What’s In The Bag: Padraig Harrington

We review what’s in the bag of Padraig Harrington, the three-time Major champion who is continuing to lift trophies on golf’s senior tour.

JUMP TO: Harrington’s WITB | How Harrington is fitted

Padraig Harrington has been a Wilson Staff player for 25 years having signed with the brand in 1998 and famed for tinkering with his swing and equipment throughout his long and successful career.

Today's Golfer What's In The Bag is brought to you in association with Callaway Chrome Tour and Chrome Tour X golf balls.

In his time with the brand, Harrington has gone on to win three Majors. He lifted the Open Championship at Carnoustie in 2007 and was the last man to successfully defend the title when he won the Claret Jug again at Royal Birkdale in 2008. He then triumphed in the USPGA Championship at Oakland Hills just a few weeks later, which helped him become European Tour Golfer of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year, and PGA Tour Player of the Year.

Padraig Harrington with the Claret Jug, Wanamaker Trophy, the European Tour Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year trophies in 2009.

The Irishman has enjoyed 15 DP World Tour (formerly European Tour) wins in his career, along with six on the PGA Tour and four on the Asian Tour. He also represented Ireland at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where Justin Rose won gold for Team GB.

Harrington, who uses a Wilson bag, irons, and wedges, offers input into all of their new equipment as a brand ambassador. While he is a Wilson player, Harrington also uses a Titleist driver and ball, TaylorMade woods and wedge, and an Odyssey putter.

“Padraig has been a great ambassador for Wilson and the success he’s enjoyed with our clubs over the past 25 seasons has been exceptional,” said Tim Clarke, President of Wilson Golf.

Padraig Harrington poses with the Claret Jug and his Wilson Staff golf clubs outside the brand's tour truck at Royal Birkdale in 2008.

The 51-year-old, who will be elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2024, is proof that age is just a number as he averaged 308.7 yards in driver distance last year.

Harrington made his PGA Tour Champions debut in 2022 and quickly made his mark, finishing second to Steve Stricker on his first Major start at the Tradition, before beating the American in a playoff to lift he US Senior Open later the same year.

Another four PGA Tour Champions wins have followed and Harrington, who was named PGA Tour Champions Rookie of the Year for 2022, narrowly missed out on his second senior Major with a playoff defeat to Stricker at the 2023 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. He currently sits second in the Senior World Rankings.

Padraig Harrington won the US Senior Open in 2022.

The Irishman remains competitive on the normal tours, too, and made the cut in the three men’s Majors he qualified for in 2023. He’s ranked 183rd in the world and has a career-high of 3rd, spending 300 weeks in the top 10 between 2001 and 2010.

Harrington’s form has even seen suggestions that he could get a pick from Luke Donald for Europe’s Ryder Cup team that will face the USA at Marco Simone Golf Club in Italy at the end of September. It would be Harrington’s seventh Ryder Cup appearance, with four wins from his previous six matches. He also captained the side in the defeat at Whistling Straits in 2021.

What driver does Padraig Harrington use?

<meta charset="utf-8">9º; Fujikura Ventus 7x shaft; Grip Master Leather Perforated grip

Rrp: $599.99

Price: $449.98
Alternative Retailers
DICK'S Sporting Goods
Shaft Ventus 7x
Grip Grip Master Leather Perforated

What fairway woods does Padraig Harrington use?

3W – 15º, 5W – 18º; Project X Hzrdus 2.7 TX stiff shafts; Golf Pride MCC grips

Price: £299 / $349.99
Lofts 15º, 18º
Shafts Project X Hzrdus 2.7 TX Stiff
Grips Golf Pride MCC

What utility iron does Padraig Harrington use?

4-iron; Accra Tour Z X Hybrid M5 shaft; Grip Master Leather Perforated Grip

Loft 4-iron
Shaft Accra Tour Z X Hybrid M5
Grip Grip Master Leather Perforated

What irons does Padraig Harrington use?

6-PW; KBS Tour-V 125 TX shafts; Golf Pride MCC grips

Price: £1,050 / $1,098
Lofts 6-PW
Shafts KBS Tour-V 125 TX
Grips Golf Pride MCC

What wedges does Padraig Harrington use?

52º loft / 8º bounce; KBS Tour-V 120 TX shaft; Golf Pride MCC grip

Rrp: $139.99

Price: $99.98
Alternative Retailers
Loft 52º
Shaft KBS Tour-V 120 TX
Grip Golf Pride MCC

58º loft / 9º bounce; KBS Tour-V 120 TX shaft; Golf Pride MCC Grips

Price: £149.99 / 149.99
Loft 58º
Shaft KBS Tour-V 120 TX shaft
Grip Golf Pride MCC

64º loft / 10º bounce; KBS Tour-V 120 TX shaft; Golf Pride MCC grip

Loft 64º
Bounce 10º
Shaft KBS Tour-V 120 TX Shaft
Grip Golf Pride MCC

What putter does Padraig Harrington use?

Odyssey Stroke Lab Shaft; SuperStroke Pistol Grip 2.0 GT grip

Price: £219 / 229.99
Shaft Odyssey Stroke Lab
Grip SuperStroke Pistol Grip 2.0 GT

What golf ball does Padraig Harrington use?

