I want to share my experience being fit for, and ultimately ordering, some 0211 clubs from PXG. But first, I want to set the stage for you to give you a sense of how much of an amateur and budget-minded golfer I am.
I started playing about 10 years ago in my mid 30s. To reduce start-up costs, I picked up a used Top Flite XL+ package set from 2nd Swing for less than $200 shipped. This was a compromise for sure — at 5’6”, I’m a little short for standard length clubs — but it was fine for getting started. Since then, I’ve replaced the putter with a Ping Cadence TR Anser 2 and added the Kirkland wedge set… and lost my 6 and 8 irons and gotten 10 years older. On top of that, I’ve gone from being indifferent about the irons to actively disliking them. In short, it was time for an upgrade.
Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time reading articles, watching videos, and listening to podcasts. I’ve only had a few lessons, so improvement has been slow. I’ve learned a lot about the golf swing and impact physics (I like to understand how things work). Over the winter, I practiced staying more stable in my backswing and keeping some shaft lean at impact, and I saw improvement during my first range session of the season.
Warmup at the Practice Range
One piece of advice I’ve heard repeatedly is the importance of being properly fit for clubs. A few worries have kept me from doing this:
- Will I be able to hit enough good shots during the fitting?
- Is my swing stable enough that the clubs will truly be appropriate for me?
- How much will I end up having to spend on the clubs I get fit into?
- In the end, will it have actually been worth the cost?
I was nervous and a little skeptical of the big stores, and a little too uncomfortable in some of the smaller shops. I decided to try a store somewhere in-between where I know they offer fittings and also invite people to use their hitting bays on their own. I walked in with the intention of gathering information and maybe trying a couple of irons. It was a little busy that morning, but I was able to chat with a fitter and get some recommendations of iron sets — some more affordable than others — that they had in stock:
- Callaway Maverick (leftover stock)
- Callaway Apex DCB
- TaylorMade M4
After hitting the 7 iron of each for a bit, I found I really liked the M4s, especially considering the $599 price tag. Compared to my old clubs, I saw the possibility of a whole different game. However, I was getting some pretty pushy sales tactics. I nearly went ahead and bought the M4s, but I decided to back away from the pressure and leave with the information I had walked in to gather.
I dove into intense research about the M4s; it seems TaylorMade made some minor changes to the original 2016 version, such as removing the face slots, and kept them in their lineup as a lower-cost alternative to the more recent releases. As such, they don’t offer custom builds… only simple things that your local shop can do such as cutting the shafts down 1/2” and maybe bending them 1° flat. Would that be enough customization to make the investment worth it?
I explored many other options, from used Cobra or Ping irons to direct-to-consumer brands such as Sub 70 and PXG.
That’s when I came across the PXG 0211 DC irons.
Released in 2021, and iterating on the initial release a few years prior, they’re a surprisingly affordable alternative to the top-of-the-line 0311 GEN4 irons. At the current sale price of $79/club, a 5-GW set comes to $553 which is about the same as the M4s I was on the verge of buying. But how would they compare in performance?
All the research I did gave me hope, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to pull the trigger. I needed some additional insight.
The First Tee
PXG’s website says that they offer over-the-phone fittings and other help with choosing and customizing clubs. It was time to give them a call. I spent some time writing down answers to questions I thought they might ask. Then, after drinking half a beer to feel a little more relaxed, I got on the line with a fitter named Corey. We had a great conversation and he was very helpful.
In addition to talking about the 0211s and making some general fitting decisions, we configured an 0211 driver — another insanely affordable club given the praise it was getting. Corey put together a mock order for me so I could think it over. We continued the conversation over email and he answered all of the questions that I had.
Still, while I’d had a chance to try the M4s, I hadn’t even seen the 0211s in person. I was so tempted to just pull the trigger, but I dreaded the regret if it didn’t work out. I looked to Corey for some assurance and, to his credit, he encouraged me to find a way to try the irons first instead of pressuring me to place the order. From our conversation, he understood the importance of the investment to me and wanted to help me make the right decision.
The Front Nine
PXG offers fittings at lots of locations including their own stores, independent fitting studios, and virtual golf centers. I chose Bear’s Virtual Golf in Danielson, CT. It may not have been the closest location to me, but of the places I tried to contact, Jerre at Bear’s felt most receptive to me. Their website mentioned PXG fittings every Friday through April and, since I had a Friday off coming up, I scheduled a 2pm fitting.
We (I had brought my Dad along for moral support) were greeted by Jerre who I had emailed with to set up the fitting appointment. After a quick chat, he had be grab my current driver and 7 iron and handed me off to the PXG fitter, Brendan Dugan. I explained to him that I was looking at the 0211 irons and driver and he had be take a few swings with my 7 iron.
I had not warmed up, and I had just driven about an hour to get there. It’s also early in the season, so I had done very little since last fall. After 5-6 shots, I finally had on that was okay, but a little shorter than I was used to.
