How Many Golf Clubs Are Allowed In Your Bag

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How Many Golf Clubs Are Allowed In Your Bag

You’re beginning to learn how to play golf, and you may be curious about how many golf clubs are allowed in your bag.

In golf, as in most sports, the more equipment you have at your disposal, the better your chances of success.

Surprisingly, the rules aren’t as strict as you might think. In this blog post, I’ll share with you everything you need to know about golf club limits. So you can make sure you’re playing by the rules.

I’ll also provide some tips on how to choose the right club to hit in the heat of the moment.

So whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to improve your skills. Keep reading for the best advice on:

  1. How many golf clubs can you carry in your bag?
  2. The different types of clubs and why they’re all important.
  3. Tips for choosing the right club for each shot.

Knowing How Many Golf Clubs Are Allowed In Your Bag Will Help Your Game

There are a lot of rules in golf, but one of the most basic is how many clubs you’re allowed to have in your golf bag. This can be confusing for beginners, so here’s a breakdown of the regulations.

You’re only allowed a maximum of 14 clubs in your bag when you’re playing a stipulated round.

R&A Players Edition Rule 4.1b states that

  • You must not start a round with more than 14 clubs or have more than 14 clubs during the round.
  • If you start a round with fewer than 14 clubs, you may add clubs during the round up to the 14 club limit.

Cite Source R&A Rules Of Golf

14 clubs may sound like a lot however it’s not. You’ll need to choose the clubs that suit your game and the course you are playing. So choose wisely.

So, why only 14 clubs in a golf bag? It’s a question that has been debated for years.

The typical set of golf clubs in the mid to late 1800s consisted mainly of:

  • A couple of wooden-headed clubs – brassie (2 wood), spoon (5 wood).
  • Along with several metal-designed clubs. a cleek (2 iron), a mashie (5 iron), and a niblick (9 iron).
  • A bump-and-run shot would be accomplished using a jigger, which golfers carried as well. They also carried a putter.

These were crudely designed clubs and were notoriously hard to strike the ball consistently well. This led to golfers starting to carry an array of different clubs.

They started packing their golf bags with as many golf clubs that would fit (I feel sorry for the caddies). As you could imagine golfers would turn up with 16, 18, 20, and even 26 golf clubs in their bag!

By the 1930s this was getting out of control, sure great for the clubmakers. Finally, in 1938 the USGA and R&A enacted a rule that limited how many clubs a player could carry.

There is still no hard evidence of why 14 was chosen but it does correspond with what most players’ typical set sizes they were carrying back then. So ever since then, the maximum of 14 clubs has been the rule.

Are There Penalties For Carrying More Than 14 Golf Clubs

Yes, there are penalties for carrying more than 14 clubs in your bag and they are severe! The penalty for more than 14 clubs applies based on when you become aware of the breach.

  • Match Play – loses of hole maximum penalty 2 holes.
  • Stroke play – Two penalty strokes, maximum of four strokes.
  • Not taking immediate action to take the extra club/clubs out of play – Disqualification!

Modern Golf Club Design

It wasn’t that long ago that the golf club design was essentially static. But in recent years, there has been a concerted push to rethink everything about how clubs are designed and what they can do for your game.

The outcome has been some truly innovative designs, which are now starting to change the way people play the sport.

Golf clubs are now divided into 5 categories: drivers, fairway woods, irons, wedges, and putters.

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The Clubs In A Golf Bag

Driver or fairway woods for par 4 and 5 tee shots. Fairway woods, long and mid irons for par 3, and fairway shots, as well as from the rough.

Short irons and wedges for approach shots and your short game, and putters for the green.

While you have choices over the composition and design of shafts, loft and club lie no one but you can decide whether a club feels right or not.

In a set of golf clubs, you may be happy with your irons but not your wedges, so, be prepared to shop around.

List of golf clubs in a set that most golfers have.

  1. One – Driver
  2. Two – Fairway woods #3 and #5
  3. One – Hybrid (replace the #3 iron)
  4. Six – Irons – #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, and #9
  5. One – Pitching wedge (PW)
  6. One – Attack or gap wedge (AW, GW)
  7. 1 – Sand wedge (SW)
  8. 1 – Putter

That’s 14 clubs! There are options, you can change out your 4 iron for another hybrid or replace one of the wedges with a lop wedge.

Does the putter count in the 14 clubs? Yes, it does and is the only club you can’t remove or swap out.


  • You can carry less than 14 clubs in your golf bag. However, all you are doing is limiting your options.

Choosing The Right Clubs That You Carry

What clubs should I carry in my golf bag? There is a lot that goes into choosing the right golf clubs to carry with you on the course.

You have to take into consideration your skill level, the course you are playing, and the type of clubs that will give you the best chance at success.

Based on my experiences these are the clubs you’ll need when just starting out or you’ve been playing for a couple of years.

First off, you’ll need a club that you can hit punch shots and low trajectory shots with.
Only you’ll know what that club is, for me, it’s my 19º #3 hybrid or my 4 iron.

You will also need:

  • A driver – this club will be used to tee off on those par fours and fives.
  • Two fairway-woods #3 and #5
  • One 19 or 20º hybrid – you’ll need a club you can rely on for challenging fairway shots, and out from the rough.
  • #5, #7, and #9 irons – #5 and #7 irons can be used for par three tee shots, approach, and fairway shots. Your #9 iron is needed for those pitch shots and shot par three tee-offs. 
  • Pitching wedge and a sand wedge – the pitching wedge for chipping and around the green and shots within the 71 yards (65 meters) range. The sand wedge for bunkers and shots from deep rough and any short where you need to get the ball high into the air.
  • And of course a putter

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What Clubs Are In A Standard Golf Set?

As a beginner golfer, you’re starting to learn that the right accessories and equipment can make all the difference. But do you know what clubs and how many are in s standard golf set?

Most standard sets will have 11 – 12 clubs and they will include at least:
1. One driver
2. Two fairway-woods (3 and 5)
3. One hybrid
4. Five irons (#5, #6, #7, #8, #9)
5. One pitching wedge (PW)
6. One sand wedge (SW)
7. One putter

There are many other types of clubs available for purchase if you want to expand your set. So if you’re just starting out best to start by purchasing a standard set.

Final Words

As a beginner golfer, now you have a good understanding of the importance of the regulations about how many golf clubs are allowed in your bag.

This will help you stay within the rules of the game and avoid any penalties. While you can choose what the 14 clubs are which will depend on your skill level and the type, of course, you are playing.

I hope this article has been helpful in clarifying the basics of golf club regulation.

So what are you waiting for? Get out and start playing! Now that you know how many golf clubs are allowed in your bag.

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