When lightning comes to the golf course, some jocular advice is to hold a one-iron aloft and start walking, because “not even God can hit a 1-iron.” The advice has been cited in print since at least 1982 and is commonly credited to American professional golfer Lee Trevino.
Wikipedia: Lee Trevino
Lee Buck Trevino (born December 1, 1939) is a retired American professional golfer who won six major championships over the course of his career. He is one of only four players to twice win the U.S. Open, The Open Championship and the PGA Championship. The only major that eluded him was the Masters. He is an icon for Mexican Americans, and is often referred to as “The Merry Mex” and “Supermex,” both affectionate nicknames given to him by other golfers.
Google News Archive
26 June 1982, Spartanburg (SC) Herald, “Current Quotes,” pg. A4, col. 6:
“Hold up a one-iron and walk. Even God can’t hit a one-iron.”—Lee Trevino, golfer, who was once struck by lightning while playing a round, advising others on how to avoid a similar fate.
26 June 1982, Winnipeg (Manitoba) Free Press, “What army? we got Slammin’ Sam” by Dallis Beck, pg. 77 ,col. 4:
The famed one-iron
Snead’s good old homespun Virginia patter and humor also captivate the galleries.
He was one of the stars at a clinic this week, showing a crowd of 100 or so how to make the most difficult club in the bag—the one-iron—literally talk. He might have borrowed the joke from Lee Trevino, but it suited Sam’s style perfectly.
He told the one about the foursome course on the course in a thunderstorm. While his mates scurried for cover, one man reached for his one-iron and held it aloft. “You crazy?” yelled his pals. “There’s lightning all around us!” Replied their buddy” “Don’t worry. Not even God can hit a one-iron!”
28 July 1982, Times Tribune (Corbin, KY), pg. 4, cols. 2-3:
Not even God can hit a one iron (By Hugh A. Mulligan.—ed.)
TATER HILL, Vt. (AP—(...) When a thunderstorm rumbled overhead and lightning danced among the divots, I remembered Lee Trevino’s advice, which differed from the standard safety precautions against standing under a tree and urging players to remove their spiked shoes and move away from their golf carts and steel shafted clubs.
“Hold aloft a one-iron and proceed unafraid up the fairway,” Trevino is said to have proscribed. “Even God couldn’t hit a one-iron.”
Google News Archive
21 August 1982, Daytona Beach (FL) Morning Journal, “Eyes & Ears,” pg. 1, col. 1:
And that prods the memory of another good golf gag, maybe an original of Lee Trevino: When caught on the golf course in a lightning storm, always pull your 1 iron from the bag and hold it over your head, because not even God can hit a 1 iron.
Golf Courses of the PGA Tour
By George Peper
New York, NY: H.N. Abrams
His (Lee Trevino—ed.) advice to anyone caught in a thunderstorm: “Grab a 1-iron and hold it high over your head; not even God can hit a 1-iron.”
Sports in America from Colonial Times to the Twenty-First Century
By Steven A. Riess
New York, NY: Routledge
When asked what would happen if he were caught on the golf course in another storm, Trevino explained that he would take out his 1-iron and point it to the sky, “because not even God can hit the 1-iron.”