The No.1 ball in golf

Colour White
Layers Three-piece
Cover Cast urethane elastomer

What shoes does Padraig Harrington wear?

Harrington is a long-time wearer of the No.1 shoe brand in golf

Price: £169.99 / $149.99
See how the Alpha compares in our guide to the best FootJoy golf shoes.
Spiked/Spikeless Spiked
Waterproof Yes

What it’s like to work with Padraig Harrington

2023 marks Harrington’s 25th year on tour, throughout which time the Irishman has dedicated himself to playing Wilson equipment. Harrington’s closest club fitter and builder, European Tour Rep Phil Bonham, has been at his side for 20+ years over the last quarter century, and explains how the brand have worked with the 43-time tour winner to ensure he always has the right Wilson gear in his bag.

Bonham on Padraig Harrington’s woods

When Padraig won the Open he played a Wilson driver. It was a Dd6+ driver, which had a glued head, it was powerful but we wanted to make sure we had some low lofted heads for him at the Open at Carnoustie. I turned up with three or four 7° Dd6+ heads, plus one at 8° and a further at 8.4°.

After playing the first round with one of the 7° drivers he switched to the 8.4° set-up for the rest of the tournament. It gave him a lovely ball flight with his favorite maroon-colored Grafalloy ProLite 35 X shaft, it was really consistent for him. He used that same driver for back-to-back Open wins in 2007 and 2008.

His deep face Wilson Staff FWs 5-wood did the job of a 3-wood.

In 2007 and 2008 when Padraig won his majors he only carried a 5-wood, as 3-woods at the time went too far for him. He absolutely ripped that 5-wood, it was the club he hit into the par 5 17th at Royal Birkdale in 2008 to set up the eagle and second Open victory. The model had a deeper, bulkier face which made it easier to shape.

He used to be a big hybrid fan, but driver, 3-wood, 5-wood is his most regular set-up today.

He had an FG Tour V4 utility 4-iron (with 22º loft) for five years, it was his favorite iron. The shaft was all worn and the head battered, but he loved how its wider sole made it so playable. He’s now testing the new Staff Model utility at the same loft. Sometimes he uses a strong lofted four wood, but it has to have a deeper face so he can shape shots, rather than a wider body that’s easier to launch high but hard to work.

We’re getting to the point at Wilson again where we don’t need to dial heads designed for club golfers into a tour pro’s game. 

When Padraig won his last Major in 2008 he was playing a Wilson driver and fairway woods, since then our woods have been more tailored to club golfers. It means heads sit a fraction closed (to control a slice), so I need to search through hundreds of heads trying to find one that sits a fraction open just for him. Our 2023 Dynapower woods, though, are very usable for tour players. He’s been testing a new carbon crown Staff Model fairway recently, which is likely to be adopted next.

Sometimes hybrids just go too far.

Thanks to the wider sole Padraig gets similar launch, spin and peak height with his utility 4-iron as he got from a hybrid, so he has zero problems stopping shots on long par 3s. Part of the problem with hybrids can be just too much distance. I remember asking him how far he hits his 4-utility and he replied “How far do you want me to hit it?”. That’s how confident he is with it. He can hit it 260 yards if he really needs to.     

He’s always been ripped but after the Co-Vid break, like a lot of us, he’d put on a little weight.

I asked him what he’d been eating, he replied “anything I can get my hands on.” Somebody had told him you need mass to produce speed, it was a physics thing. Since then even though he’s really fit he’s kept that little bit of mass. Today he swings it faster than when he was winning Majors. Even at 52, he’s hitting driver 329 yards and we have younger guys on tour who can’t do that.

Padraig Harrington and caddie Ronan Flood.

Bonham on Padraig’s irons

He’s the type of player who doesn’t mind what equipment looks like, how it performs is absolutely everything.

Where other players might say they can’t use shiny irons as they glare too much, Padraig will use anything as long as the equipment performs. He went from our polished FG Tour V6 irons to the Staff Model CBs, before our US team sent me some raw, un-plated CB heads which he now uses.

The FG Tours had real flat soles, with barely any bounce, they really dug into the turf, which some players really liked. The raw CBs rust a lot, some players feel that gives more grip on the ball and additional spin, it’s the first time Padraig has played raw unfinished irons.

Every week he used to travel with 29 clubs.

Wherever he went he’d want every option with him so he was fully prepared, he would suss out which of the 29 clubs he needed depending on the course, the weather, as well as the rough and sand. Depending on which shots the course asked him to hit, was how he built his bag each week.

I see other guys out on tour who don’t like to practice and I’m like ‘have a look at the success that Padraig has had!’ There’s a reason why he’s been so successful and he has a reason for doing everything.

He’d call me after picking up someone else’s clubs and want to know what each shaft was like.  

When we first started working together he used Rifle Flighted shafts, but they stopped being made when the company was sold to True Temper. He won his Open Championships with those shafts, the kick point got progressively lower as the clubs got longer. He got a good penetrating ball flight from them and loved how shots weren’t high or spinny.

