Many golfers don’t know that there is a limit to how many golf clubs can be in a bag. To be honest, if you’re not a professional, or competing on some level – you probably never even thought about it.
The general rule for how many golf clubs in a bag is 14. This might seem like a lot for people who play golf just for pleasure but when you are taking the game seriously, you’ll want to maximize your game by having the right golf club for every potential condition.
Do You Have To Carry Fourteen Clubs In Your Bag At All Times?
No, you don’t have to carry that many golf clubs in your bag at the same time. In fact, many golfers carry less and swap clubs out depending on the golf course they are about to play. If you are playing golf in a tournament, you need to be aware of these two rules when deciding on how many golf clubs you can carry in a tournament:
- You cannot borrow or swap clubs with another player while playing the game of golf in a tournament.
- When changing your clubs, you do not under any circumstances interrupt or delay the game in play.
Are There Club Limits For How Many Golf Clubs In A Bag?
The general rule according to the USGA states that a golfer can carry up to 14 golf clubs in his or her bag at one time. They recommend 12 standard types of golf clubs and allow the player to add 2 more of their choice.
The suggested clubs are as follows:
- Woods – Driver, 3-Wood, And 5-Wood
- Irons – Pitching Wedge + Irons 3 Thru 9
Most professional golfers add an additional wedge and putter. These could include a gap or a sand wedge, a lob wedge, and either a belly or long putter besides the conventional putter they are already carrying in their golf bag.
Golfers tend to adjust how many golf clubs in a bag based on the conditions and the demands of the course they are playing. For example, if the greens have a lot of thick rough areas, they may add an extra wedge in their golf bag.
Note: Try to avoid carrying two clubs that offer the same amount of distance. You will want to carry a variety of clubs that offer a wide range of opportunities on the fairway.
Related read: What Golf Clubs to Use When?
Should You Consider Carrying A Hybrid?
If you’ve never heard of a hybrid, it’s a pretty cool concept that combines iron and wood into one club to help make more room in your golf bag. This traditionally will help you when deciding how many golf clubs can you carry. Sure, the maximum is 14, but the make-up of those fourteen can vary depending on your needs.
Hybrids will vary in appearance and offer a wide range of advantages based on the design. You will find that some hybrids resemble an iron while others look just like a wood, typically a 3 wood. However; most golfers use hybrids to replace their 1 through 4 irons.
You can use a hybrid to hit the ball off the fairway, off a tee, and even from the rough. They are the most universal club to have in your bag. Remember, they count as part of the 14 clubs you are legally allowed to carry in your golf bag.
What If You Break The Fourteen Clubs Rule?
If you violate the 14 rule, you will get penalized 2 strokes for every whole in which you are carrying too many clubs.
For example, if you’re caught with 15 clubs in your golf bag and you’re already on the second hole; you’re going to be penalized 4 strokes. Luckily, the maximum penalty for this rule violation is maxed out at 4 strokes.
Note: During match play; the penalty includes losing one hole for every hole played with more than 14 clubs in your bag, with the maximum penalty being the loss of 2 holes.
Why Is There A Limit?
This rule was established back in 1938 by professional golfers Bobby Jones and Tony Torrance. They both agreed that something had to change when they watched Albert Campbell on the US Team in the 1936 Walker Cup stuff 32 clubs into his bag! Makes you wonder how big his bag was and who carried this monster collection.
Jones and Torrance looked at how many clubs they each had in their bag and compromised that 14 was the golden number for how many golf clubs do you need in your bag. Within three years, both the R&A and the USGA granted the 14 club limit as an official rule in the game of golf.
If you’re playing a round of golf with your buddies, you probably don’t need to worry about the 14 rule or how many golf clubs in a bag. However, if you signed up for a golf tournament, you will need to make sure you only have the maximum amount of golf clubs in your bag!