How PXG Perfected Golf Clubs — and Made the Game More Fun
Despite the divots and the back nine meltdowns, golf is a game that’s supposed to be fun, and this billionaire-backed brand is here to ensure just that
In partnership with PXG
As the old golf adage goes: it’s the good shots that keep you coming back. Stripe a monster drive, knock a wedge to a few inches of the pin or hook a ball out from the trees and onto the green — forget scorecards, these are the ineffable memories that make golf one of the most fun and addicting games around.
“The game of golf bites you for a number of reasons,” says Bob Parsons, PXG (Parsons Xtreme Golf) founder and CEO. “It’s a wonderful diversion. It’s a lot of fun and it’s a great opportunity for camaraderie. The game is impossible to perfect, but every once in a while, even with a shallow skill level, you can hit an incredible shot. That’s the hook. And anyone…I mean anyone…can play.”
Helping golfers hit more of those shots is part and parcel of why Parsons founded PXG. Through their unrelenting commitment to research and development, the brand aims to create the best clubs on the market, thereby helping golfers eke out not just lower scores but also more enjoyment during every round.
PXG’s Origin Story
Among his many ventures, Bob Parsons is probably best known as the founder of Internet domain registrar behemoth GoDaddy. These days, however, he’s a golfer. As in, an obsessive one, often logging in more time on the back nine than do most PGA pros. His passion for the links led to a lot of spending. Before Parsons decided to launch his own equipment company back in 2013, he was dropping over $300,000 a year on clubs. Yes, you read that astounding figure right. Chalk it up to the obsession of a gear head and the due diligence of an entrepreneur. Parsons explains that between buying most clubs that come to market, working with a custom fitter and constantly changing shafts in a never-ending quest to optimize one’s golf game, that it’s easy to rack up such a jaw-dropping bill.
“If you think that’s a lot, try starting a golf company,” Parsons says.
Parsons’ objective was to craft clubs that hit the everyman golfer’s sweet spot — clubs that feel like “players” sticks but offer the forgiveness of game-improvement models. From the get-go, PXG has stayed true to that mission statement, cranking out some of the best clubs on the market and becoming one of the most important brands in the industry.
“PXG was born out of the idea that there must be something better,” says Mike Nicolette, PXG’s director of product design. “Bob Parsons was frustrated with the state of the industry as he would buy clubs from every OEM [that’s insider speak for ‘original equipment manufacturer’] and nothing stood out as being exceptional. They were all the same.”
Parsons gave Nicolette and Brad Schweigert, PXG’s chief product officer, carte blanche to research and explore golf club performance without regard to cost or time. “Our mission statement would be to make the best clubs on earth that are demonstrably better in every way than any other golf equipment available,” Nicolette says. “Better with regards to distance, forgiveness, feel and appearance.”
Considering that PXG is the passion project of a billionaire, it began with rather humble origins — two trailers parked on Parsons’ Scottsdale National Golf Course. Fast forward nine years later, however, and PXG has built a reputation for innovation; performance that began with their first generation and has swelled with the release of the new GEN5 line.
The brand’s commitment to the product is its hallmark. “We’re not focused on earnings,” Parsons says. “We’re focused on doing the job with the equipment.” It’s an ethos Parsons says he’s taken into all of his enterprises. “I’ve never worried too much about making money. Instead, I worried about having a business I could be proud of, and that’s what I’m doing with PXG.”
R&D is the Secret Sauce
Parsons is a person who insists on better, pushing his team to find more distance and enhanced performance out of each club. To do this, PXG doesn’t adhere to prearranged release dates; rather, the brand only drops new clubs after they’ve achieved substantial improvement.
“We are tirelessly working to find new technology or optimize club designs to improve performance and make the game more enjoyable for players of all abilities,” Schweigert says. “We invest our time early in the R&D phase in exploring all aspects of club technology and new design concepts that we suspect will deliver significant performance gains, and only when it is noticeably better to an average golfer in every way we can think of, then we move forward with a plan to release it.”
