ClubTest Proving Ground: Do PXG’s 0211 XCOR2 irons live up to the hype?
Welcome to GOLF.com’s ClubTest Proving Ground, where Managing Equipment Editor Jonathan Wall and Senior Equipment Editor Ryan Barath put the latest designs and groundbreaking technology in the equipment space to the test on the range and the course.
The tools: PXG 0211 XCOR2 irons (4-PW; True Temper Elevate 95 shafts)
When PXG first introduced its 0211 irons back in early 2019, we were surprised to see a company best-known for producing high-end, premium golf equipment make an iron that’s priced far less than its top-of-the-line iterations. And for what it’s worth, the original 0211 iron exceeded expectations, proving that PXG knows not only what consummate golfers want, but also what most weekend warriors like you and I need when it comes to outstanding performance at a price point that won’t break the bank.
Parsons and Co. did it again in ‘21 with an update that made the DualCor-infused irons even better, promising huge distance and even more forgiveness — again, at a price you’d never expect from what we still consider to be a premium brand.
Logic would point to a redux of the 0211s coming sometime in 2023, but come on now. This is PXG, and they do things their own way down in Arizona. In just one calendar year, PXG has delivered a slew of new innovations in the all-new 2022 edition of the 0211 XCOR2 irons.
I was lucky enough to try a set custom fit for my game and log some on-course time and a quick session on a Toptracer launch monitor system using the 0211s. Here’s how it went:
First Glance: These irons might be my favorite looking iron of any PXG iron to date. They look way more expensive than they are and come with bits of chromed-out decals amidst the muted matte finish. It’s both uniquely PXG (flashy but classy), and also fresh enough to stand out without being overly garish.
And I love the brushed metal/chrome and black aesthetics. At address, they have what I’d call a midsized and aesthetically pleasing topline. Any thicker they’d be too chunky, any thinner it’d be a blade. The longer clubs have more offset, but it’s not as distracting as I thought it’d be.
Tech: What makes the 0211 more affordable than PXG’s more premium options (like the venerable 0311 GEN5 irons) is the fact that they’re cast and not forged. And while cast irons tend to be priced lower than forged irons, remember that most irons are still made this way and some of my most favorite irons of all time happen to be cast models.
Second, there are no weight ports or three versions of the same iron to choose from (like PXG has in the 0311s). What the 0211s do have that its more valued siblings also have is the new XCOR2 polymer technology encased in the hollow cavity of each iron. This not only pushes weight more towards the perimeter and lower in the head, it also boosts the iron’s MOI for added forgiveness.
The 0211s also have an ultra-thin, maraging stainless steel clubface, which when aired the XCOR material enhances the COR for an increase in face deflection for faster ball speeds. Additional features include progressive offset and bounce, Power Channel tech behind the face for more ball speed and an angled top rail that helps position the center of gravity in the middle of the clubface.
Distance: I had suspected that the 0211 would play a little longer than my gamer set of irons. For reference, I typically play forged blades designed for control over distance, so I was ready to see a small bump in overall distance through the set.
Or so I thought.
The 0211 XCOR2 irons were like absolute cannons compared to what I’m used to. To give you a point of reference, using Toptracer, I was hitting my 6-iron anywhere between 15-22 yards farther than normal when using the 0211s. And it only got longer with longer clubs. The 4-iron flexed (and I’m not exaggerating) upwards of 25 yards longer than my own 4-iron. (In case you’re curious, I was hitting the 0211 4-iron about 230 yards. That never happens.)
I saw added distance with shorter clubs as well, ranging anywhere between 5-10 yards longer depending on what type of swing I made. On the golf course, my numbers stayed close to the same, and it took some serious getting used to more firepower. Also, it’s worth noting the 0211s are much stronger-lofted when compared to my gamer irons, by anywhere from 2-to-3 degrees per club. Even still, with the lower launch, the added weight lower in the clubhead still produced what I’d call an average height trajectory.
