Monday, Oct 3, 2022

ClubTest Proving Ground - Do PXG's 0211XCOR2 irons live to the hype?

Are the 0211 XCOR2 irons worth it? Ryan Noll/GOLF Welcome at GOLF.com's ClubTest Proving Ground. Here, Managing Equipment Editor Jonathan Wall ..

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Are the 0211 XCOR2 irons worth it?

Ryan Noll/GOLF

Welcome at GOLF.com's ClubTest Proving Ground. Here, Managing Equipment Editor Jonathan Wall (left) and Senior Equipment Editor Ryan Barath (right) put the most recent designs and cutting-edge technology in the equipment sector to the test on the range.

The tools are PXG0211 XCOR2 Irons (4-PW, True Temper Elevate95 shafts)

PXG's 0211 irons were introduced by the company in early 2019. We were shocked to find an iron priced at a fraction of its premium models. PXG's original 0211 iron was a success, exceeding all expectations. This proves that they know not only what professional golfers need, but also what weekend warriors like me, when it comes to exceptional performance at a low price.

Parsons and Co. made it even better in 21 with an update to the DualCor-infused Irons. This promised even greater distance and forgiveness, again at a cost you wouldn't expect from what we still consider a premium brand.

Although logic would suggest that a reduxing of the 0211s will be possible sometime in 2023 (or earlier), it's not too late. This is PXG and they do things their way down in Arizona. PXG has created a number of innovations in the 2022 edition of its 0211 XCOR2irons.

I was able to test a custom fit for my game, log some time on-course, and do a quick session using the 0211s Toptracer launch monitor system. Here's what it looked like:

First Look: These irons are probably my favourite looking PXG iron. These irons look a lot more expensive than they really are. They also come with chrome-out decals in the matte finish. It is both unique and PXG (flashy, classy, but not overly garish), and it stands out enough without looking too flashy.

The brushed metal/chrome/black aesthetics are my favorite. They have what I would call a moderately sized and pleasing to the eye topline at address. They'd look too bulky if they were thicker, and it would be harder to use as a blade. Although the offset is more noticeable in longer clubs, it's not distracting as much as I thought.

Tech The fact that the 0211 is cast rather than forged makes it more affordable than some of PXG's premium options (like the venerable GEN5 0311 irons). Cast irons are more expensive than forged irons. However, most irons are still cast and some of my favorite irons ever were cast models.

Second, the 0211s do not have weight ports and can choose from three different versions of the same iron (like the 0311s had PXG). The new XCOR2 Polymer Technology, which is encased within each iron's hollow cavity, is what the 0211s have that its better-known siblings do not have. This pushes iron's weight towards the perimeter, and lowers its head. It also increases the iron's MOI to increase forgiveness.

PXG 0211 XCOR2 irons.

Ryan Noll/GOLF

The 0211s have a maraging stainless steel clubface that is ultra-thin. This allows for faster ball speeds and increases face deflection. Other features include progressive offset, bounce, Power Channel tech behind your face for faster ball speeds and an angled toprail that positions the center of gravity in middle of the clubface.

Distance I was apprehensive that the 0211 would take a bit longer to play than my gamer set. Referring to my previous experience with forged blades, I expected to see an increase in distance.

Or so I thought.

The 0211 XCOR2 irons were a far superior tool than what I was used to. Toptracer showed me that my 6-iron was hitting anywhere from 15 to 22 yards further than normal using the 0211s. It got longer when I used longer clubs. The 4-iron flexed (and this is not an exaggeration) 25 yards more than my 4-iron. (In case it's not obvious, I was hitting my 0211 4-iron at 230 yards. This never happens.

I also saw increased distance using shorter clubs, which ranged anywhere from 5-10 yards longer depending upon the type of swing I made. My numbers were pretty consistent on the course. It took some time to get used to having more power. It's also worth noting that the 0211s are significantly more lofty than my gamer irons by approximately 2-to-3 degrees per golf club. Despite the lower launch, I still consider the trajectory to be average in height due to the weight of the clubhead.

Forgiveness It's easy to forget these irons were made for extra forgiveness. It's almost always to the toe when I miss and it rarely lands on the heel.

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As with all clubs, I noticed a decrease in trajectory and some distance loss when it missed towards the toe. But I was surprised to find that the ball didn’t veer too far to the right like it does. During the course testing, I hit two nine-irons on par-3. The first was missed, but I hit the second one solidly. The miss shot was about a yard short of the green; the solid shot was in the middle.

The shot dispersion of my shots was remarkable, as I hit two more. The last one I hit was the hardest, and I flew the green. This makes me believe I could use a stiffer shaft with these irons to increase distance control. You could also consider PXG's custom loft options, which allows you to go one degree softer on each club. For steep swingers, however, the noticeable bounce angle will prevent digging and reduce fat shots.

The ball soared off my face when I hit any 0211s. Actually, the 5-iron I tested was able to travel 230 yards. Normally, I can only hit a 5-iron at 190 yards. It was a great shot. According to The Grint app's shot tracker, it went 221 yards. It was my longest 5-iron and flew high on a boring trajectory. The ball flew lower when I missed the sweetspot but the shots still produced reasonable distance. Left or right misses are a function my swing, so I don’t really take into account that.

Maneuverability/Playability: Usually, irons built for big-league forgiveness and power aren't the kind of sticks that yield a lot of room for shotmaking. It's a mixed bag with the 0211s. The offset on longer irons is greater, making it more difficult to hit shots that curve on demand. However, shorter clubs have less offset which makes it easier to make clever fades and draws. One hole, I hit a pitching wedge measuring 145 yards. With a little draw. Toptracer was used to help me get back at the range. I took some huge swings and was able hit it 150 yards straight as a rope. Thanks to PXG for the boost in my self-esteem!

One more note on maneuverability. The set I tested came with a 60deg wedge. It was lighter than I am used to and had a 13deg bounce sole to stop digging. It was difficult for me to hit the low-flying/high spinning lob shot Stan Utley taught, so I had to try high lobbers almost every time. The 0211 lob wedge can only be used for lob shots and fluffy shots, not for shots around the green. This is not a bad thing. Most golfers should use a lob wedge similar to this one. The added bounce was too restrictive for shallow swingers such as me.

PXG 0211 XCOR2 Lob Wedge

Ryan Noll/GOLF

Feel The 0211s aren't as soft and buttery as a forged wedge or hollow-cavity iron. The 0211s with XCOR2 have an elastomer core that gives them a firm feel and a satisfying click at impact. These irons are my favorite 2022 feel.

Surprises The distance was what most surprised me. These were a mile long, sometimes two clubs more than my own clubs. The set's progressive nature was great. I found the short irons easy to use for a wide range of shots. If you have one complaint, it is that a set such as this can skew your rest of the set and force you to carry an extra gap wedge in your bag instead of a hybrid or wood.

If you aren't used to playing at higher bounce angles, the higher-lofted clubs may cause you to skid off the turf more often than you're used. These are great for players who need extra bounce.

Conclusion My favorite PXG irons of the year and one that I would be happy to carry around full-time are the 0211s. Hitting irons is much more enjoyable because of the mondo distance these clubs provide. I can't help but think it's quite cool to go to the teebox on par-3s with at least one club less than my playing buddies. This is a great way to intimidate your friends and win some skins.

The 0211 XCOR2 irons are available in 4-LW ($129+/ea). You can choose from five loft options, five lie options, or a variety steel and graphite shafts. You can choose from either Chrome or Xtreme Dark finishes. The True Temper Elevate steel shafts were used in the iron tests.