Champions’ Choice: The Most Used Irons on the Champions Tour (2024)

Golfing Focus infographic of most used irons on the Champions Tour

Having looked previously at the iron choices of the top pros on the PGA and LPGA Tours this time we wanted to focus our analytical lens on the irons used by the best pros on the Champions Tour.

Given approach shots account for 40% of the scoring advantage between different standards of golfer according to the stats gurus we were intrigued to know what irons the senior pros entrust with the most critical part of the game.

PING models are the most used irons on the Champions Tour with Miguel Angel Jiménez and Jeff Maggert among those choosing them. Callaway irons are the next most played including by 2023 Money List winner Steve Stricker. Titleist and Srixon irons are the third most popular and the most common iron set-up is 4-iron to PW.

The most common set up of 4-iron to pitching wedge matched what we found in the preferences of the top 100 pros on the PGA Tour but beyond the makes and models which we cover below we also discovered whether the top senior pros were mixing their iron sets up in line with the trend we found on the main Tour.

And not only that.

We also went on to do additional research on how much the iron choices of the Champions Tour were impacted by sponsorship deals.

Srixon ZX7 7-iron. The Most Popular Iron on the Champions Tour
Srixon’s ZX7 irons are the most used irons we found on the Champions Tour. Check them out at the PGA Tour Superstore

Unveiling the Most Popular Irons on the Champions Tour

The iron options available to regular golfers these days, never mind to the professional ranks, are huge.

And that’s before we get to the hybrid and driving/utility iron choices which can mean the ‘standard’ set of irons for some senior pros begins with a 5-iron or even a 6-iron which we found with the two of the great – Ernie Els and John Daly.

Unfortunately the data available on the iron choices of the top Champions Tour pros is not as extensive as it is on the main Tour but despite this we were still able to find information on the iron choices of 50 senior pros out of the top 100 to help us discover what the most popular irons on the Champions Tour are.

Srixon’s ZX7 irons are the most popular irons on the Champions Tour with 12% of the senior pros analysed using them, including Ernie Els. Titleist’s T100 irons are chosen by 12% with Callaway’s X Forged irons the next most popular with 8% playing them. Tour Edge’s Exotics Pro 723 irons are that brand’s most used model.

In total our analysis found 30 different models of irons being played by the Champions Tour pros across 10 different manufacturers.

While this fact, combined with our overall analysis, showed the top senior pros to be very much like their main Tour colleagues in terms of their consistent tinkering with the irons that they play what was also interesting to note was the prevalence of iron brands which don’t feature on the PGA Tour.

Tour Edge and Mizuno irons for example were more prevalent in the club data we analysed on the Champions Tour compared to the PGA Tour. In addition we found TaylorMade irons to be far less popular on the Senior Tour when again compared with the main Tour.

And this in turn brings us on to the issue of sponsorships and how much that affects the iron choices made by the top senior pros.

It obviously does and as such we hesitated somewhat when describing various irons as the ‘most popular’ as opposed to the ‘most used’.

Once again the data available on the Champions Tour pros is not as extensive but we were still able to discover that at least 64% of the 50 senior pros we researched are playing the irons made by one of their manufacturer sponsors.

This percentage is in all likelihood to be higher however it was refreshing to see some outliers.

2023 Champions Tour winner Steve Stricker for example chooses to play Callaway’s Apex Pro ’19 irons despite his sponsorship deal with Callaway only including an obligation to use their Odyssey putters according to Golf Digest.

With his use of six different brands of clubs in his bag Champions Tour legend Bernhard Langer also does not appear to let endorsements impact all of his club choices.

Having signed a multi-year equipment deal with Tour Edge in 2021 he does currently play a mixed set of Exotics CBX Forged and Exotics Pro 723 irons produced by that manufacturer.

But he also had six other manufacturers clubs in his bag including PING, TaylorMade, Adams, Cleveland, Titleist and a Callaway Odyssey putter.

Ex-Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman meanwhile still appears to put a combination of old TaylorMade irons – Burner and TP MC Forged 11 models – in play despite his headline sponsorship deal with Tour Edge.

And although he has been with Bridgestone since 2006 it was fun to find Fred Couples still playing with the dual pocket cavity irons he’s been using a version of since 2010.

A full breakdown of the irons we discovered used by the top senior pros on the Champions Tour is listed below.

BRAND OF IRONS% OF CHAMPIONS TOUR PROS USING BRANDMOST USED IRON MODEL(S)
PING28%

(inc. Miguel Angel Jiménez, Y.E. Yang, Ken Tanigawa, Kevin Sutherland, Jeff Maggert, Scott McCarron, Stewart Cink, Rocco Mediate, Chris DiMarco, John Daly)
i230

iBlade
Callaway20%

(inc. Steve Stricker, Alex Cejka, Rod Pampling, Retief Goosen, Justin Leonard, Lee Janzen, Stuart Appleby, David Duval, Jim Furyk)
Apex TCB

X Forged
Titleist14%

(inc. Brett Quigley, Dicky Pride, Billy Andrade, Rob Labritz, Tim O’Neal, Davis Love III)
T100
Srixon14%

(inc. Ernie Els, David Toms, Jerry Kelly, K.J.Choi, Joe Durant, Steve Flesch, Woody Austin)
ZX7
Tour Edge8%

(inc. Bernhard Langer, Ken Duke, Mike Weir, Tim Petrovic)
Exotics EXS Pro
Mizuno6%

(inc. Vijay Singh, Brian Gay, Esteban Toledo)
Pro 221
TaylorMade4%

(inc. Darren Clarke, Tom Lehman)
P7MC
Wilson2%

(inc. Padraig Harrington)
Staff Model CB
Bridgestone2%

(inc. Fred Couples)
J15
New Level2%

(inc. Steven Alker)
623-CB
[Note – Available data of 50 of the top 100 PGA Champions Tour pros on the money list at the end of the 2023 season.]