Parsons agrees: “People have a lot of faith that when we release something it’s going to be excellent. But that’s something that doesn’t happen immediately. We kiss a lot of toads. We go down a lot of dead ends,” he says. “But we keep doing it…because you might come up with a breakthrough.”
GEN5 – Game Changing Clubs
Certainly the best clubs PXG has made to date, GEN5 features both a line of woods and irons that perform unlike anything else on the market in terms of distance and forgiveness.
The bar was high for this release according to Schweigert. “Right before we commercially launched GEN4, Bob came to me and said ‘Great job on the GEN4s, now we need to get moving on GEN5s. They need to be noticeably better than GEN4, so you guys definitely have your work cut out for you!’”
For the driver and woods the team moved the adjustable weights to the extreme perimeters of the club (heel, back and toe) and anchored the weight structures in the skirt section of the design. “This significantly boosts MOI (moment of inertia) and forgiveness approximately 25% and provides more flexibility on fine tuning the center of gravity and head rotation to better match a player’s natural swing characteristics, which leads to longer and straighter drivers,” Schweigert says. “To boot, the overall design creates a much stiffer and more stable body structure that leads to an explosive feel and sound.”
The GEN5 irons also represent a leap forward in design and performance. PXG injected the forged clubs with a new lighter and faster XCOR2 material, combining it with a power channel face technology that delivers faster ball speed performance and greater distance. The MOI-forgiveness of the GEN5 irons get a 5% boost thanks to increased tungsten heel-toe weighting. “The density of XCOR2 is approximately 20% lighter than the original XCOR material which yields 5-7 grams of mass savings from the center core material,” Schweigert says. “This mass savings is redistributed in the form of increased tungsten heel-toe weighting to boost MOI-forgiveness and leads to tighter dispersion performance.”
Customization is Key
Part of the reason PXG clubs work for so many players is the customization. While players can spec their own clubs from PXG, the brand recommends that golfers visit a fitter from their network for a nominal fee to create a bespoke set because everyone’s swing is different.
“I heard it once said that no matter the quality and cost of a pair of shoes, if they don’t fit your feet they are not worth a dang,” Nicolette says. “The same could be said about golf equipment…if the clubs are not a fit for you, they are going to be frustrating to hit!”
Club fitting is crucial to achieve maximum performance Nicolette says. “If the golf clubs are not properly fit for the static measurements of a golfer and then ‘fine-tuned’ for their personal style, the golfer will inevitably fight to start the ball on the intended line, making the game extremely difficult to enjoy.”
Clubs for Every Type of Golfer
Many players think PXG is a brand for good golfers with fat wallets. That certainly was close to the case back in 2013. But today, the company makes clubs for nearly every golfer in a variety of price points. It’s a brand for everyone, whether you’re honing in on a scratch handicap or you just want an afternoon away with your friends.
“The right clubs go along with the fitting process,” Nicolette says. Different models are designed with the skill level of the end user in mind. The T and P models are better suited for more accomplished players while the XP model is for someone looking for more distance. The Z model is well suited for the golfer looking for ease of use and forgiveness.” In other words, finding the right model of club will yield more good shots and definitely make the game a more fun experience.
Do Golf Your Way
Golf is an old game rich in tradition, but PXG wants you to understand it doesn’t have to be stuffy. If you don’t want to play out of a divot in the fairway (and aren’t turning in a scorecard), who cares? Play your game. Golf is both a pursuit and an experience, so do it your way.
At Scottsdale National, the club Parsons bought back in 2013 and has transformed into his own personal golf paradise, there is only one rule: “No member shall ever impinge upon another member’s enjoyment of the club.” There’s no dress code and no arcane ban on cell phones. Just do you and shoot your shots.
Parsons imbued that same laissez faire spirit into the PXG brand. Want to hack it around with a beer in hand and play a couple of balls? Go for it. If you’d prefer to see just how low you can shoot, do it. No matter how you choose to play the game, PXG wants you to have as much fun as possible and has the sticks to help you on your way.
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