The PXG 0311 X GEN 4 driving iron is very good as a low lofted, blade driving iron, but the design and compact head means it is really only for elite players
Stylish looks in compact head
Ideal as low lofted blade
Hard to get airborne
Other PXG long irons are more forgiving
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The PXG 0311 X GEN4 driving iron is the replacement for the Gen 2 version and is a very different type of iron. The Gen 2 was a slightly oversized long iron with a wide sole and a deep head to help most amateurs get the ball up in the air easily.
The PXG 0311 X GEN4 iron is more of a proper blade style design with a slightly shorter head. At address there is also less offset, in fact less than 0.1°, in order to ensure that this a driving iron that won’t go left on you. That approach usually indicates that this is a club for elite players, either plus handicap amateurs or professionals, as the ball disappearing left is usually their concern.
The blade style means that the back is closer to the face so there is less help getting the ball in the air. Therefore to get the most from this style of head, you will probably also need that elite level of club head speed, so well in excess of 100mph with a driver.
The PXG 0311 X GEN4 head is forged from 8620 carbon steel and the feel is pretty good for a compact low lofted iron, which only comes in 18° loft. The central weight can be adjusted in 2 gram increments to vary the swing weight of the club and to drop the CG to get the flight up a little, so a custom fitting session is advisable.
Despite the compact size, the head is still hollow and is filled with what PXG call XCOR technology, or ‘filled with a polymer material’ to you and me. This improves the sound and supports the face so that PXG can make it as thin as possible for more speed.
PXG sell direct so I went along to one of their fitting sessions to compare the PXG 0311 X GEN4 with the previous model and the other long irons in their range. The ball speed from the 0311 X was pretty good, but compared to the Gen 2 and the other game improvement irons in the Gen 4 range, the 0311 X driving iron is harder to launch higher. That is fine if it is a driving iron on a dry fast fairway, but less fine if you are hitting into a green and the ball arrives at a shallower angle.
Most single figure amateurs would therefore be better off looking at the 0311 XP 4-iron which also has 18° loft, but in a deeper head that has more offset to offer more forgiveness. That may sound like a game improvement iron, but as this low level of loft even better players will appreciate the forgiveness, higher flight and extra carry distance that this will provide over the 0311 X driving iron.
As a low lofted, blade the PXG 0311 X GEN4 driving iron is very good, with a good combination of style and performance in a compact head. For an extra £50 you can also get it in a black Extreme Dark finish if you really want to go to town. However the only people heading downtown with the 0311 X should be elite players. The rest of us should take the highway for the PXG 0311 XP 4-iron.
Martin Hopley is one of the foremost UK equipment reviewers with over 20 years' experience. As the former founder of Golfalot.com he was an early pioneer of online reviews and has also been a regular contributor to other titles. He is renowned for his technical knowledge and in-depth analysis, which he now brings to Golf Monthly.
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