How Many Clubs In A Golf Bag?

When you begin learning how to play golf, your focus is likely going to be on your technique.

But did you know that there are a lot of other intricacies to this game that need to be adhered to, especially if you are planning to reach dizzying limits.

One such thing is how many clubs can you have in a golf bag?

The maximum number of clubs that a player can have in his or her golf bag at any one time is 14.

Although, according to Golf Digest, you can, in theory, carry more provided that they are not used during play.

But as with anything to do with golf, the rules might not be quite as simple as choosing your favourite 14 and hitting the course.

So, let’s take a look at how many clubs you can carry, what they should be and what will happen if you ignore this rule.

14 Golf Clubs In A Bag

There are a few different governing bodies that oversee golf including the USGA and these all state that the maximum number of clubs a player is allowed in their bag at any one time, is 14.

While this may feel limiting to some of the more experienced players, there is some good news.

Players are permitted to put any combination of clubs into their bag for any given game.

There are pro players who have had some pretty famous combos, most notably Phil Mickelson who played two drivers in a selection of major tournaments.

When you have chosen your final 14, the official rules state that you must not replace any of the clubs during any single round.

However, it is permitted for players to replace or repair clubs in between rounds.

More importantly, you should keep in mind that these rules really only apply if you are playing a money match or are taking part in a tournament.

If you’re out on the course on a Sunday morning with a few friends enjoying a social round, it’s likely that nobody will really care how many clubs you have with you.

What About Sharing Clubs With Other Players?

You might think that, once you have packed your 14 clubs into your golf bag, that there is still another club you’d like to have the option of using.

For many people, this might mean using another player’s clubs but this is not permitted in a tournament.

Again, you could probably get away with it during a friendly game but if you want to stick to the official rules, it’s a no-no.

What Happens If I Have More Than 14 Clubs In My Bag For A Tournament?

If you are discovered to have more than 14 clubs in your bag during a tournament, then you will face a penalty. Fortunately, there is a limit on the penalties that can be imposed on you so it’s unlikely to ever be too bad, but then that depends who you are up against.

For every additional club in your bag, you will be given a two-stroke penalty for every hole.

For example, if you are carrying one additional club and realise this when you reach the second hole, then you would incur a four-stroke penalty.

But since four strokes is the limit, this is the worst you will face.

Moreover, it is important to understand when these penalties will be applied.

If you realise that you are carrying an extra club between holes then the penalty will apply to the previous hole.

However, if you notice the breach during the play of any particular hole then the penalty won’t apply until the hole has been completed.

One final point to consider is that during Match Play, the penalty is different and for each breach you will receive a one hole penalty.

This will affect the overall match score.

What Golf Clubs Should I Carry?

If you’re new to golf then you might be thinking well, I wouldn’t know where to start and that’s OK, because we can always draw inspiration from the professional setup.

When pro golfers pack their clubs into their golf bags, they will typically follow this line up:

● Driver
● 3 wood
● 5 wood
● 4-PW
● Gap wedge
● Sand wedge
● Lob wedge
● Putter

But with this in mind, these clubs are liable to change.

For example, some pro golfers prefer to replace one of their woods with a longer club such as a hybrid or a driving iron.

One of the biggest questions asked by new golfers is whether they should be carrying a 3 wood or a 5 wood.

In reality, there is no harm in carrying both since this won’t affect the 14 club maximum. 

The main difference between these clubs is the loft with the 3 wood having between 15ºand 18º whereas a 5 wood has a slightly higher loft up to 22º. Having both options in your bag covers you for every eventuality.

There is also a lot of confusion, especially among newer golfers, over why clubs really matter in golf.

The truth is that each club is designed to perform differently and it really does matter which you choose for any given shot.

Differences in bounce and loft are particularly notable so when buying clubs, always go to a professional who will be able to help you choose something that will maximise your game.

Conclusion

If you want to be at the top of your game, choosing the right equipment is a must.

But while many golfers have an array of favourite clubs, they are limited to taking only 14 onto the course for any given round.

This limit is imposed by golf governing bodies and means that, if you exceed the maximum, you will incur a penalty.

Of course, for friendly games, nobody is particularly bothered so you can take as many clubs as you can comfortably carry.