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The many merits of the longest iron

The fact that only about one-third of the players on the pro tour carry a one-iron in their bags need not discourage many amateurs from doing so. If you are strong enough to hit two- and three-irons consistently well (in other words, able to hit down on the ball with a shallow-faced club hard enough to get it into the air) you should certainly consider the one-iron. This is especially true if you tend to be wild with fairway woods. The one-iron is an excellent driving club on tight holes. With it you get about the same distance as with a four-wood and you can expect much more accuracy and control, especially when hitting into the wind. It keeps the ball low and therefore is more likely to keep the shot on line than a fairway wood. It will also carry farther than a four-wood against the wind. Finally, a one-iron produces more backspin than most wood shots, which is important when hitting to small or tightly trapped greens. But here are some warnings: forget the one-iron any time you are having trouble with other long irons; never attempt to use the one-iron from a tight lie; remember that the rules allow you to carry only 14 clubs.

The face of the one-iron has less loft than the four-wood—as the bars above show—which makes one-iron shots easier to control under certain conditions. The increase in loft in the two- and three-irons is not great, and the golfer who hits them well can hit a one-iron.