The longest iron with the steepest clubface. Very few professionals or amateurs use 1-irons anymore as hybrid clubs gain popularity.
Notable 1-iron shot: Jack Nicklaus 1-iron from 218 yards at the next-to-last hole at the 1972 U.S. Open hits the flagstick and comes to rest six inches from the cup, securing the Golden Bear’s championship.
An iron designed to hit longer shots. Rarely used by amateurs – most golf club sets start with 3-irons.
Notable 2-iron shot: In singles action at the 1989 Ryder Cup, Europe’s Christy O’Connor hits a 240-yard 2-iron to within three feet of the 18th hole. He birdies the hole to win his match by one shot.
3-irons are the longest irons found in most golfers’ bags. Most often used on long par 3s or for long-distance shots from the fairway.
Notable 3-iron shot: In windy conditions, Fred Funk laced a 234-yard 3-iron that barely clears the water and lands on the 16th green in the final round of the 2005 Players Championship. Funk makes a birdie and wins the tournament by one shot.
Longest of the mid-range irons, but still with enough loft that can provide the ball a soft landing on greens if hit properly.
Notable 4-iron shot: Tiger Woods eagles the par-4 14th hole of the 2006 British Open, making a 4-iron from 214 yards. He wins the tournament by two shots.
Mid-range iron. With the advancement in technology and player fitness, most pros can hit 5-irons well over 200 yards.
Notable 5-iron shot: Making a stirring final round comeback at the 1986 Masters, Jack Nicklaus hits a 5-iron to within a few feet of the par-3 16th hole. He follows the great shot with a birdie and wins by one stroke.
Shortest of the mid-range irons. Has the flexibility to provide distance and touch for players attempting to reach the green.
Notable 6-iron shot: Standing 176 yards in the fairway on the first playoff hole of the 2004 Doral Open, Craig Parry’s 6-iron shot lands a few feet from the hole and rolls in for a dramatic victory.
A 7-iron is idea for approach shots. Players who choose to play a bump and run to keep the ball low to the ground often use 7-irons.
Notable 7-iron shot: Trailing Greg Norman by one shot at the final hole of the 1990 Bay Hill Invitational, Robert Gamez makes an eagle and wins the tournament when his shot from 176 yards goes in the hole.
An 8-iron is a club that players will use to take aim at pin positions with a full swing, as it provides consistent length and accuracy.
Notable 8-iron shot: Aiming for his first PGA Tour win, Dean Wilson hits an 8-iron five feet from the pin on the second playoff hole of the 2006 International. He makes birdie and takes the title.
The 9-iron is the most lofted numbered iron. Its often used for chipping or long pitch shots.
Notable 9-iron shot: A 21-year old Tiger Woods wows the large crowd at the par-3 16th hole at the TPC of Scottsdale with a hole-in-one during the 1997 Phoenix Open.