Charl Schwartzel has alway preferred the look and feel of a traditional long iron to that of a hybrid. Before the South African made the jump to PXG prior to the Open Championship, a Nike MM Proto 2-iron was a common sight in his golf bag.
"I grew up being a very good long-iron player. I struggle with the very modern, forgiving 2-iron clubs," Schwartzel told PGATOUR.COM after his Valspar Championship victory. "For me, they go too high so if you're playing in windy conditions like we did last week at Valspar, it wouldn't work. Also, I've found they have a tendency to go left because that have more offset than the 2-iron I have in the bag."
Earlier this summer at the PGA Championship, Schwartzel replaced the long iron with a PXG 0311X prototype 4-iron that featured 2-iron loft.
The forged prototype was a precursor to PXG's new game-improvement 0311XF iron that features a slightly longer blade length (0.173 inches), wider sole (0.065 inches) and larger club face (0.1 inches) than the original 0311.
“The longer blade length and wider sole help increase the MOI and drive the CG back to create greater forgiveness and more dynamic loft at impact,” said PXG chief product officer Brad Schweigert. “As a result, the clubs are incredibly forgiving and deliver outstanding mis-hit performance.”
The hollow body 0311XF is triple forged with a high-strength HT1770 maraging steel face insert that's plasma welded to the forged body.
Maraging steel is extremely durable and can be thinned out to make the face hotter and improve ball speeds. Once the face has been welded to the body, a Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) is added to the hollow cavity via weight ports in the back of the head.
The TPE improves sound and feel while also keeping the ultra-thin face from deforming at impact, producing an efficient energy transfer that results in higher ball speeds with consistent response.
In the case of 0311XF, golfers will notice a 1.6 mph ball speed increase — when compared to 0311 — with the larger profile iron.
High-density tungsten alloy screws are also positioned around the perimeter of the head, boosting the club's perimeter weighting and improving forgiveness.
While the 0311XF is available as a set, the iron blends with the company's 0311 and 0311T models. Schwatzel and Chris Kirk currently have at least one 0311XF long iron in the bag.
“I love my PXG 0311XF 4-iron,” said Schwartzel. “Off the tee I hit it 260 yards and when someone looks in my bag it blends perfectly with my 0311 irons. You would never know that it’s a game improvement club – and I like that.”
PXG's 0311XF iron (about $300 per club) is available in chrome and, for an extra $150 per iron, the company's Xtreme Dark finish.