Guilt has obsessed me for several years. It began the day I discarded my two iron. My last unmemorable shot with it was a sickly puffer that carried about 160 yards and straggled on for an awesome roll of four feet.

I didn't know how to end my relationship with the club - batter it against an oak in a fit of Tommy Boltism or lay if softly in the cellar among the rakes, hoes and other unusables.

I chose the second, out of regard for trees. But early this season I came across the long-abandoned club while searching for a watering can. I felt the old fears again, being 200 yards from the green and helpless with nothing but a three iron or four wood at hand, one too short, the other too long.

Rather than wasting the morning watering the hydrangia, I took the club to the practice range to hit a few balls.

I may have found the secret: two irons like to be airborne quickly. Get them up and they will get out. We don't hit two irons and expect to be deadly; we want distance first and then, if it's available, a modest sense of accuracy.

But how do you hit a high two iron?

Two ways: keep your legs and hips out of the swing as much as possible, and then move into the ball with your arms and hands. The driver is a leg club, because the ball is already teed up and little effort is needed to get it soaring. But if we come into the hitting zone of the two iron with too much leg and too little warm, what results is a smother or a screamer.

By using the hands, especially the right hand, the ball has a chance to breathe.

That's the physical part. Mentally, the two iron has to be approached as though it were a nine iron - that is, dont't exert extra strength merely because you have a 200-yard shot, not a 100-yard shot.

It's the oldest of fundamentals: the club does the work, you work the club.

I can't say with certainty that I will go back to the two iron, but I do know that many of the manufacturers no longer offer it for sale as part of a full set. For one thing, it is common to find clowns posing as golfers who carry around a six wood, seven wood and - I actually saw it once - a 14 wood.

It's nutty, like headcovers for the putter or golf balls that float.

In conversations with good two-iron players, I have noticed that usually the rest of their game also is sound. Indeed, some of them talk about getting one irons.

It's worth thinking about, if only for the status value. A one iron in the bag suggests you are mean and hungry, and will do anything to win, even if it means spending hour on the practice tee learning the ways of the one club that is more impossible than the already impossible two iron.

To assert my own meanness and hunger, the two iron is enough.