Justin Thomas’ latest gear change could prove useful at the Masters

titleist t200

Titleist's T200 earned a spot in Thomas' equipment setup.

Jonathan Wall/GOLF

Justin Thomas has very little in common with the average mid-handicapper. One is a two-time major champion in the field at the Masters. The other is trying to break 90 consistently and will be glued to the couch watching the pageantry from Augusta National on their television.

On the gear front, the similarity gap continues to widen when you realize Thomas plays a set of custom Titleist 621.JT blades built to his exact specifications. It’s just another reminder that pros get all the good (and less forgiving) stuff. Or at least that’s the story we tell ourselves.

In actuality, even Thomas seeks out gear to mitigate common misses, just like weekend golfers. And we’re talking about gear golfer can pick up at their local golf shop.

justin thomas t200 irons
Thomas photographed with Titleist’s T200 at the Valspar Championship. Getty Images

While his iron setup still features four JT blades, Thomas has continued to embrace forgiveness at the top, most recently with the addition of a T100 4-iron at the 2023 U.S. Open. Indeed, JT is just like us, continually searching for mishit protection with some of the trickier clubs in the bag.

Thomas saw an improvement in 4-iron performance since moving to T100, which led him to consider another major shakeup: “I think I might even need a little help on the 5-iron.”

Following the Players Championship, Thomas linked up with JJ Van Wezenbeeck, Titleist’s director of player promotions, to conduct head-to-head 5-iron testing between his 621.JT and T100. It didn’t take Thomas long to notice a few key benefits of the cavity-back T100.

Titleist T200 Custom Irons

The Tour-proven player’s distance iron, with the ideal shape, performance, and dramatically enhanced feel. With the new T200, distance has never felt so good. Built with a forged face, hollow-body construction and shaped by Tour technologies, it delivers incredible launch and forgiveness in a pure player’s design. T200 represents a dramatic leap forward in feel. The entire internal construction of this forged-face iron has been reengineered – with a more stable chassis, refined Max Impact Technology and a new dual taper face – to deliver maximum speed with Tour-level feel. ENHANCED FEEL Every component of T200 contributes to its solid feel. The reengineered chassis creates a stiffer structure, while allowing the refined Max Impact Technology to fit tighter against the new dual taper forged face. This leads to better feel and performance across the entire surface. CLEAN AND CONFIDENT SHAPE For all that has changed, the Tour-inspired shape of T200 remains consistent. Players will still draw confidence from a distance iron that looks clean and has less offset, with an optimal blade length and topline thickness based on player feedback. EFFORTLESS TURF INTERACTION Working with Tour Pros as well as the grind experts at Vokey Design, our engineers were able to further improve our Variable Bounce Sole by softening the trail edge to allow the club to flow faster through the turf, even after contact. Developed for T100, it brings a Tour touch to T200. BETTER TUNGSTEN FOR BETTER SCORING By utilizing dense D18 tungsten and a 2000º aerospace brazing process, Titleist engineers can eliminate weld points and shift CG more precisely to optimize every club in the set – from fast, high launching long irons to accurate, forgiving short irons.
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“During testing versus his blade, JT saw an increase in peak height,” Van Wezenbeeck told GOLF.com, “but the thing he really liked with what the iron did to his low miss. That’s what sold him on the idea of making multiple changes.”

With a blade 5-iron in his hands, Thomas expected to lose 7-8 yards on a low miss, a dip that saw him find the “front bunker or front edge” instead of the meatier part of the green. With T100, the carry loss delta on a low miss was around 2-3 yards, a more palatable number for Thomas.

“When he thinned it with T100, his distance barely came down,” said Van Wezenbeeck. “Carry on the 5-iron increased by 2 or 3 yards, which might not seem like much, but it allowed us to push the 4-iron up a little bit.”

A Titleist T100 iron back bar pictured on a golf course
Thomas inserted a Titlesit T100 5-iron. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

With the 5-iron sorted, Thomas and Van Wezenbeeck discussed the idea of adding even more forgiveness and speed in the form of a T200 4-iron. Along with seeing a slight bump in peak height, carry increased by 4 yards to improve the gapping through the set. (Van Wezenbeeck confirmed the T200 4-iron was weakened by a half-degree, but the T100 5-iron remained at 27 degrees.)

“This is the evolution of trajectory for JT,” Van Wezenbeeck said. “When he turned pro, he played a blade 4-iron. Then we moved him into a [cavity-back]. When we went from AP2 to T100, he went to the T100. Now he’s in the T200. He’s slowly moving up the ladder.

“It’s mishit protection and peak height, those are the big things with JT. It’s improved peak height in the 4-iron and 5-iron, so we went up a model in each. The ball speed on the T200 helped improve the gapping for him, and we’re just trying to manage that descent angle from there.”

titleist justin thomas irons
With Justin Thomas’ input, Titleist pursuing the ‘perfect’ iron design
By: Jonathan Wall

During the Valspar Championship, Thomas officially used the T200 4-iron and T100 5-iron in competition. Van Wezenbeeck confirmed he expects the same setup as Thomas prepares to play in his ninth Masters and tackle numerous uneven lies at Augusta National.

“He texted me after Sunday at Valspar and said he hit everything really well,” he said. “I’m not anticipating any changes at Augusta. He’ll check some numbers when he arrives, but he’s confident in that setup. Having easy launch is helpful when you have a downhill lie to a very undulating green.”

For the moment, Thomas doesn’t plan to make any more changes to his iron composition. But if the 5-iron works out in future tournaments? Anything is possible. Just don’t expect Thomas to fully embrace a full set of cavity-back irons.

“He obviously has his custom blades, and there’s a lot he likes about those irons,” Van Wezenbeeck said. “If the 5-iron works out, it could sneak to the 6-iron. But I don’t see it going beyond that. We’ve seen other guys we work with creep down into player’s irons. You can make it look really good, feel really good and improve the flight. At that point, they’re more open to it as it moves down their bag.”

And if the iron setup helps Thomas get in the mix for a green jacket, even better.

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Jonathan Wall

Golf.com Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour. He can be reached at jonathan.wall@golf.com.