It wasn’t until a Wilson colleague went to work for KBS in the USA that we moved him over to KBS Tour V 125 shafts. The model spins a little less, he’s played that shaft ever since, with him playing well there’s no need to explore further options.

Player contracts are changing.

When Padraig was winning Majors Wilson’s contracts specified players had to use eight or nine of the company’s irons, so there was plenty of space for experimentation with woods, wedges and putter. We’re closing down on that today. The company has better offerings, and having a great golf ball is changing perceptions and the mentality of players towards Wilson.

I tell other players to take a leaf out of Padraig’s book. Right now he’s using three Wilson wedges, a Wilson utility iron and a set of Wilson irons, plus we’re confident he will put at least one wood into play too. When it comes to renegotiating contracts that’s much more powerful than just playing 8 irons because you have to. Padraig’s attitude is always if you can make clubs good enough I’ll play them, even if that means playing 14 Wilson bats.

He turned 50 and went back to scary eyes Padraig.

After winning his third Major, it was like his career was done, he’d achieved everything he set out to do. It wasn’t quite a don’t care attitude, but things felt like they meant a little less to him, thanks to having everything he’d ever wanted already under his belt.

Since he’s turned 50 and seen big success on the Champions Tour he’s totally refocused, he’s now deadly serious and back in the game.

Harrington is a prolific practiser.

Bonham on Padraig’s wedges

He gets new wedges every time I see him.

Padraig plays more in the USA now than he ever has, so I only get to see him at 5 or 6 events in Europe each year. Every time I do, he always wants new wedges with fresh grooves.

We’ve done quite a bit of work with him, so he has wedge options. His typical set-up is a Wilson Staff Model 52° wedge with the higher toe HT 58° and 60°. He’s just started experimenting with a 64° option, thanks to the type of grass and how it’s mown in the USA.   

The logic applied to golf grips doesn’t work with Padraig.         

Many people will tell you if you have small hands you shouldn’t use bigger-sized grips as you’re likely to have issues squaring the face at impact and loose shots right of the target. But Padraig loves the feel of very thin grips, yet his natural miss is left. So, effectively logic says he should be using bigger grips. He likes his grips to be very open, then how he delivers the club at impact squares the face to the target.

Nobody else has their grips installed like this.

Padraig uses leather Grip Master grips from Australia and he loves how they’re so tacky they almost stick to his hands. They’re expensive and he goes through a lot.

He hates tape underneath (as that gives a bigger feel), so we put an inch of tape at the top of the shaft, which along with lots of solvent is just enough to get the grip on and secure it. The grip is leather and wound with a pronounced rib down the back.

Bonham on Padraig’s putter

I went to Halfords to get some car body filler, it was a good idea at the time, but god it looked awful. 

Padraig is most famous for using an Odyssey 2-Ball blade putter, but he has used Wilson models too. When we first launched the Infinite family I had a center shaft mallet on the truck and he asked if it was for him. Of course, I said if he wanted it, he could have it.

He didn’t like the three white lines on the back, so I filled them along with the cavity back that evening using car body filler I’d got from Halfords. The guys on the Callaway truck lent me some matt black spray paint, six coats later it looked dreadful. He didn’t care what it looked like though, so long as it worked. He played the putter for two years and won the Honda Classic with it.

Phil Bonham working on the Wilson truck.

Bonham on Bonham

I’ve been at Wilson 23 years, I started out driving the demo/fitting truck 280,000 miles around Europe.

Padraig has been with Wilson a fraction longer than me, I was originally employed to drive the demo truck around Europe and build the sets golfers had been fitted for at demo days. My appointment was primarily because I spoke five languages. I went into Russia and Finland and every country you can think of across Europe in that truck.

After two-and-a-half years on the road, I made the transition over to the tour workshop. That wasn’t before the gearbox failed and I had to drive the demo truck hundreds of miles in second gear doing just 25mph all the way back to our German HQ. The truck is now used as a kebab van in Romania.

WITB Bernhard Langer

About the Author

Rob Jerram is Today's Golfer's Digital Editor.

Rob Jerram – Digital Editor

Rob specializes in the DP World Tour, PGA Tour, LIV Golf, and the Ryder Cup, spending large chunks of his days reading about, writing about, and watching the tours each month.

He’s passionate about the equipment used by professional golfers and is also a font of knowledge when it comes to golf balls, golf trolleys, and golf bags, testing thousands down the years.

During his 13 years in the golf industry, Rob has interviewed and played golf with some of the biggest names in the game, including Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie, and Rick Shiels. He’s traveled the world attending product launches and golf events and reported at a host of tour events, along with The Open and Ryder Cup.

He has been playing golf for almost three decades and is a member at Greetham Valley in Rutland and Spalding Golf Club in Lincolnshire, playing off a 9.7 handicap.

Rob uses a Callaway Paradym driverTaylorMade M5 5-woodTaylorMade P790 driving ironCallaway Paradym irons (4-AW), TaylorMade MG3 wedges (52º, 58º), Odyssey Tri-Hot 5k Double Wide putter, and Callaway Chrome Soft X golf ball.

You can email Rob or get in touch with him on Twitter.

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