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


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
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.