Do Champions Tour Pros Use Cavity Back Irons?

The topic of blades versus cavity backs generates a lot of attention amongst regular golfers as many remain convinced blades are not only what all good golfers should be using but also that they are good for golfers of all standards to help them improve their ball striking abilities.

So when it comes to the best pros on the Champions Tour we were keen to discover where they stood on the issue.

Among the 50 senior pros for which irons information was available our analysis however only found 3 of them use blades.

Miguel Angel Jiménez uses a set of PING Blueprint T blade irons from 4-iron to pitching wedge while Vijay Singh chooses Mizuno Pro 221 models for his blade irons starting at a 5-iron.

The other blade player on the Senior Tour – John Daly – also uses PING Blueprint blade irons but only for his 6-iron to 9-iron as he compliments them with three PING G430 hybrids – a 17º 2 hybrid, a 2º 4H and a 26º 5 hybrid club.

So the vast majority of the Champions Tour pros we researched are clearly settled on their preferences for cavity backs over blades.

And as we have seen even among the pros who do use blades only Jiménez uses a full set of them.

Golfing Focus infographic of the percentage of cavity back and blade irons used on the Champions Tour compared to the PGA Tour

That being said the remainder of the best senior pros showed a clear preference for ‘Players Golf Irons’ which while not quite as small and thin as blades are not far off, although this category of irons does still offer a little more forgiveness based on them having some type of cavity back.

That being said they are also targeted at low handicap and elite golfers and therefore while Champions Tour pros use cavity back irons in the main we found them almost always to be in the ‘Players’ category.

There were some notable exceptions however among the pros who opted for a mixed set of irons comprising more than one model.

For example, our detailed analysis found Rob Labritz, Tim O’Neal, Davis Love III and Brian Gay all to be choosing a ‘Players Distance Iron’ – a model another step up on the forgiveness ladder and designed for golfers with handicaps up to the low double digits – for their long irons.

The first three in this small group chose Titleist T200 irons for their long 3 and 4-irons but also up to a 7-iron in Rob Labritz’s case.

And we also even found top 10 Champions Tour-ranked Alex Cejka with a mid-handicapper Callaway X-22 3-iron in his bag!

So although the senior pros we analysed most frequently chose the least forgiving category of cavity back irons for their bags we found some willing to embrace the benefits of the much more forgiving irons millions of regular golfers use.

What we didn’t see as much as we did in our analysis of the irons choices of the top pros on the PGA Tour though was the top senior pros opting for a ‘mixed set’ of irons where they put more than one iron model in their bag.

On the PGA Tour our research discovered 42% of the top 100 PGA Tour pros opting for a ‘mixed set’ of irons but on the Champions Tour by comparison we found only 14% of the Champions Tour pros preferring a mixed iron set.

Whether the Champions Tour pros will follow their main Tour colleagues in this increasing trend in future years remains to be seen but for now they seem happy with sticking with one iron model for their iron set when you take ‘driving’ or ‘utility’ irons out of the equation.

TYPE OF IRONS% OF CHAMPIONS TOUR PROSSELECTED PLAYERS
Blades6%– Miguel Angel Jiménez (4-iron to PW)
– Vijay Singh (5-iron to PW)
– John Daly (6-iron to 9-iron)
Cavity Backs94%Steve Stricker, Steven Alker, Bernhard Langer, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, David Toms, Jerry Kelly, Alex Cejka, Y.E Yang, K.J Choi, Joe Durant, Darren Clarke, Retief Goosen, Justin Leonard, Billy Andrade, Lee Janzen, Mike Weir, Jeff Maggert, Stewart Cink, Stuart Appleby, Fred Couples, Chris DiMarco, David Duval, Jim Furyk, Tom Lehman, Davis Love
[Note – Available data of 50 of the top 100 PGA Champions Tour pros on the money list at the end of the 2023 season.]

Top 10 Most Popular Irons on the Champions Tour

As we have already noted our analysis of the 50 Champions Tour pros for which data was available found 30 different models of irons made by 10 different manufacturers being played.

Regular players often want to know which pros are using the same irons as them, or which ones are using the latest Titleist or TaylorMade or Callaway models.

We don’t list all the 30 different iron models here but to satisfy some of that curiosity we have listed below what we discovered to be the top 10 most popular irons on the Champions Tour.

The percentage of senior pros using these irons is included in brackets together with notable users of the model.

  1. Srixon ZX7 – (14%) Played by Ernie Els
  2. Titleist T100 – (12%) Played by Brett Quigley
  3. Callaway X Forged – (8%) Played by Retief Goosen
  4. PING i230 – (6%) Played by Y.E.Yang
  5. Callaway Apex TCB – (6%) Played by Justin Leonard
  6. PING i210 – (6%) Played by Stewart Cink
  7. PING iBlade – (6%) Played by Kevin Sutherland
  8. Tour Edge Exotics Pro 723 – (4%) Played by Bernhard Langer
  9. PING S55 – (4%) Played by Jeff Maggert
  10. Callaway Apex Pro ’19 – (4%) Played by Brett Quigley

[Note – Just so you know, and we are upfront as an affiliate program participant, Golfing Focus, at no cost to you, earns from qualifying purchases made through links on this page.]

Before you go …

Having found out all about the iron choices of the best senior pros on the Champions Tour you may be curious to also discover what the best pros on the LPGA Tour are using.

Read our next article to find out what irons the top women pros in the world are choosing with their near identical swingspeeds to the average male amateur golfer!

What Irons Do LPGA Players Use?

Other top articles related to this topic:

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