- PXG has released its first product in the golf ball category.
- The PXG Xtreme golf ball has three-piece urethane construction.
- Suitable for a range of players, PXG says the Xtreme is “one ball that does it all.”
- Retail price is $39.99. Available now.
PXG Founder and CEO Bob Parsons has stated: “Everything we [PXG] do starts with a question: ‘Can we make a better product?’”
As it relates to golf balls, for the better part of PXG’s existence, the answer was “no.”
A Slick Failure
When PXG engineers Brad Schweigert and Mike Nicolette left PING for PXG, certain contractual entanglements prohibited them from jumping right into golf club design. Instead, they spent their early PXG days working on a golf ball.
The result of those efforts was the Slick golf ball (I don’t recall why the one shown below is on a stick—probably some aerodynamics thing) and the mythology around its shortcomings have become the stuff of PXG lore.
Suffice it to say the Slick ball never made it to retail.
Nevertheless, PXG persisted.
Parsons continues: “We didn’t stop trying. Adding a new partner to expand our engineering capabilities and leveraging years of data and testing, we are pleased and proud to finally introduce a golf ball good enough to earn the PXG name.”
PXG Xtreme Golf Ball Construction
Starting with basics: the PXG Xtreme is three-piece ball with an injection-molded 338-dimple aerodynamics package (aka “cover”). The balls are produced in Vietnam.
Fans of MyGolfSpy’s Ball Lab might already be narrowing down the factory list in their heads so I’ll add that 338 is not a particularly common dimple count. Bridgestone and Srixon both have 338-dimple patterns but neither has a factory in Vietnam.
There are a few other 338-dimple balls of note on the USGA’s conforming ball list. You may not be familiar with the first but all of Aerium’s conforming balls have 338-dimple covers.
The other, the Kirkland Signature Performance+, is produced in Vietnam.
As we’ve pointed out before, it’s not uncommon for factories to reuse the same dimple pattern on multiple golf balls. With that in mind, it’s not shocking that, on close examination, my assessment is that the dimple pattern on the PXG Xtreme Golf ball is consistent with the Kirkland.
For what it’s worth, the PXG cover is a significantly brighter white.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting the PXG ball is a re-stamped Kirkland. The under-the-cover stuff is unique to PXG and I’m confident the company wouldn’t release a ball that spins as much as the Kirkland. Though, I suppose, it would be fair to characterize the spin properties of the Kirkland as extreme.
In classic PXG fashion, the layers are the ball are colored red, white and blue, although, if all the layers were black, it would also be on-brand.
PXG Xtreme Golf Ball – Who is it For?
At this point, you’re probably wondering about the performance characteristics of the golf ball. Seriously, who is it for?
With PXG Xtreme ball, the company is taking what I call the Lord of the Rings approach: One ball to rule them all or, as PXG says, “One ball that does it all.”
Simply, the objective was to create a ball that works for every golfer without any tradeoffs. It’s my responsibility to remind you that there’s always a tradeoff. What PXG has described sure looks like a middle-of-the-bell-curve urethane offering.
The approach is rooted in PXG’s thinking that ball fitting is overly complicated and a good bit of what golfers have been told over the years about golf ball performance isn’t exactly true.
PXG’s test data suggests that even for relatively slow swing speed golfers (call it +/-85 mph), low-compression golf balls are shorter off the tee and typically spin less around the green than firmer ones.
It’s a not-so-catchy way of saying that soft is slow and soft often doesn’t spin.
Basically, the idea of fitting a ball based on swing speed is flawed and so, rather than add to the confusion, the company decided to offer a single model that’s going to work pretty well for just about everyone.
If you’re going to launch a performance-driven golf ball franchise with a single model, it makes sense to start with something that’s firm enough that high swing speed players won’t over-compress and lose distance and maybe just soft enough that slower swing speed players will tolerate the feel because it spins more around the green than the low-compression stuff they’ve been told is right for their swing speed.
From a compression standpoint, the goal of the PXG Xtreme golf ball was to split the difference between the Pro V1 and the Pro V1x. In preliminary testing, the PXG Xtreme ball measures +/- 97 on our gauge which matches the last two generations of Pro V1x.
