[PHOTO: Ronald Martinez]

As he continues his comeback from back surgery, Will Zalatoris has made some equipment changes for 2024. Chief among them are new, more forgiving irons, including a true game-improvement 3-iron that Zalatoris calls his favourite club in the bag.

The bulk of Zalatoris’ iron set is Titleist’s new T150 iron, which he switched to at the Sony Open in Hawaii from the T100s he had been playing.

“When I first tried [the T150], shocker, professional golfers don’t hit perfect golf shots all day long,” Zalatoris told Titleist. “I would hit one barely on the heel, barely on the toe and I’m thinking, Oh, I must’ve lost seven, eight yards on that. And it was going the same distance as when I hit it solid. And so, getting that feedback was amazing for me.”

Will Zalatoris makes hole-in-one at Genesis Invitational, wins car for himself and his caddie(!)

Performance when Zalatoris finds himself in less than ideal spots off the tee also was key. “I always check with irons how they perform out of the rough,” Zalatoris noted. “Because if I’ve got a little too much camber out of there [on the sole], I might catch flyers all day long. I know it’s cool to hit a pitching wedge 190 yards, but it’s not cool when you’re trying to hit it 150.”

But it was Zalatoris’ switch to the Titleist T350 game-improvement 3-iron with a Nippon Modus 3 graphite on steel prototype .370 hybrid 10 ST X shaft that is perhaps the most intriguing – if not unexpected. Here’s how Zalatoris worked his way into the club:

“When all of us were together in LA testing it [last year], we were just kind of goofing around,” he said. “I was thinking, Man, this thing looks awesome. And so, I started hitting some balls out of the rough, started hitting them out of the fairway. I remember Max [Homa] and I spent 20 minutes with this thing, and we were like, ‘This thing is awesome.’ It’s like, ‘Yeah, I have a game-improvement iron in my bag.’ So what? I love that thing. It’s my favourite club in the bag.”

https://www.golfdigest.com/content/dam/images/golfdigest/fullset/2020/08/Zalatoris 3 iron.jpeg
Will Zalatoris’ Titleist T350 3-iron.

It’s taken a little while for Zalatoris to feel comfortable again on the PGA Tour, but last week’s start at the Genesis Invitational, his fourth of 2024, was his best as he rallied with a closing 69 at Riviera Country Club to finish T-2.

Meanwhile, Zalatoris’ affinity for a more forgiving long iron is the continuation of a trend on tour in recent years as utility irons and game-improvement or players-distance-type irons have found their way into more than half the bags on tour. Not only do these clubs mitigate the effects of off-centre hits, but the typically lower centres of gravity achieve more height, which is ideal for an iron approach shot coming in from long range to a firm green.

The takeaway for everyday players is this: when looking at your set of irons, consider swapping your longest iron out for one in the next more forgiving category of iron. Like Zalatoris, it might become your favourite club in the bag.