Equipment

How Peter Malnati's forward-thinking approach to his equipment led to winning again on the PGA Tour

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Julio Aguilar

The equipment team at Golf Digest is relentless in its position that if you don’t get fit for your clubs you are likely doing your game a huge disservice. Part of that process, along with getting the proper shaft, length, lie angle, etc., is getting the right 14 clubs in your bag.

A common mistake everyday players make is thinking of their clubs as a “set.” Instead, a better approach is to think of them as 14 individual clubs, each suited to perform a specific task. It is a mindset that contributed mightily to Peter Malnati’s win at the Valspar Championship.

How’s that, you say? Turns out there’s a backstory to the 5-iron Malnati struck at the 17th Sunday at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course that led to the birdie that thrust him into the lead for good.

Malnati uses a blended set of Titleist irons—a T200 4-iron, T150 5-iron, T100 in the 6- through 9-irons with True Temper AMT Tour White S400 shafts. He also uses a Vokey SM10 48-degree wedge as his pitching wedge.

Tied for the lead on the 198-yard par 3, Malnati used his T150 5-iron, staked his tee shot to 6 feet, 2 inches and converted the birdie to go up one shot with one to play. Malnati’s T150 5-iron was a new addition to his bag this season that he first put it in play at the Sony Open seeking more height and forgiveness.

“I’ve played a T200 4-iron for several generations, and that’s a great transition for me because it’s a little bit more forgiving, but just easy height,” he said. “I was like, if the 150 is kind of in the middle, would that be a nice transition to go to that in the 5-iron? So J.J. [Van Wezenbeeck, Titleist Director of Player Promotions] sent me one, just purely experimental, but instantly, my carry distance was the same, but launch was a little higher and height was a little higher. I can easily make it go lower if I need to, but I can't necessarily easily make it go higher if I need to. So that club, having the same look and feel as my [T100] 5-iron, but just launching it a little higher without losing any speed or carry distance seemed like a no brainer.”

Said Malnati of his Sunday 5-iron at 17: “I remember telling my caddie I needed to make a 2—I needed to hit it 208. And 208 is a pretty big 5-iron for me, but in the situation I was in, it was just a very normal 5-iron. ... But that was really fun in that moment to just step up, not overthink it, just it's a full 5-iron at the TV tower, go. And to watch that ball fly was a really cool feeling, to have it like tracking the hole there, that was really nice.”

Titleist T150
$200 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$200 per iron

The secret sauce that makes this players iron pack plenty of power is not just stronger lofts than the Titleist T100. A channel behind the face adds the kind of extra zip that is sure to excite better recreational players. Sacrificing feel and forgiveness, however, was not an option: The use of dense tungsten and a slightly thicker topline and sole bolster stability. Also, the lower portion of the face is a shade thicker than the T100 to enhance feel.

More on this club

Think about your clubs like Malnati does and you might have more nice moments as well.