willing to give up a little in terms of head size and offset, and play the larger and more forgiving XP, it’s possible to gain eight yards carry distance (with a 7-iron) with very few other trade-offs.

PXG 0211 iron

RRP £75 per club | VIEW OFFER
Category Mid-handicap | Forgiveness rating 3.5/5 | Handicap range 8 and above | Construction Cast 431 hollow body with HT1770 face | 7-iron loft 28º

Today’s Golfer verdict: If you’re under the illusion that PXG are just for well-heeled golfers, think again; the 0211 is seriously good value. Golfers now have a real choice to make between the brand’s forged 0311 family and the less expensive and slightly less forgiving cast 0211 (0211 have a 10% lower MOI than the XP iron), which means you can see where your money goes and what the trade-off is for spending less.

We’ve tested the 0211 a few times and it always comes up as an across-the-board performer. Thanks to the head size and profile, it will be a particularly good fit in the hands of higher single-figure golfers and those all the way up to a 20-handicap.

PXG 0311 XP Gen4 iron

RRP £220 per club | VIEW OFFER
Category High-handicap | Forgiveness rating 3.5/5 | Handicap range 12 and above | Construction Forged 8620 hollow body with HT1770 face | 7-iron loft 28º

Today’s Golfer verdict: PXG might have started out targeting decent golfers with their hollow body designs, but now they’re credibly fighting for market share across all iron categories.

The XP produced our second fastest ball speed (even though it wasn’t the strongest loft in the category) and gave our pro his smallest drop-off in ball speed between on and off-centre hits (2.7mph / 2.1%).

That’s impressive stuff, but the XP didn’t stop there. It also gave our smallest drop-off in carry distance (7 yds / 3.1%) and hit shots into the second smallest dispersion area within the category, all while racking up T2 finish for overall carry. To say the XP is a top-drawer performer is a huge understatement of its capabilities.

PXG 0211 Z iron

RRP £749 | VIEW OFFER
Category High-handicap / hybrid iron | Forgiveness rating 5/5 | Handicap range 28 and below | Construction Cast hollow body | 7-iron loft 31º

Today’s Golfer verdict: With lots of new golfers flooding into the game, there’s an appetite from manufacturers to produce equipment designed specifically for less confident players.

If you’re just setting out on your golfing journey the 0211 Z package set (bag, driver, fairway, hybrid, irons and putter) is a fast-track route into playing the game, but you can also buy the irons individually.  

Our data highlights the Z as being a high launching, high flying, high-spin iron, all traits that help this really good model keep shots in the air for longer at more moderate, club golfer swing speeds.

Launch monitor data: How the 2022 PXG Irons compared

PXG’s 2021 iron models

While the models below are no longer being marketed by PXG among their current models, they are still widely available and, in all cases, at quite substantially lower prices.

You’ll also find plenty of them on used golf club sites like Golfbidder, so they’re still well worth your consideration in 2022.

PXG 0311 T Gen3 Iron

RRP £285 | VIEW OFFER

Category Players Forgiveness ratingHandicap range 6 and below Construction Forged 8620 hollow body with HT1770 face Availability 3-GW Stock shafts True Temper Elevate 95g (s), Mitsubishi Golf MMT 70g (g) 7-iron loft 31º

Some golfers will argue players irons shouldn’t have hollow bodies or fast face tech, but apart from PXG’s two muscleback blades (0311 and 0211 ST), that’s the brand’s signature construction method.

The T in the PXG 0311 T Gen3 irons stands for Tour, which gives a good indication of who this iron’s aimed at. It is more compact with less offset than the P, and our data has the pair pretty evenly matched, so golfers are likely to choose on the look they’re after, or match the T’s short irons with slightly more powerful P mid- and long irons.

See the T as a brilliant alternative to Callaway’s Apex 21 Pro and TaylorMade’s P770 and you really won’t go too far wrong. Especially when you know the T was the longest iron within our recent players iron test.

PXG 0311 P Gen3 Iron

RRP £2,640 | VIEW OFFER
Category Players distance Forgiveness rating 2.5 Handicap range 12 and below Construction Forged 8620 hollow body with HT1770 face Availability 3-GW Stock shafts True Temper Elevate 95g (s), Mitsubishi Golf MMT 70g (g) 7-iron loft 31º

The PXG 0311 P Gen 3 iron is a brilliant mix of distance and forgiveness along with a great looking head, all in one package. If you’re willing to give up a little in terms of head size and offset and play the XP, it’s possible to gain 11 yards of carry with very little trade-off. But only you can decide through a proper fitting which is more beneficial to your own game.

