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Michael Block spotted with full set of TaylorMade “Proto” irons at Valhalla

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Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from a piece our Andrew Tursky originally wrote for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report. Head over there for the full article.

On Monday at the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club, Block had a full set of TaylorMade “Proto” irons in the bag.

Block is the first player of many on the PGA TOUR to bag a set of the mysterious “Proto” irons. Rory McIlroy first switched into a “Proto” 4-iron at the Valero Texas Open, and Collin Morikawa followed suit at the 2024 RBC Heritage. Block isn’t using just the 4-iron, though, he’s using a full set to go along with a TaylorMade Stealth UDI driving iron.

Speaking with GolfWRX.com on Monday at the PGA Championship, Block revealed the full backstory.

“I hit a couple super “Proto” irons when I was at the Kingdom (TaylorMade’s fitting facility in Southern California) a couple months ago, and it was a 9-iron that didn’t have any badges or anything on it,” Block said. “I had no idea what it was … It was very similar to what I was using back then, you know, my old MCs, and very similar from the top. I hit it and absolutely loved it. For me to even think about switching irons from the last 11-12 years is crazy.

“I got this set about two weeks ago, and I’m working my way into them. I hit them more solid; it comes off the face more solid. Much higher. I think they’re still slightly too upright for me, so they’re being bent a degree flatter, because they’re going a little too high for me and drawing a little too much. When that starts to happen, I start to drop the club under and compensate too much, so I’m getting them flattened slightly, and I’m going to test them on the range again, and hopefully have them in play on Thursday…

“They go further, and they go higher … that combination is kind of a no-brainer. If I can take a 5-iron from 204 rather than a 4-iron, it’s good on me. It’s going to help me out for sure, especially at a major with the pin locations. Having that height coming in, that descent angle is going to be huge.”

With such new irons in the bag, after using the same irons for over a decade, surely you’d think there will be a bit of a learning curve. Block, however, is finding immediate comfort with the new “Proto” irons.

Head over to PGATour.com for the full article.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: John Daly’s $750 custom irons, and 10 must-see gear photos from the 2024 PGA Championship – GolfWRX

  2. Paulo

    May 14, 2024 at 11:19 pm

    Good to see blocky gets offered these first

    • KB

      May 15, 2024 at 2:23 pm

      the guy is a total douche -bag his 15 minutes are up now

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Equipment

John Daly’s $750 custom irons, and 10 must-see gear photos from the 2024 PGA Championship

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Welcome to the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.

In the last two PGA Championships held at Valhalla, Tiger Woods won in 2000 – when he famously pointed his golf ball into the hole during the historic duel with Bob May – and Rory McIlroy won the 2014 event, basically in the dark on the final hole.

The point is, history shows that Valhalla tends to produce top-tier champions and plenty of drama.

This week at the 2024 PGA Championship, GolfWRX got its first up-close look at what some of the LIV Tour players have in their bags in 2024. We also caught back up with a few PGA Championship legends, such as Rich Beem and John Daly, and we dove into the bags of PGA Sectional qualifiers, too.

In total, we captured 47 different photo galleries this week, including 32 individual What’s In The Bag (WITB) forum threads. Click here to see all of our photos from the event, or continue reading to see my 10 equipment highlights from Valhalla.

1) Brooks Koepka’s new putter

Koepka was previously using a Scotty Cameron T5.5 putter with a slant neck, which he used to win at the beginning of the month in Singapore on the LIV tour. This week, however, he tried a T5.5 with a plumbers neck instead of the slant neck, and it’s immediately going in the bag. According to Scotty Cameron Tour rep Drew Page, Koepka already loved the head, and now finds the plumbers neck a bit more familiar to the blade-style putters he’s used throughout most of his career.

See Koepka’s full WITB here 

2) The lead tape king returns, with putting goggles

Phil Mickelson has always been one of the GOATs when it comes to lead tape usage, so it was no surprise to see his 64-degree custom Callaway wedge slathered with slabs of lead tape on the back.

The big surprise was that lefty was spotted using ProAim putting training goggles on Wednesday during his warm-up session.

The ProAim goggles are helpful to find center lines and ensure proper alignment to the target.

See Phil Mickelson’s full WITB from the 2024 PGA Championship

3) Dobyns’ old-school gamer setup

Speaking of lead tape, check out Matt Dobyn’s old Titleist 718 T-MB irons, which are so loaded with lead tape that the club is nearly unrecognizable.

Respect.

The head professional at Meadow Brook Club is making his sixth start in a PGA Championship, and he’s using a throwback Callaway GBB Epic driver with MOI-boosting lead tape and adjustable weight placements.

As GolfWRX Forum user “InTheBag” pointed out in our Matt Dobyns’ WITB thread, he has the type of setup that makes you want to hide your wallet: “I don’t know Mr. Dobyns, but one look at that bag tells me he can take your money,” writes InTheBag.

