I occasionally see references to a “3-iron”. I thought 4-iron was the lowest. Don’t tell me there were ever 1 & 2-irons!!! Frankly, I’d rather hit my ‘spoon’…
I would suggest that you not hit your “spoon” if it was one of the earlier models (1800s) as the face is concave and does not conform with the rules today. The name spoon was later commonly used for a wood club equivalent to a 3-wood.
As far as the 3-iron is concerned, I highly recommend that this be left in the garage if you have one and that the iron set start with a 4-iron or better yet the 5-iron. The gap between your 5-wood and 5-iron can be filled very well with a couple of hybrids – one of the better innovations in the last 20 years.
Because the manufacturers in the early seventies, were trying to show how much better – longer– their iron clubs were than their competitors’ they deviated from an unwritten standard for club lofts and decreased the loft without changing the number on the club. This became the norm without any consistency in the changes.
Thus, a 2-iron became a strong 1-iron, and the 1-iron, as part of the set died. The pitching wedge became a weak 8-iron leaving a 10 degree gap between it and the Sand Wedge – filled by the gap wedge. With the popularity of the hybrids, which are very much easier to hit than the long irons, these (the 2-iron, 3-iron and maybe the 4-iron) are taking their place next to the 1-iron in museums.
Some of the best golfers on tour are still using a 3-iron and this is where you would have heard the references to it but not in any standard set today.
Don’t look for a 3-iron and get a new three wood instead of the “spoon”.