Thanks to PXG launching their Gen4 irons very recently (they can be tailored to your weight preference), the Gen3 models now cost less (they used to be £440 per iron). We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t mention the new Gen4 P model has 1° stronger lofts across the set, which PXG say added a further 7.7 yards of carry during their robot tests.

RELATED: Best Mid-Handicap Irons

PXG 0311 XP Gen3

RRP £285 | VIEW OFFER
Category High handicap  Forgiveness rating 3.5 Construction Forged 8620 hollow body with HT1770 face Availability 3-GW Stock shafts True Temper Elevate 95g (s), Mitsubishi Golf MMT 70g (g) 7-iron loft 31º

Fastest, longest with the smallest amount of carry distance drop-off of the 14 mid-handicap irons we tested this year, the PXG 0311 XP Gen3 really is that good.

XP stands for Xtreme Performance and for anyone who wants a trifle more iron distance with extra forgiveness, but also desires a great looking head shape, this is a brilliant option. At our test pro’s speed, from the same loft, the XP is five yards longer than the 0211, but it was also 3.5% better at protecting carry distance drop-off – all without compromising on shot height, backspin or descent angle.

Thanks to a new XCOR material inside the just-released Gen4 XP head (with all other specs remaining the same), PXG reckon they’ve added another 5.6 yards to the XP’s 7-iron carry distance at reasonable swing speeds. Seriously impressive.

Launch monitor data: How the 2022 PXG Irons compared

RELATED: Everything you need to know about PXG’s 0211 Z beginner set

How we tested which PXG iron is best for you

We asked PXG to submit their entire 2022 irons range for testing.

We created a controlled test environment indoors at Keele Golf Centre and used premium golf balls.

We collected a ton of data from every iron shot hit, using a Foresight Sports GC Quad launch monitor, all of which can be found further down this piece.

RELATED: Which Srixon iron is right for me

How we analysed our PXG irons data

Before we came to any conclusions, we analysed the data for each club tested; on distance, spin rates, forgiveness. The latter we refer to as drop offs; the differences in ball speed, spin, and carry between our test pro’s on- and off-centre hits.

This insight gives a reliable indication of how forgiving each model will be on the course, as we’ve argued for years that dispersion can be very misleading as it’s based on how you swing on a particular day. We analysed all that data before choosing winners.

RELATED: Best Golf Launch Monitors

What our iron forgiveness ratings mean

Category 5: Hybrid Irons

Hybrid irons have been the much maligned black sheep of irons for years, but they now represent a huge opportunity to keep golfers – who typically lose 0.5 mph of clubhead speed each year once they hit 60 – in the game for longer.

There has been a growing trend in this area in recent years. Not only are brands showing more interest in producing hybrid irons, but golfers are also more willing to use them. The extra playability that hybrids have brought to the long game has transformed many golfers’ games in the past decade.

If your game or swing speed has gone south, hybrid irons are a brilliant option.

Typical performance traits

In the hands of average club golfers, hybrid irons are more forgiving than any other model. They have big wide soles to launch shots high with increased forgiveness, while designers claim they also help prevent digging into the turf, thereby reducing fat shots.

It’s exactly the type of styling that led golfers to fall in love with long iron replacement hybrids/rescues. The centre of gravity in hybrid irons is far lower and deeper than a typical cavity-back iron.

Who should use hybrid irons?

Golf should be fun and hybrid Irons can turn a frustrating round into an enjoyable one. The extra playability means more shots carry sand and water hazards. Hybrid Irons aren’t just for players with slower swings. They’re for anybody who wants to reduce frustration and have more fun.

RELATED: Best Golf Shot Tracking Devices

Category 4: Super Game Improver Irons

This category is as forgiving as it gets if you insist that an iron needs to look like an iron and you’re resistant to exploring hybrid iron alternatives.

Historically, golfers have traded looks for forgiveness in this category, but modern models have come a long way in recent years. It’s now possible to get your hands on an iron like the Ping G710, which is not only great looking but also super forgiving and powerful.

Better yet, it won’t highlight you as a hacker before you’ve even hit a shot! 

Typical performance traits

Historically, super game-improver models have big chunky heads, thick toplines, and even wider soles. The best of the latest models challenge that thinking, though, thanks to dense tungsten weighting that places critical mass in very specific areas of the head.

Category 4 models have either a deep cavity-back or a hollow head and they’re very often the lightest in a brand’s iron range. Shafts are often lighter with softer tip sections to increase launch and spin, which helps maximise distance at lower speeds.

Some models unashamedly reduce weight to naturally add speed. This is great as long as your swing isn’t too weight-sensitive and you lose the ability to ‘time’ shots. It’s worth remembering that the larger the head size, the easier it is to get an iron face to flex and add speed.

