If you’re a beginner golfer, you should know there’s a lot to learn in the game. And some parts of the information can be intimidating.
Unfortunately, the rules governing how many clubs in a golf bag are overlooked by a lot of golfers, including teachers in golf courses. Why? Because they focus more on other important parts of the game.
But learning the required number of golf clubs in a bag is a critical aspect of the sport. The golf’s governing bodies have set out a maximum number of club golfers can carry along to the golf course.
This article answers the question and provides other helpful information regarding the number of clubs to carry in a bag. Read on!
How Many Clubs Should be in a Golf Bag?
They have set out stringent rules that cater to all aspects of the game. This rule also defines how many golf clubs you should keep in the golf bag. Officially, you can have not more than 14 clubs in a bag!
The no.4 of the “rule of golf” defines the maximum number of golf club that should be in a bag, as stated below:
Rule 4 talks about the equipment that players must use for a round. Because success in the game of golf is purely dependent on the player’s skill, ability, and judgment; hence, the golfer:
- Must play with conforming balls and clubs
- Must carry a maximum of 14 clubs and not allowed to replace a damaged club, and
- Must not use other equipment that offers temporal help to his play
Hence, overall, golfers can only have a maximum of 14 clubs in a bag during gameplay.
Why 14 Clubs?
At the beginning of the 20th century, in the era of new technologies, golf brands created golf clubs with different types of materials.
Clubs with steel shafts came into the limelight. Players began to embrace them because of their power and durability.
The level of shots you can make with steel clubs is higher than shots from wooden clubs.
Because of these, many players carry excess clubs to the course, which slowed the game’s pace.
The USGA, in 1938, took a drastic measure to resurrect the dying pace of golf by limiting the number of clubs in a bag to a maximum of 14.
What Happens if a Player Carries more than the Maximum Clubs?
You’ll get penalized for carrying more than the maximum 14 clubs! The penalty is that each hole where the breach occurred attracts two strokes. In other words, if, at the second hole, you later realized that you have 15 clubs in the bag, your penalty will be four strokes. However (or maybe fortunately), the maximum stroke you can get is 4, so it doesn’t get worse than that.
If you discovered the breach when playing a hole, you’d get penalized at the end of the hole (as opposed to during the gameplay). And if it’s between the holes, you get penalized on the previous hole.
But, the rule differs in Matchplay. You’ll get the entire hole disqualified. In other words, you’ll lose the entire hole, which means a change in the total score.
What Clubs Should be in a Golf Bag?
Here’s a quick tip; a pro golfer should understand that carrying all drivers or two putters in a bag is a bad idea!
The total number of clubs in a bag can determine how well you perform on the green. The set of clubs you choose will affect your overall gameplay in either way.
That said, each golfer has his special standard of club set. According to the USGA, a typical golf bag should include:
- A driver
- Two hybrids or fairway woods
- 4,5,6,7,8,9 iron, pitching wedge and sand wedge
- Extra two wedges
What are the Steps Involved in Taking Clubs out of Play?
The steps are pretty straightforward! Once you discover the violation, take any of these two steps:
- One, alert your opponent of the violation.
- Two, turn the extra club upside down in the bag. The point is, take action immediately you notice the breach.
Can You Borrow a Partner’s Club?
No, you cannot! The golf rule prohibits a player from using their partner’s club to make a stroke that might count to their score.
So, if your opponent uses the best golf club for women and you’d love to use them , be sure to borrow them upfront before starting the game. Or, after the game. Surprisingly, the golf rule allows you to carry your club in a partner’s bag. However, each player must identify his club, because, as the rule stated, ‘you’re not allowed to use your partner’s club.’
Similarly, the rule does not allow you to carry 14 clubs in your bag while another person carries extra clubs for you. Any other person is not allowed to carry an extra club for you.
What’s the Minimum Number of Clubs to Carry?
There’s no minimum. Only maximum! If you prefer to play with one putter, go for it.
Can I Add more Clubs to my Bag During Gameplay?
Interestingly, yes, you can! You are allowed to add more clubs to your bag while playing around. Just make sure you’re not exceeding the maximum 14 clubs in a bag.
For example, if you started with 13 clubs, you can add one more club during a round, as long as you don’t reach a maximum of 14 clubs.
Are there Restrictions on the Type of Club to Carry in a Bag?
The type of club you carry for a round must stringently conform to golf rules and regulations.
That said, there’s no one-size-fits-all regarding the type of club to carry in a bag.
So if you want to have five putters, four drivers, and three lob wedges, the choice is yours.
The Worst Golf Club Violation in History
The worst violation of the rule guiding the maximum number of clubs occurred at the open championship in 2001. Ian Woosnam started the game impressively with only 17 holes left to play. But, things went haywire!
On arriving at the second tee, Woosnam discovered an extra club in his bag, making a total of 15 clubs. After competing for the second tee, he received the standard two strokes penalty and lost out to finish at T3.
We hope this article has answered your question about how many clubs in a golf bag. As aforementioned, the USGA allowed a golfer to carry a maximum of 14 clubs in a bag. However, there’s no minimum number of clubs to carry, only maximum.
On the average, your golf bag should include a putter, 1-wood driver, a sand wedge, a pitching wedge, and 6-9 irons. Contact a professional golfer to guide you through on the right club set combination.