Spot on.

4) John Daly’s custom Sub70 irons and wedges

We first saw John Daly using $750 direct-to-consumer Sub70 659-CB irons and TAIII wedges at the 2023 PNC Championship, and he still has them in the bag, but he’s since stepped up the customization on the Sub70 clubs.

Does Daly ever NOT keep things entertaining?

 

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A true showman.

See Daly’s full WITB

5) DJ’s custom putter

Dustin Johnson has always been one to test multiple putters week-to-week, and he has a keen eye for different alignment lines and crowns. This week, he’s opting for a completely gray TaylorMade Spider Tour “T3.0” prototype with a short slant neck.

See the rest of DJ’s WITB from the week here

6) Patrick Reed still rocking GrindWorks irons

Patrick Reed knows his stuff when it comes to equipment, and he’s a prolific tester. Still, however, the GrindWorks PR-101A irons are squarely in the bag after his departure to the LIV tour.

The most notable new addition to Reed’s bag is this Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond 3-wood.

Click here to see Reed’s full WITB from this week

7) Beem’s Scratch set

Rich Beem, who won the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine National, came to the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla with a bag full of Scratch Golf irons, which are loaded with lead tape and equipped with some of the coolest custom ferrules in professional golf.

See Rich Beem’s full WITB here

8) Jon Rahm’s 10-iron

Before going to LIV, Rahm was using a Callaway Apex TCB pitching wedge.

Now, he’s using a Callaway Apex TCB “10 iron.”

He’s also since upgraded to three Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke metalwoods, and fresh stampings on his Jaws Raw wedges. Click here to see Rahm’s full WITB from the 2024 PGA Championship.

9) “Why so serious?”

Tyrrell Hatton, another LIV player in the 2024 PGA Championship field, channels his inner Joker to ask everyone, “Why so serious?

See Hatton’s full WITB here

10) Block’s “Proto” iron, from address

As you probably know by now, Block switched out of his old TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC 2014 irons, and into a full set of TaylorMade’s new “Proto” irons. We’ve already seen the Proto 4-iron in the bags of Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa, but this is our first look at the higher-lofted irons in the set.

Here’s a look at the 7-iron from address:

See what GolfWRX members are saying about the Proto irons in our Forums

And, with that, we say goodbye to Louisville, and the second major championship of the 2024 season. We’ll see you next week at the 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas after a champion has been crowned.

Until then, don’t forget to check out all of our photos from this week at the 2024 PGA Championship!

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Whats in the Bag

Club Junkie WITB, league night week 5: Another L.A.B. putter arises

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We will be one quarter of the way through Thursday night men’s league season after this week. BK played much better last week, so he is hoping to continue that success and post another good score.

Here are the 14 clubs that will hopefully win him some skins!

Driver: PXG 0311 Black Ops (9 degrees, neutral setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X (2024)

3-wood: Cobra Dark Speed LS Titanium (14.5 degrees, set +1)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD IZ-7x

Fairway: Callaway Apex UW (19 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura ATMOS Tour Spec Blue 8 X

Hybrid: PXG 0311 Black Ops 4h (22 degrees, Flat Setting)
Shaft: KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype 85 S

Irons: TaylorMade P770 Phantom Black (5-PW)
Shaft: KBS Tour 120 Stiff

Wedge: PXG Sugar Daddy II (50-13 BP)
Shaft: Nippon Modus3 Tour 120 Stiff

Wedge: PXG Sugar Daddy II (56-13 BP)
Shaft: Nippon Modus3 Tour 120 Stiff

Wedge: PXG Sugar Daddy II (60-13 BP)
Shaft: Nippon Modus3 Tour 120 Stiff

Putter: L.A.B. Mezz.1 Max
Shaft: Accra x L.A.B. White

Ball: Titleist ProV1 Enhanced Alignment

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Whats in the Bag

Jon Rahm WITB 2024 (May)

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Driver: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond (10.5 degrees) Buy here.
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green ATX 75 2.8 TX

3-wood: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond T (High Launch, 16 degrees) Buy here.
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8 X

5-wood: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond T (18 degrees) Buy here.
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8 X

Irons: Callaway Apex UT (21 degrees) Buy here, Callaway Apex Pro (4) Buy here, Callaway Apex TCB (5-10) Buy here.
Shafts: KBS Tour Hybrid Prototype 105 X (21), Project X 6.5 (4-PW)

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Forged (52-10, 56-12) Buy here, Callaway Jaws Raw (60-04C) Buy here.
Shafts: Project X 125 6.5

Putter: Odyssey Ai-One Rossie S Buy here.

Grips: Golf Pride MCC midsize

More photos of Jon Rahm’s WITB in the forums.

More Jon Rahm WITBs

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