Brendan explained that he wanted to first find the right shaft for my swing and asked if I had consider graphite. I hadn’t for two reasons: 1. ego, 2. cost. I said I was willing to set aside ego, and Brendan said that they had a few no-upcharge graphite shafts! This surprised me because I didn’t see any no-upcharge graphite options when configuring online. He had me try those as well as their steel shaft options. He would occasionally ask me if I noticed any differences and, to be honest, I mostly just noticed that I could swing the graphites 8-9 mph faster than the steels. We eventually settled on Mitsubishi MMT 70g as a good compromise for being lighter while still feeling familiar and not “mushy”.
As we were testing different shafts, I mentioned that I was aware of my heel strike bias. Brendan had previously noted that my swing path was pretty strongly in-to-out (I think around 4-6°) which, combined with not fulling squaring the club face, led to no other possible contact but a heel strike. I adjusted my swing with a little bit of “fade” in my mind and was able to neutralize path. My good shots were starting to show the same kind of results I had been seeing with the M4s with ball speed and distance increases over my current clubs.
However, I still had the face angle to contend with. Brendan and I worked together on that.
For my part, I first tried to “rev” the grip at the top of the backswing, but I couldn’t do both that and effectively keep the “fade” thought. I always hear that more than one swing thought is really tough to manage. Instead, I strengthened my grip a little for the time being which worked like a charm.
On Brendan’s end, he offered a couple of variations of head weight. Again, I was surprised. I thought that sort of customization was the reason for upgrading to the 0311 line, but apparently they do offer some options in the 0211s. Again, this isn’t available when configuring online. First, we tried something that would feel lighter and not provide as much resistance to squaring at impact. I could kinda work it, but I didn’t love it; there wasn’t any feel. He then had me try something else, for which he had to sub in a 0311 to simulate what it would be like. He didn’t tell me what the change was, but I assumed he was going to go to the other extreme to make me want to go back to the lighter feel. He did go to the opposite extreme as I had guessed, and I anticipated having to put in a little extra effort to square the face. As it turns out, I loved the feedback I got from that feel and Brendan didn’t seem at all surprised.
Side note: At this point, the fitting was turning out to be just as much of a lesson. I was definitely coming in with some of my own knowledge (thanks to the online presence of people like Adam Young, Jon Sherman, and Shauheen Nakhjavani), but I wouldn’t have known what needed changing without Brendan telling me what he saw. This alone made the fitting worth while.
Back to the fitting… Just to be sure about where we landed, I asked to try a couple of the other options we had worked through now that I was warmed up. I even hit my current 7 iron again, better than I had at first. In the end, I was satisfied that Brendan had fit me into clubs that would take my game to the next level.
The whole time, Brendan was also busy evaluating lie. Based on my height and the phone fitting with Corey, I expected to end up 1° flat. He started me at 2° upright just to check and, while I was skeptical at first, I quickly put this out of my mind. By the time we were done, he had me at 1° flat without another word needing to be said.
In terms of set composition, I was hoping to try the 5 iron to see if I could hit that or if I needed a hybrid instead. They only have the 7 iron for fitting, but he had his set and let me try his 5 iron. I don’t remember if it was 0211 or 0311, and the shafts were a different model of graphite, but I was able to get enough of an idea to know that a 5 iron was the longest iron I would feel comfortable having in my bag. We locked in the 0211s from 5-GW.
The Back Nine
We then moved on to the driver. Same basic process of starting with my current 10.5° driver, followed by finding the right shaft. We’d learned a lot about my swing during the iron fitting and he quickly dialed in a 9° set to “BIG +” (+1.5° loft, -1.5° lie, slightly closed face) and a shorter shaft to account for my height and help me hit the sweet spot more reliably.
I had planned to stop there. I knew I wanted irons and a driver, but I didn’t know what would best fill the gap for me. I’ve never had much success with my current fairway woods, and I didn’t know what kinds of distance I might want to get out of a hybrid. Still, Brendan had be try the 0211 fairway and hybrid. He again coached me on my fairway wood swing by suggesting a more forward ball position that was counter-intuitive to me given how I was swinging. It worked okay, but it was a little too novel for me to be sure I wanted a new fairway wood right now. The 19° hybrid was another story. That one felt great and was an easy decision to add on to the order.
Back in the Clubhouse
So there you have it. A custom 0211 driver, 19° hybrid, and 5-GW irons with more customization than I could have gotten outside of an in-person fitting. The total was around $950 plus tax and shipping. I could have spent just as much on the M4s plus a decent second-hand driver and hybrid, but I would have had no where near the confidence that I would be happy with my investment.
In short, my fitting experience was excellent and much less scary than I feared. Brendan was great and I highly recommend getting in touch with him ([email protected]) or Bear’s Virtual Golf (https://www.bearsvirtualgolf.com/) if you’re in the area and want a PXG fitting. If you’re near Chicago, I hear the guys at Sub 70 in Sycamore are great as well (they also have some fitting cart locations listed on their website, but nothing near me). No matter how you do it, I urge anyone wanting to improve their game to find some place where they are comfortable getting a quality club fitting.
My fitting was last Friday, 4/1. Brendan said that I should have the clubs in 2-3 weeks, shipping from Arizona. They were assembled on Monday, shipped on Tuesday, and are currently expected to arrive tomorrow! I’m looking forward to putting them in the bag and will follow up with my impressions with the actual clubs.