Who should use super game improver irons?

Golfers who aren’t afraid to admit that their game needs as much help as they can get their hands on is a reasonable rule of thumb here. Whereas game-improver models often suit 20-handicap golfers and below, super game-improver models fill the gap above this really nicely.

However, make sure that you’re well aware of which models are lightweight and/or strong lofted and make a decision on which best suits your game after trialling both. Get that right and the irons within this category can seriously raise your enjoyment of the game.

Forgiveness Category 3.5: Game Improver Irons

This area of the market produces the most sales simply because there’s more mid-high handicappers. Brands invest huge sums developing new technology in this area.

Typical performance traits

There’s disagreement among brands as to whether this category should be home to their strongest loft irons and  there’s a discussion to be had around whether strong loft irons are suited to the highest handicappers with the slowest swings. These players often struggle to launch strong loft irons high enough to optimise carry and backspin.

The extra offset pushes the CG back to aid launch. It’s not uncommon for these irons to be 10mm+ longer with sole widths some 45% wider than a Category 1 blade. Toplines are often twice the width of a blade, too.

Who should use game improver irons?

Fitted with slightly lighter shafts and, sometimes, a lighter swing weight, these irons help maximise swing speed. It’s no secret the engineers target 18–20 handicappers with these clubs.

Forgiveness Category 3: Game Improver Plus

When it comes to matching an iron to your ability, it’s really important not to confuse this category with full out game-improver models. Simply put, they’re not.

As a benchmark, the Ping G iron has always been a stalwart of the traditional game-improver category but the current G410 falls into our Category 3.5. Category 3 models are a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Very often, Category 3 and Category 3.5 irons end up in the hands of improving golfers, but they subtly target different players, hence why Callaway make both an Apex 19 (forged and in Category 3) and a Mavrik (cast and in Category 3.5).

Typical performance traits

The fact that five of our eight Category 3 irons are forged tells the story of who they’re aimed at. And just to highlight the point, none of the Category 3.5 models are forged.

Models in this category will have either a decent-sized/depth cavity-back or a hollow head. The cast PXG 0211s are a great example of a set that combines compact, less offset short-irons with larger, more forgiving mid- and long-irons to appeal to golfers seeking both looks and performance within a single set.

Offset will often be a fraction less than with full on game-improver models, while toplines will be a fraction wider than in Player Irons. Lofts will likely be a little stronger than those of a Players Distance iron. On average, our eight Category 3 models had 1.4° less 7-iron loft (30.1°) than Category 2.5 models, which means they can target ball speed and distance.

Who should use game improver plus irons?

If you’re a mid-handicap golfer, you absolutely should look at some of the models within this category. To be the best match, though, it’s highly likely your handicap will be 15 or below – depending on your ball-striking confidence.

Category 3.5 models bring together traits often best-suited to 18-20 handicappers and below. Category 3 models usually offer a decent-looking clubhead, which is often forged, along with added speed and distance for golfers who don’t quite have the ball striking prowess to use one of the two Player Iron categories.

RELATED: Best Golf Training Aids

Forgiveness Category 2.5: Players’ Distance Irons

In 2015, PXG founder Bob Parsons tasked his top engineers with the unenviable challenge of creating an iron that looked like a blade but played like a cavity-back. What they came back with – the original 0311 – changed the iron market.

TaylorMade joined the hollow-body players distance iron market in 2017 with the P790. It became the brand’s biggest-selling forged iron ever. Titleist then launched the popular 718 AP3 and Ping joined the party in 2018 with their i500.

The rapid growth of this category can not only be attributed to aspirational aesthetics, but faster ball speeds and more distance than traditional player’s irons.

Typical performance traits

In many instances, the clubhead size in this category will be a little larger to inspire more confidence at address. And don’t expect too much hosel offset, either. The toplines are reasonably thin and shaft weights tend to be a little lighter than those found in blades.

The face might be forged – as found in the TaylorMade P790, Ping i500 and Cobra King Forged Tec – while several models favour hollow body technology.  The average 7-iron loft in this category was 2° stronger than in the Category 1 models, which inevitably means extra ball speed and distance.

You may find some fast-face technology in these clubs, too, while some kind of internal tungsten weighting is also common. This gives the manufacturers’ engineers the ability to manipulate the centre-of-gravity location in the clubhead to help shots launch higher from a stronger loft as well as deliver more forgiveness over Category 1 and Category 2 models. That’s some seriously good food for thought. 

Who should use players’ distance irons?

