"butter knife" = 1-iron

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Wed Apr 27 04:29:57 UTC 2005

>From the AP article, "It's the End of an Era for 1-Irons" (Apr. 26, 2005):

The 1-iron is often referred to as a butter knife, although even some
butter knives are more forgiving.

Seems to be a relatively recent term.  Early cites refer allusively to any
"long iron" as a butter knife...

[1996 _2 iron or 5 wood?_ in _rec.sport.golf_ 6 Jul., Given the fact that
the one, two and three irons closely approximate the loft of four, five,
and seven woods ... why in the hell are the former more difficult to hit
as high or as solid as the latter? ... Get on the course, in the heat of
competition, and all manner of tragedies occur when the butterknives are
released from their sheaths.]
[1997 _Driving Iron thoughts (2 iron + 1/2 or 1 inch?)_ in
_rec.sport.golf_ 18 Jun., I too prefer to hit irons off tees and have
tried the BB 1 iron.  It's a bit like hitting a butter knife, very thin
1998 _Controller Driving Irons_ in _rec.sport.golf_ 5 Apr., I have a Hogan
Apex PC 1 iron (can you say, BUTTER-KNIFE!) that is 1/4 in longer than
1999 _Esquire_ 1 Sep. (FindArticles) The 1-iron -- the 1, the butter
knife, the true flat stick -- is the most hellacious club of them all.
1999 _Distance Gaps and Modern Lofts_ in _rec.sport.golf_ 10 Dec., I know
these follow the "old" specs, e.g. my 9-iron is 48* and the 1-iron is 16*.
 (Yes I actually have a "butter knife", but it usually stays safely
hidden in the the closet.)
2000 _Club nicknames_ in _rec.sport.golf_ 3 May, I've heard the 1 Iron
refered to as "butter knife."
2004 _Golfweek_ 29 Jan., In fact, when he had his current set of Titleist
irons custom made three years ago, he didn't think to have a 1-iron made.
... He hits low bullets with the so-called butter knife.

--Ben Zimmer

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