That would certainly explain why PXG says it’s as fast as the Pro V1x though, with the thicker cover, golfers may find the PXG ball feels softer.
PXG Extreme Golf Ball Performance Testing
PXG says its new Xtreme golf ball is as good or better than anything on the market. As you would expect, it’s offering some data to support those claims.
In independent testing conducted by Golf Labs, the PXG ball was six yards longer than a Pro V1 and just a tick shorter than the Pro V1x. It was a touch faster than both as well.
While there are arguments to be made in PXG’s favor, a good bit of the data doesn’t so much indicate better or worse as it does the subtle performance distinctions between golf balls.
And so, with that, I’ll refer you back to the earlier point about golf ball fitting being complicated.
Additional advantages for the PXG Xtreme ball, as well as performance distinctions, can be found in the iron and wedge data as well.
The requisite disclaimer in all of this is that the industry has been showing me these Golf Lab reports across multiple categories for years. It’s not going to surprise anyone to learn that the home team (the company that commissioned the test) has a win percentage that would make the Harlem Globetrotters blush.
My take is that the data is interesting, perhaps, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen half a dozen times before in the ball category alone.
And as I’ve said before: the challenge in the golf ball category isn’t in creating a design that performs well. Given the USGA constraints, nearly every factory can do that.
Sure, there are niche offerings that fit a smaller percentage of golfers but objectively bad golf balls are few and far between. It’s the ability to produce the same ball on spec over and over (and over) again that is often the biggest differentiator between brands.
PXG Xtreme Ball – On Course
PXG’s other supporting insights are largely anecdotal.
To my knowledge, PXG’s Mike Nicolette is the only engineer currently working in the golf industry who has won on the PGA TOUR. Nico won at Bay Hill in ’83 and, while he maybe doesn’t move the ball over the course like he once did, he’s still got plenty of game.
“[The PXG ball] has better trajectory and spin control than anything I’ve ever hit,” says Nicolette. “It’s as good or better than any golf ball I’ve ever played in my life.”
In on-course testing, Nicolette says, “a Titleist golf ball has not caught up to a PXG ball yet.”
The obvious caveat here, and Nicolette acknowledges as much, is that, as a PXG employee, golfers may not be inclined to take his word for it.
The requisite advice is to try the PXG ball yourself—and the motivation to do so may be found in the price point.
Pricing and Availability
According to PXG’s Brad Schweigert, “the only reason not to play a urethane-covered ball is because of price.” FYI: Pretty much everyone making a golf ball says the same thing. The only reason ionomer balls exist is because a segment of golfers doesn’t want to pay urethane prices.
I get that, and PXG gets that, which is why it wants to remove price as an obstacle.
With a retail price of $39.99, I’m not sure the company has done that entirely. Before the volume discounts offered by the other guys, that’s still about $5 higher than most direct-to-consumer brands.
That said, 40 bucks is no doubt appealing for PXG loyalists and inarguably presents a value proposition relative to the big guys. Your full market context here: a dozen PXG Xtreme golf balls is $15 less than the new Pro V1, $13 less than the TaylorMade TP5 and $10 less than most everyone else.
As I said, that’s likely a big enough discount for some but it might not move the needle for the guys willing to pay $40 for an ionomer cover from a brand they know or the guys spending $25 for a K-Sig double dozen.
My personal feeling is that at $29.99 or less, the PXG Xtreme ball would be disruptive. At $40, price in and of itself probably isn’t reason enough.
PXG Xtreme Golf Ball – Final Thoughts
I can’t promise you the PXG Xtreme golf ball is going to perform “like a gymnast wearing a jet pack getting fired through a howitzer.” Frankly, I’m still trying to unpack that and figure out if that’s a good thing but a urethane ball at $39.99 from a brand with a following will garner some interest.
The PXG Extreme golf ball will be sold through PXG.com, PXG retail locations and Amazon. Shipping through PXG.com will be $7.50 per dozen for orders under $100. Spend more than that and shipping is free.
Again, the retail price is $39.99 ($34.99 for the PXG Heroes program). Available now.
For more information, visit PXG.com.
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