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Opinion & Analysis

Explaining PXG: The supercar analogy

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Every idea has to start somewhere.

Whether it be in a garage, basement, or in a conference room with a blank piece of paper, it’s how the idea is executed that will ultimately determine its success. When you’re Bob Parsons, execution is your specialty. When you have an idea to build some of the most technologically advanced clubs on the planet—you bring in some of the world’s best mad club scientists to help you bring them to life.

Product design is a difficult space, regardless of industry, and certainly in golf. With almost any consumer product you have to work within a lot of different constraints

  • Technology: Not every company can afford to innovate to create real breakthroughs
  • Materials: Just like with technology, some materials become too expensive to use in the consumer marketplace
  • Time: Time is money, especially when you have smart people on board that deserve proper compensation. You need to see a return to justify products and design, and that often leads to forced product cycles.

All of these factors add up to products being designed into price categories. For example: economy car vs. luxury vehicle. No chance an economy car is going to have the horsepower or options of the luxury version because of what the inherent cost to produce is.

Where you don’t see this model is in supercars—they design what they design, use whatever materials and technology they can, then worry about price.

PXG is building supercars!

What started with a phone call and a piece of paper has become one of the golf industry’s most talked-about brands. Designers Mike Nicolette and Brad Schweigert have been given the opportunity to create products as they see fit, and with input from Bob, a self-professed golf club nut, these mad scientists are changing the industry.

Watch the fourth installment of our video series with PXG, The Disruptors, to find out how.

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Aztec

    Aug 20, 2019 at 11:52 am

    You could probably get away with this marketing nonsense with the general public but amongst golfwxers? Umm…no.

  2. DJ

    Aug 20, 2019 at 10:43 am

    Zach Johnson, James Hahn, Lydia Ko, and Billy Ho… no longer relevant with switch to PXG.

  3. Curt

    Aug 20, 2019 at 3:29 am

    Gimmick. If they were so advanced they’d be banned on tour. Hopefully they charge so much because they use every companies patents and need to pay off those debts. Extreme also starts with an E.

  4. Undercover

    Aug 19, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    I think PXG’s are a joke as well. BUT, your comment is the dumbest thing I’ve seen in awhile. Shut up, just shut up.

  5. dat

    Aug 19, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    But it ISN’T a supercar. There is NO governing body of street cars besides safety requirements and even then if you produce a low number you can get away with nearly anything – ask TVR. In golf, much like in F1 racing, we have major governing bodies who control exactly how good a club can be, much like how good a Ferrari or Ford or any other F1 car can be. It is down to the driver to win. Down to the golfer to win. Not the equipment.

    These clubs are NO better than any others according to many tests on independent sites who do not receive paid placements or promotional articles.

    • Rascal

      Aug 19, 2019 at 11:50 pm

      Well said. But everyone’s gotta eat so…

  6. JP

    Aug 19, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    I’m no pxg fanboy, but you’re way off base with that reply. Pull back on the reins man!

  7. Dwight

    Aug 19, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    This is a terrible analogy… except in the respect that just like you can find a car like say the Kia Stinger that will beat most any production “super car” in a 0-60 for a fraction of the cost, you can also ship around and find as good or better performing clubs at a fraction of the cost. Swing and a miss there but enjoy your PXG commission.

  8. HDTVMAN

    Aug 19, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    So you’re comparing a Yugo to a BMW in this article…some companies can and some can’t? Don’t think so. I’d put my Ping i500’s, Callaway Apex, TM P-series, Titleist T-series up against PXG…YOU ARE PAYING FOR MARKETING FOR EVERY BRAND, BUT MUCH MUCH MORE FOR PXG! Hey Bob, how many majors and tournaments has PXG won? You’re better than the rest? Prove it to me. I said the same to Titleist when the TS series came out, and they DID prove to me that they are the real deal. I’m in Phoenix in 3 weeks…prove it!

  9. TLW

    Aug 19, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    How much did Parsons pay for this article?

  10. Comish

    Aug 19, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    Have to agree w/JP here, I’ve had a set (what a waste of money) Apex iron longer, straighter, and a lot less expensive. So now they have come out with a less expensive model…must not be hitting their numbers.

  11. Ryan

    Aug 19, 2019 at 10:03 am

    Bob Parsons: Here’s my business model. I am going to make the same clubs as the competitors, but add some little spins on it and then market it as amazing technology that can’t be matched. Then I will charge 5x as much for the clubs as the competitors. People will buy it because its a status symbol.

  12. JP

    Aug 19, 2019 at 9:01 am

    Super cars perform at a way higher level than say Camrys or Accords. PXG golf clubs are simply on par with Ping and others.
    .
    Bob Parsons decided to build Honda Civics and charge a million dollars for them by making claims they run like Ferrari’s.

    • TStrom

      Aug 19, 2019 at 3:18 pm

      Agree totally; if PXG clubs were so superior to “average” clubs, you’d expect to see the results from tour players making the switch…but you don’t…case closed…

    • blake

      Aug 19, 2019 at 5:11 pm

      So maybe PXG is like the Civic R?

  13. Ryan Mextorf

    Aug 19, 2019 at 8:51 am

    The supercar analogy would make sense if the clubs performed any better than it’s “economy car” counterparts (i.e. Mizuno, Titleist, Srixon…). Every PXG staffer has fallen off the face of the planet with their new supercars in the bag – funny how that works.

    Just because something is expensive does not make it inherently a better product.

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In this episode of The Gear Dive brought to you by Fujikura, Johnny has a serious heart-to-heart with six-time Tour Winner and all-around legend Rocco Mediate. This is a must-listen! They talk gear, sobriety, the 2008 U.S. Open, and Rush.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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The Gear Dive WITB Edition: Ping Tour rep Kenton Oates talks Viktor Hovland

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In this WITB Edition of The Gear Dive, Johnny chats with Ping Tour rep Kenton Oates on the ins and outs of Puerto Rico Open Champion Viktor Hovland’s golf bag.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

They also cover Jim Wells Putters and the legendary Ping Eye 2 wedge.

Viktor Hovland WITB

Driver: Ping G410 LST (9 degrees @ 8.5; flat standard, CG shifter in draw)
Shaft: Project X HZURDUS Black 6.5 (44.5 inches, D3 swing weight)

3-wood: TaylorMade M5 (15 degrees @ 14.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei Blue AV 85 TX

Irons: Callaway X Forged UT (21 degrees), Ping i210 (4-PW)
Shafts: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-85 X Hybrid (21), KBS Tour 120 X (4-PW)

  • Standard length, .5 degrees flat, D2+

Wedges: Ping Glide 3.0 (50-SS, 56-SS @ 55, 60-TS)

  • 50SS (35.25 inches, 1-degree flat, D3, “Half Moon” Grind)
  • 56SS (35 inches, 1.5-degree flat, D3+)
  • 60TS (34.75 inches, 2-degrees flat, D4)

Shafts: KBS Tour-V 130 X

Putter: Ping PLD Prototype “Hovi”

  • 36″, 20-degree lie, 2.5-degree loft, stepped shaft

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride MCC White/Black 58R

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Realistic expectations

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(Today’s post is one I actually wrote nearly eight years ago, but I’m using it to start a series about “thinking your way to better golf.” I hope you enjoy the next few weeks.)

One of the great regrets of my life is that I missed the fatherhood experience, never having had children of my own. As I get older, I find that I gravitate to the younger folks, and offer my help whenever I can, whether on the golf course, on the water fishing, or just life in general. One of my joys is working with younger kids on their golf. That includes instruction, of course, but what I think is more important for them in the developmental stages is to learn to manage
their expectations. Actually, we all could benefit from that bit of advice.

On Sunday, I had the joy of playing with the 16-year-old son of one of our partners at SCOR Golf. Kyle is a tremendously talented young man who I’ve worked with quite a bit, but he really hasn’t committed himself to golf yet. I’m talking about the kind of commitment that keeps him working hard at it as long as there is daylight. He might not ever get that, and that’s OK, but he hasn’t figured out yet that your expectations can only rise from your achievements, and not from your desires.

On a core level, Kyle has great strength but hasn’t learned to harness it yet. He wants to choose his clubs based on his maximum distance with that club—if everything falls exactly into place. Like most golfers, and especially young ones,
he’s enamored with the power game. When we play, I show him that throttling back and controlling the shot is much more reliable.

What I discovered Sunday is that Kyle has very unrealistic expectations about what a round of golf should really be like. He, like most of us, expects all the shots to be struck solidly and fly like he imagined. So I explained that he hasn’t
earned the right to have such expectations yet. His scores average around 90-95 and his best ever is an 85.

So, here’s my point (finally)

Kyle was off to a good start with three pars and two bogeys in his first five holes. He kind of “fat-pulled” a 4-iron approach on a 200-plus yard par three. His shot left him only 10-15 yards short and left of the green, but he wheeled around, dropped his club and expressed his disgust with the shot. And I got on him about it. “What’s wrong with that? It’s a difficult par-3 with a 20 mph crosswind and you are in good position to get up and down or at least make no worse than bogey on one of the hardest holes on the course.”

I went on to explain that he was only two pars away from tying his best round ever, and if he just played for bogeys – and stay excited—he would probably make twice that many or more. And I seemed to get through to him of the reality
of golf, or his golf at least. He stayed in the moment, with only a little more cajoling from me, and shot an 86—one shot off his best ever! And I MADE him congratulate himself on his accomplishments. Instead of focusing on those few
shots that were bad, and the 2-3 doubles he made, I told him to focus on the good that came out of that round.

So, here’s my point (or points) for managing your expectations, too.

  1. If you are a low single-digit player, you’ll still only hit 2-3 shots a round just like you wanted.
  2. If you play to a 12 or higher, any shot that keeps you in the game isn’t really all that bad.
  3. Regardless of your skill level, there is no such thing as a “birdie hole” when you are standing on the tee. A “birdie hole” can only be claimed when you have executed an approach to makeable putt range.
  4. If you are a 12-15 handicap player, you only need to make 3-6 pars to beat your handicap, as long as you don’t chop up any holes. Bogeys are good scores unless you regularly shoot in the 70s!

So, the next time you are on the golf course, try to set and manage realistic expectations. Your golf will be better for it, and you’ll have a ton more fun.

NOTE: I read a great article this morning by Geoff Ogilvy about the quality of golf being played on the PGA Tour. It reflects what I’ve often said about how the modern tour professional plays the game. Here it is.

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