Forgiveness: When you hit the ball a mile in the first place, it’s easy to forget that these irons are designed for added forgiveness as well. When I miss, it’s almost always out towards the toe, and rarely do I ever catch one off the heel.
Like with any club I noticed a reduction in trajectory and saw some distance loss when I missed towards the toe, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the ball didn’t veer far out to the right (like it usually does.) During the golf course testing, I hit two 9-irons on a par-3. I missed the first one but hit the second dead solid. The missed shot landed short and right of the green by about a yard; the solid shot landed in the middle of the green.
I then hit two more, and my shot dispersion was remarkably straight. I happened to hit the last one the hardest and flew the green, which makes me think I could get away with a stiffer shaft using these irons for some added distance control. Or, I might consider taking PXG up on the custom loft options and go one degree softer on every club. Nonetheless, for steep swingers out there, the noticeable bounce angle will help prevent digging and lessen fat shots.
When I hit any of the 0211s solid, the ball launched off the face like a rocket. In fact, I tested a 5-iron from about 230 yards out (I normally hit a 5-iron about 190 yards). I took a mighty rip at it and according to the shot tracker on The Grint app, I nuked it 221 yards. That was the longest 5-iron I’ve ever hit and it flew high with a boring trajectory. Again when I missed the sweetspot, the ball flew a little lower, but shots still managed to produce reasonable distance. As for left or right misses — to me that’s a function of my swing so I don’t really account for that much.
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. With the 0211s, it’s a mixed bag. Longer irons have more offset, which makes hitting shots that curve on demand a little more challenging. But with shorter clubs there’s less offset, making it easier to hit crafty fades and draws on command. On one hole I hit a 145-yard pitching wedge (that’s nuts!) with a little draw. Back at the range using Toptracer, I put some ridiculously big swings on it and was able to hit it 150-yards straight as a rope. Thank you PXG for the ego boost!
One more note on maneuverability. The set I tried came with a 60° lob wedge. It felt lighter than I’m used to, and it packed a wide 13° bounce sole to prevent digging. This meant it was hard for me to hit my signature low flying/high spinning lob shot that Stan Utley taught me to hit, and I had to hit high lobbers pretty much every time. Meaning, that the 0211 lob wedge is for lob shots and fluffy sand shots only, not for finesse shots around the green. By all means, that’s not a bad thing — most golfers out there should be using a lob wedge just like this one. For shallow swingers like me, the added bounce was a bit restricting.
Feel: The 0211s don’t have the buttery soft feel of a forged wedge, nor do they have the tinny hollow feel of a hollow-cavity iron. The 0211s have XCOR2 have a polymer core which gives them a unique firm feel for a pleasing click at impact. I’d go so far to say that these irons have one of my favorite feels for 2022.
Surprises: No doubt the distance is what surprised me most. I hit these a mile, in some instances two clubs longer than my clubs. Also, I liked the progressive nature of the set, making the short irons surprisingly nimble to hit a variety of shots with. The only gripe, if you can call it one, is having a set like this will skew the rest of your set, likely forcing you to carry an extra gap wedge in the bag in favor of carrying a hybrid or a wood.
Also, if you’re not used to higher-bounce angles, you may find the higher-lofted clubs to skip off the turf more than you’re used to. But if you’re a player who needs some extra bounce, these are the ticket.
Conclusion: The 0211s are my favorite PXG irons this year, and among the few sets I’d willingly carry full time. The mondo distance these clubs produce makes hitting irons a lot more fun. Can’t help but say that it’s pretty rad to show up to the teebox with at least a club less than my playing partners on par-3s—which if you’ve been in this position is a helluva way to intimidate your buddies and win a few more skins.
The 0211 XCOR2 irons come in 4-LW ($129+/ea.), in five loft options, five lie options, and in a variety of steel or graphite shafts. It comes in two finish options (Chrome or Xtreme Dark). Irons tested came with True Temper Elevate steel shafts.