Don’t be fooled by our data into thinking that Players Distance Irons are the wonder drug for all golfers… they’re not. What the data does show, though, is what’s on the line when a golfer chooses either a Category 1 or Category 2 model when, in fact, they should be playing a Category 2.5 iron.  

While the typical shaft weight and profile was perfect for our test pro, many mid-handicap and above golfers would benefit from the slightly lighter weight and added consistency of a Category 3, Category 4 or even a Category 5 model. Irons in this category bridge the gap from traditional game-improver to player models brilliantly, which means they usually work best for golfers with handicaps of 12 and below.

Forgiveness Category 2: Players’ Irons

If you need any evidence to support which type of golfer this category is aimed at, you only need to look at tour players like Jordan Spieth, Shane Lowry and Jason Day. All are major champions and currently play irons that fall within this category.

These types of irons are very good options for impressive ball-strikers who don’t necessarily want to compromise on looks, but still want some forgiveness built into what is essentially a blade shape clubhead.

Typical performance traits

Player irons generally are pretty similar to blades for hosel offset, topline thickness and sole width. The majority are forged (with the exception of Ping’s models) as the decent players who use them often believe forging delivers a premium feel/sound. Plus, it’s worth remembering that more than 90% of tour events are won by players using forged models.

For us, a Category 2 model must have some type of cavity-back, either shallow as with the Mizuno JPX919 Tour or deeper as found in the Honma T//World 747 Vx. There absolutely will be no thin fast-face tech (not in the mid- to short-irons anyway), as many purists believe that face flex leads to inconsistencies.

Lofts generally are fairly traditional, since golfers at this level want very consistent gapping and predictable yardages, even on slight mishits.

Who should use players’ irons?

It goes without saying that you need to be a decent ball-striker to get the best out of Player irons. That means you’ll need to be very close to a category one golfer. There’s a very good reason why Players Distance irons (forgiveness Category 2.5) have become so popular over the last few years.

It’s because they bridge the gap that was really difficult to cover when golf didn’t have fast-face tech, strong lofts or hollow body constructions. If you can tolerate some modern tech, you can not only get extra ball speed and distance but more forgiveness, too.

Forgiveness Category 1: Muscleback Irons

Musclebacks, also known as blades, are not only the most traditional irons, they’re also the most unforgiving, hence our forgiveness rating of 1. Any golfer thinking of buying a set of blades should have no real desire to add any extra speed, distance or forgiveness to their game.

In fact, the 10% of tour pros who use blades typically do so because the forgiveness levels are so low. It means they can shape shots at will while barely needing to alter their swing. 

Typical performance traits

Blades are typically forged rather than cast. The forging process that stamps the irons into shape under high pressure compresses and aligns the grain of the metal more closely, which is said to improve feel and feedback. Musclebacks also have the least amount of hosel offset, which means the centre of gravity (CG) of the clubhead is further forward.   

A forward CG delivers a lower, more penetrating ball flight, even though blades tend to have the highest lofts of any iron category. Head sizes are generally very compact, while soles and top lines are typically very slender, which means they should appeal only to the very best ball-strikers.

Most blades come as standard with heavy 120g+ shafts since the more accomplished golfers who use them typically create more swing speed.

Who should use muscleback irons?

There’s a strong school of thought among some hardcore golfers that blades are the only true way to play the game. Some also swear that blades are the best way to learn the game because you’re severely punished for mishits and therefore have to focus more intently on developing a robust swing technique.

Regardless, to get the best out of Category 1 irons you’ll need a handicap of low single figures or better. It’s our opinion that you shouldn’t really consider using them until you get close to scratch.

READ NEXT: Best Hybrids

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Today's Golfer Equipment Editor Simon Daddow.

Simon Daddow is the Equipment Editor at todaysgolfer.co.uk

Simon has worked in the golf industry for 30 years. Starting out as trainee professional at Downes Crediton GC where he learned the art of golf club making, before going onto work for Clubhaus Plc and Tony Charles Ltd as a golf club maker, and running Product Development at Benross Golf.

Joining EMAP Active (now Bauer Media) in 2006 as Equipment Editor Simon has worked for Today’s Golfer and Golf World magazines and the Today’s Golfer website.
Simon is 46 years old, he’s played golf for 40 years and plays to a handicap of 10. A lack of club speed means he’s short off the tee, but very handy from 125 yards and in.

He uses a Ping G400 SFT driver, PXG 0341 X Gen4 3-Wood, PXG 0341 X Gen4 7-wood, PXG 0317 X Gen2 hybrid, Callaway Rogue X irons (6 – PW), Cleveland CBX2 wedges (52°, 58°), Bettinardi Inovai 6.0 putter and a TaylorMade Tour Response golf ball.

You can contact Simon here.

- Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections.