What Is A 1-Iron? (And Do You Need One?!)

For many, the 1 iron may seem like a relic of the past, an impossible club to hit, or maybe even an unknown golf club design to some. The 1 iron, also known as a driving iron, is a low loft club used to drive the golf ball long distances on the course.

The 1 iron is not as common as it once was on the golf course. This could be due to several factors, but in our opinion, it doesn’t mean that the 1 iron doesn’t have a place in your bag.

For those who are unsure of why they would need a 1 iron or are interested in learning about the club, check out the article below for all you need to know about the 1 iron.

What Is A 1-Iron Or Driving Iron?

Having a 1 iron or driving iron in the bag can have many benefits. They offer superior control in a skilled golfer’s hands. Their small profile also gives them an edge in longer cuts of grass. This versatility can make a 1 iron a go to tool in a golfer’s bag.

For all the benefits of a 1 iron, there are some serious pitfalls. The main downside of a 1 iron is the are not as forgiving as a wood. In fact, they are downright hard to hit.

A player needs to be confident in their swing and game to trust a 1 iron for their most important long shots.

How Far Can You Hit A 1-Iron?

The distance of a 1 iron varies by a player’s strength and ability. This range is typically between 180 to 260 yards depending on the golfer.

This distance is less than the distance of a driver, mainly due to the loft of a 1 iron. 1 iron typically is lofted between 15 and 18 degrees which is closer to a 3 wood than a driver.

Our Favorite 1-Iron

The Wilson Staff Utility Iron is our absolute favorite utility iron on the market due to its precision and performance.

What sets this iron apart from other driving irons is its exceptional versatility. Whether you need to navigate a tight fairway, conquer a challenging par-3, or execute a delicate bump and run shot, the Wilson Staff Utility Iron offers consistent, penetrating ball flight and remarkable distance control.

The forged construction and thin topline provide a classic look that inspires confidence at address, while the sole design allows for enhanced forgivability.

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Top Pick

Wilson Staff Utility Iron

Opinion: With the Staff Model Utility Irons in your bag, you’ll experience enhanced playability and the ability to tackle any golf course with ease. If you’re seeking a utility iron that blends style, precision, and performance seamlessly, look no further – the Wilson Staff Model Utility Men’s Golf Irons are the ultimate choice for golfers who demand excellence on every shot.

Why Is It Hard To Hit A 1-Iron?

Hitting a 1-iron can be hard for multiple reasons. As we learned above, 1 irons are low loft clubs which often are longer in length compared to high loft clubs. This creates two challenges.

The first challenge is that longer length, low loft irons have different swing paths than shorter higher loft irons. Players need to approach hitting a 1 iron like hitting a driver rather than hitting a higher iron.

Second issue of hitting a 1 iron is the loft. Getting a low loft club in the air requires a certain amount of strength and ball impact accuracy. This means that hitting a 1 iron requires a lot of skill and practice.

What often happens is new or struggling golfers will modify their swing to get the ball into the air which leads to stray shots. Keep reading below for our best tips for properly hitting a 1 iron.

Best Tips For Hitting 1-Iron?

Given the longer club length, proper ball placement in your stance is critical. The ball should be towards the middle to front of your stance and about an inch or so closer in your stance than you would position a driver.

If you practice hitting and the ball goes fades to the right, position the ball slightly further away or farther up in your stance.

Inversely, shots hooked will require you stand closer to the ball or having it slightly further back in your stance.

Struggling golfers may also feel like they need to swing harder with lower loft clubs. They feel like low numbered clubs need significant power, but this isn’t the case.

A natural fluid swing with a solid impact will product far better results compared to overcompensating with too much force.

Do Any Professionals Use A 1-Iron?

A great way to validate what an average golfer should do in their game is to look at the professionals. Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods both have famous shots with a 1 iron in hand.

Hogan in the 1950 U.S. Open at Merion and Woods during the 1997 Ryder Cup both made critical shots with a 1 iron.

While some of the greatest professional golf shots were made with a 1 iron, it is not common to find a 1 iron on tour today.

Modern advancements in club design have allowed hybrids and woods to perform better all over the course while maintaining their forgiveness and control.  

When Is The Proper Time To Use A 1-Iron?

A 1 iron is an excellent club choice for tight tee shots or long shots out of the rough. The 1 iron allows for slightly more control off the tee which is perfect for narrow starting shots.

A 1 iron is also an excellent choice out of the rough for long shots. Their minimal profile allows the club face to cut through thick grass, unlike their 3 and 5 wood counterparts.

Lastly, a 1 iron is ideal for low trajectory shots. Skilled players might use a 1-iron to hit “stinger” shots, which are low, controlled shots that travel a good distance while staying close to the ground.

The low trajectory of a 1-iron can be advantageous in windy conditions. Its lower loft can help keep the ball flight lower, making it less affected by winds.

Final Thoughts

The short answer is it depends. For players who struggle with their woods, it may be time to add a 1 iron in your bag.

Golfer’s who thrive with a hybrid or wood in their hands can probably keep the 1 iron out of their bag in favor for a more useful club.

If you are up for the challenge, the best way to figure out how to hit a 1-iron is the driving range. Buy a bucket of balls and learn the hard way on how to hit the club.

After regular practice, you’ll soon find a great new tool you use in your game! Hopefully you liked this article and found it informative. Check out our other blog posts if you liked this one!

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