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

Michael Block's 2023 Ace and Famous 7-Iron

Michael Block made headlines during the 2023 PGA Championship with a stunning ace on the par-3 15th hole at Oak Hill Country Club, using a 7-iron from his trusty TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC set from 2014. This shot, played alongside Rory McIlroy, catapulted Block into the spotlight, with multiple offers to buy the iconic 7-iron, including one for $50,000. Despite the offers, Block decided to keep using his beloved irons.

Switching to TaylorMade "Proto" Irons

Now, as he prepares for the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club, Block has made a significant equipment change, replacing his decade-old irons with a full set of TaylorMade “Proto” irons. Block isn't the first to adopt the "Proto" irons; both Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa have integrated them into their bags in recent tournaments. However, unlike his peers, Block has opted for a complete set, including a TaylorMade Stealth UDI driving iron.

The Transition to New Equipment

Block's transition to the "Proto" irons began at TaylorMade's fitting facility, the Kingdom, in Southern California. After testing a 9-iron that impressed him with its performance and feel, he decided to switch from his long-used TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC irons. Block noted the similarities between the new "Proto" irons and his old set, particularly in the top line and offset, which helped ease the transition.

Performance Benefits of the "Proto" Irons

The new irons offered immediate benefits:

  • Improved Distance and Height: Block found that the new irons produced more solid contact, higher trajectory, and greater distance. This is particularly advantageous in major tournaments where approach shots require precision and height to navigate tricky pin locations.
  • Custom Adjustments: To optimize performance, Block had the irons bent a degree flatter to correct a tendency for shots to draw too much and fly too high. This fine-tuning ensures he can maintain control and consistency on the course.

Block's Confidence in His New Setup

Despite the significant change, Block feels confident with his new equipment. The similarity in look and feel to his old set, combined with the enhanced performance, has minimized the learning curve. The familiar Project X Rifle 6.5 shafts also contribute to his comfort with the new irons.

Future of the Famous 7-Iron

As for the iconic 7-iron that made history at Oak Hill, it remains in Block’s possession. Rather than selling it or donating it to a museum, Block keeps the club in his locker, a reminder of his memorable ace and the excitement it generated.


Michael Block's switch to the TaylorMade "Proto" irons represents a significant but well-considered change aimed at enhancing his performance in major tournaments. With the new irons' improved distance, height, and custom adjustments, Block is ready to tackle Valhalla Golf Club and continue building on his impressive PGA Championship legacy.