What you need to know: PXG 0211 XCOR2 irons | Golf equipment: clubs, balls, bags

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW: PXG’s new affordable irons, the 0211 XCOR2, re-features the cast iron construction of older models with a thin, high-tensile steel face. But just like their latest forged predecessors (the 0311 GEN5 line introduced earlier this year), the 0211 XCOR2 hollowbody will feature the same lighter, faster polymer core filler to improve distance and save weight.

THE PRICE: $129 for Chrome, $149 for Xtreme Dark finish (introductory discounted prices).

DEEP DIVING: In their previous generations, PXG’s 0211 irons have existed as the most affordable alternative option in the company’s line of irons. This is largely due to the cast iron body construction as opposed to the more expensive forged designs in the 0311 line, including the GEN5 sets introduced earlier this year.

That said, the latest 0211 XCOR2 irons offer all the key technologies of its bigger siblings. This includes the ultra-thin maraging steel face. Measuring less than 1.5 millimeters (and thinner in some areas where the grooves are and surrounding a peripheral channel), the face is the thinnest in golf, according to Brad Schweigert, product manager of PXG.

Equally important, these hollow designs, just like the 0311 GEN5 irons, incorporate a new polymer filler known as XCOR2, also the same used in the 0311 GEN5 irons.

“The two big advantages are that it’s lighter and faster,” Schweigert said. “It has a lighter density which allows us to save more mass from the core of the iron and we can redistribute that mass around the perimeter and make it more forgiving. It’s faster, higher COR material that helps us generate higher ball speeds and more distance gains.

A U-shaped groove is cut into the back of the face, which wraps around the heel, toe and top of the faceplate. It also improves distance, just like in the GEN5 irons.

“It’s really a dip that weakens that area, allowing the face to deflect on impact, which creates an opposite reaction in the golf ball so it launches higher with less spin,” said he declared. “It works like a trampoline to allow the face to flex in a non-traditional way.”

All of this makes for a pretty compelling comparison between the 0311 GEN5 sets and the 0211 XCOR2 irons, but Schweigert wasn’t going to get into those comparisons other than to say that the 0311 XP GEN5 “is going to beat them from a distance.” Of course, the XP is the most aggressive loft in the 0311 line. The 0211 XCOR2 irons feature slightly lower lofts than the XP.

Because it is designed to serve a wide audience, the 0211 set features a progressive design in terms of lofts, blade lengths and offsets. It features longer blades with more offset in the longer irons and progressively less offset and a more compact size in the short irons. The 4 iron is 19 degrees, the 7 iron is 28 degrees, and the pitching wedge is 42 degrees.

“The long irons here are built more forgiving where you need them and the short irons are a bit more optimized for scoring,” Schweigert said. “It’s almost like a mix between a P and an XP in one category.” But, he said, “Even though these irons look like a player’s style of iron, they actually offer a high level of game improvement.”

Again, the main differences are the 0211 XCOR2’s cast construction in mild 431 stainless steel and the 0311 GEN5’s forged construction featuring tungsten which lowers the center of gravity and provides more perimeter weighting. The 0211 XCOR2 saves 5-7 grams thanks to the use of XCOR2 polymer which is distributed around the head to improve forgiveness, and the lighter face, made of high tensile HT1770 maraging steel (also used in irons GEN5) also helps in this regard. Overall, the 0211 XCOR2 achieves a measurement of moment of inertia (stability on off-center hits) that Schweigert says is two percent better than its 0211 predecessor.

“If you take an iron that’s basically the same size as one of our irons and optimize it from a back cavity perspective, our iron technology with our hollow body generates about 10% more MOI than that of the back cavity,” Schweigert said. “Our hollow back approach is a much more effective design for creating the highest level of forgiveness.”

Another improvement is the angled top rail design. It gets wider the further you go. This added weight towards the toe helps better align the center of gravity with the center of the face for more efficient energy transfer. But Schweigert and his team didn’t let the physical get in the way of the aesthetic.

“If you just widened the top rail going towards the tip, it wouldn’t look very good,” he said. “So we hide that thickness change in how we orient that back surface and give the golfer from the setup view that parallel topline perspective.”

The 0211 XCOR2 irons will be offered in a 4-iron with a lob wedge (60 degrees). They are available in two finishes, chrome and Xtreme Dark, for introductory prices of $129 and $149 per club, respectively.

Michael C. Ford