Bob Parsons, he of the booming voice and dot-com fortune, continues to push the boundaries of golf club design and marketing. His company is all-in on the direct-to-consumer model, backed by a nationwide fitting team to help golfers get dialed in before they buy. Those intrepid sales facilitators now have a slew of new drivers, woods, hybrids and irons to show off to curious golfers. PXG's 0311 GEN5 line of clubs aims to help golfers "raze par" with the help of new materials, refined weighting and always eye-catching looks.
Likely influenced by golfers who found themselves turned off by the black-grey-black crowns found on the GEN4 drivers and woods, the 0311 GEN5s have a clean grey crown with some subtle black perimeter arcs and company branding that reminds of Callaway's last couple of generations of drivers.
In addition to a distance-oriented titanium face, PXG claims their new long clubs are more forgiving than ever thanks to a new "Aluminum Vapor" carbon-fiber crown that results in as much as 37% more MOI (moment of inertia, an industry standard measure of overall forgiveness) than the GEN4 drivers.
Parsons loves to throw different pricing strategies at his competitors, so it is no surprise that at a base price of $499, the new GEN5 drivers undercut the likes of TaylorMade and Callaway by as much as $100.
But PXG's premium-pricing history continues to the present, too, especially in the new 0311 GEN5 irons. Previous generations have allowed golfers to opt for either the standard chrome finish, or a black, "Xtreme Dark" one. For the GEN5 irons, PXG is parlaying that more expensive finish with top-of-the-line Aerotech Steelfiber shafts to create a "Black Label Elite" program that is the golf club equipment of a luxury car's fully-loaded trim level. A set of these highest-end 0311 GEN5 irons will cost upwards of $3,000.
More golf equipment news and releases
New Arccos Smart Sensors
The tech-savvy golfer's preferred shot-tracking devices have received a refresh, with the company's new third generation of sensors promising a 98% shot capture rate and greater overall accuracy thanks to AI machine learning. The sensors themselves, which are anchored to the butt end of each club's grip, are 20% lighter than those of the previous generation. The sensors cost $199.99, which includes a year of membership to the Arccos Caddie app ($12.99 per month thereafter). Click here to read our review of the previous generation of Arccos sensors.
New CPX grip is Golf Pride's softest yet
Comfort can be an underrated ingredient in golf success. Pushing performance is a sound marketing strategy, but it's not everything. Despite having the largest market share of any grip maker for several years, Golf Pride is adjusting the way it talks about its products as it unveils its new CPX grip. The Pinehurst-based company claims CPX is its softest ever, shifting the focus from performance to comfort in a bit of a departure from their marketing m.o. In addition to a softer-than-usual compound used to make the grips, the CPX ($9.49-$10.49) has a ridged diamond pattern inspired by the treads on BMX bike tires.
'Swish' goes with Lululemon
Known mostly for its yoga apparel, Lululemon is also getting into the golf space, and has signed 36-year-old former NBA player and current North Carolina A&T member J.R. Smith to an NIL (name, image, likeness) endorsement deal. In the tweet embedded below, Smith is wearing Lululemon's Evolution polo ($88).
North Carolina A&T golf's JR Smith has officially signed an NIL deal as a brand ambassador with Lululemon ⛳️— Front Office Sports (@FOS) April 18, 2022
(h/t @NickDePaula) pic.twitter.com/01nrWrvM7F
Wilson's latest forged cavity backs
Wilson has been overlooked in recent years, but the more than century-old sporting good's giant's golf offerings are sneaky-solid and quite affordable. Made with the help of "generative computer design," the new Wilson D9 Forged irons, released earlier this month, are compact and attractive for mid- and low-handicap players. And at $1,050 for a steel-shafted set from 5 iron through gap wedge, they're a few hundred bucks less expensive than some of their big competitors' similar offerings.
Quick review: Duca del Cosma Churchill golf shoes
Far from a household name in the U.S., this Dutch-owned brand with products designed by Italian Baldovino Mattiazzo is worthy of a look if you're wanting a bit of a contrarian choice. After a handful of rounds and range sessions with a pair of their Cognac-colored Churchills (also available in Royal Blue), I am remembering why I still favor handmade, primarily leather golf shoes. They are a little heavier than the feather-light models so many companies tout these days, but that's just fine with me as I feel like my footwork suffers when I'm wearing any of those barely-there shoes. I want a stable base, and a little extra heft around my feet gives me that feeling. I was concerned they might be too small and they started off snug-fitting but after an initial half-hour of some discomfort, they have worn in beautifully. The supple Nappa leather upper pairs surprisingly well with a more contemporary-looking, spikeless sole. Duca del Cosma Churchill golf shoe: $229 - Tim Gavrich