Luxury is a word synonymous with PXG, a company whose high-priced irons, woods, wedges and putters cater to one of golf’s most exclusive segments. Such a discerning audience, however, needs to be brought in by better performance.
When GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons ventured into golf-club manufacturing in 2014, the straight-shooting American entrepreneur gave a clear design brief to his engineers: make ’em sexy.
“Sexy is subjective, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I wanted the clubs to beckon to you when you looked at them,” Parsons recalls in an interview with Golf Digest. “I wanted you to fall in love. I wanted the irons to look like a blade but be a little oversized with a sweet spot the size of Texas. I wanted them to go higher and farther without goosing the lofts. My engineers sighed. ‘Is that all? This might take a while.’
“After many false starts, they nailed it.”
Entering the market at a price point that dwarfed most competing brands, PXG – Parsons Xtreme Golf – embarked on a mission to create as much noise as possible in as little time as possible. Making that mission easier was an unlimited budget from the man who made his fortune in the dot.com boom.
The company released high-end clubs that combined player looks with game-improvement feels. It signed up tour players and celebrities to sport its trademark black and white colours. And after spreading its wings in the United States and Europe, Australia was next on its hit-list.
“They contacted us when they first started and sent me some sample clubs to test,” says Paul Jenner, managing director of Pureform Golf, Aussie specialists in custom clubfitting. “To my surprise the gear tested as good as anything out there, but the price point made me reluctant to take on the brand initially. Then they came back and told me they were going to start a huge marketing campaign and it all just ballooned from there. The buzz was huge, tour players were winning with PXG gear and I was convinced the brand had a market Down Under.”
PureForm Golf became the only authorised PXG dealer in Australia and Jenner and his team have been flat out fitting the niche product line to golfers ever since via one of the coolest fitting systems in golf.
“We did a deal with PXG to set up a fitting truck, fully equipped with everything you could possibly imagine and we travel around to clubs hosting fitting days,” Jenner says.
Such a select market tends to lend itself to private clubs in and around our capital cities, but Jenner said it was a no-brainer for those facilities who’ve taken up the opportunity. “We contact clubs, mainly private clubs, and they pre-book in their members and we head out and fit them on-site,” Jenner says. “The club makes 10 per cent on everything we sell – it costs them nothing and they bank a cheque at the end of the day, so it’s a win-win.
“After 12 months with the truck we hit some pretty impressive numbers and quickly became one of PXG’s most successful distributors anywhere in the world.”
So successful has the travelling roadshow been for Jenner that PXG is no longer a once-off sale, rather a weekly ritual. This despite the exorbitant price tag – a full set of the company’s premium clubs will set you back anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000.
However, Jenner said PXG’s new GEN2 range of clubs, released earlier this year, was a more affordable option and smashing performance numbers in testing.
“Testing is showing ball speeds on the new forged irons are quicker than other player irons, meaning you have this golf club that is the softest, best-feeling forged iron with the ball speed and forgiveness of a high-handicapper cast club. You wouldn’t think it would be possible for those two things to come together.”
And true to the line “practice what you preach”, Jenner has thrown the new PXG line straight into his bag.
“I use the 0311 tour irons but the new driver has been the big surprise for me,” he says. “It’s the lowest spinning driver in the market based on our testing.”
With a new “Super Tour” blade hitting our shores shortly, Parson’s global crusade is set to gather more speed.
“I started PXG because I have faith in people’s willingness to buy expensive clubs if the clubs make them even a little better,” adds Parsons. “There’s no point in being modest: they’re making people better.”
They’re making Jenner busier, too.