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13D AGO

Why Michael Block is switching out of his famous irons at PGA Championship

4 Min Read

Equipment

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    Written by GolfWRX GolfWRX.comGolfWRX.com

    One of the most famous, and valuable, 7-irons in golf might be getting benched for the 2024 PGA Championship.

    In the final round of the 2023 PGA Championship, PGA Professional Michael Block shook up the golf world by recording an ace on the par-3 15th hole on Sunday at Oak Hill Country Club, while playing alongside Rory McIlroy.


    Michael Block dunks it for an ace at the PGA Championship


    Block used a 7-iron to hit the 151-yard shot, but it wasn’t just any 7-iron; it was a TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC from 2014, which was loaded with lead tape. The club garnered so much intrigue that he received multiple money offers, including one for $50K, and multiple requests from museums to display the iron.

    As Block revealed ahead of the 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge a week later, however, the iron wasn’t for sale, because he was going to continue to play with it.

    Well, it appears the decade-old irons are now, finally, being replaced.


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

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

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

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


    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.

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

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

    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.

    “These actually look eerily similar to (my old ones),” Block said. “When I look down, the top line and the offset, which is pretty much all you can see. ... And it’s the exact same shaft, Project X Rifle 6.5. So outside of that, when it comes off, it just feels better than my other set did. I just think that other set was getting the crap beat out of it; I’ve never had them re-grooved, I never re-shafted them, I’ve barely put new grips on them.

    “It’s like a 40-year-old still driving around in the car they had in high school. That’s exactly what I was doing, and I think it’s time to trade it in.”

    As for Block’s old irons…where are they now? Did he sell them for $50K? Are they in a museum somewhere, or hanging up on his wall at home?

    “They’re in my locker, about a hundred yards away from us right now,” Block said, with a laugh.

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