Knowing how many golf clubs can you carry is vital if you play in a match-play competition or open tournament. The United States Golf Association (USGA) has rules that a lot of local and state golf associations adhere to the number of clubs allowed in a golfers bag. Having too many clubs can result in penalties that could cause a quality round of golf to go South.
According to the USGA, a golfer can have 14 clubs in his bag. This may include three woods (conductor, 3 woods, and 5 woods), eight boards (3-9 iron wedge and pitch), and putters. These are the 12 standard clubs in many golf bags. If the golfer starts with a number of clubs in his bag of less than 14, he can increase the number of clubs to 14.
Golfers are allowed a maximum of 14 clubs in their bags during tournament rounds. This is in accordance with the rules. You can bring less than 14 clubs but no more than that.
You cannot change any of the 14 clubs while playing. You must finish the round with just the 14 clubs, except when a club breaks and you need to replace it.
You could add more clubs if you started the round with less than 14 golf clubs. However, you cannot borrow clubs from another player.
Table of Contents
How many golf clubs can you carry in a golf bag?
Let’s get straight to the point. The golf governing bodies, the USGA and R&A have strict regulations on almost everything you can think of when it comes to golf equipment. The number of golf clubs you can have in your bag is no different. Golfers are allowed a maximum of 14 clubs in their bags during tournament rounds. This is in accordance with the rules. You can bring less than 14 clubs but no more than that.
This question is governed by Rule No. 4, the Rules of Golf (The Players’ Team):
Rule 4 covers the equipment that players can use during a round. Based on the principle that golf is a challenging game in which success must depend on the judgment, skills, and abilities of the player, the player:
- You must use compliant sticks and balls,
- It is limited to no more than 14 clubs and normally must not replace damaged or lost clubs, and
- It is restricted in the use of other equipment that gives artificial helps your game.
Simply put, golfers are restricted to carrying a maximum of 14 golf clubs in their bag during a round.
What is the penalty for carrying too many clubs?
The penalty for carrying too many clubs in your bag is two strokes for each hole where a rule violation occurred. That means if you have 15 clubs in your bag but don’t notice until you are playing the second hole, you will receive a penalty of four strokes. Fortunately, the maximum penalty for breaking these rules is four strokes so that it won’t be worse than that.
The penalty for excess clubs is assessed in various golf formats, including the popular hit and match-play formats. The USGA requires that golfers who violate club boundaries declare that excess club is out of play. The club is declared offside by the golf player’s opponent or fellow competitor in a stroke-and-stroke competition. A golfer will incur a penalty of two strokes for each hole where the extra club was used, with a maximum penalty of four strokes per round. Game penalties require a golfer to deduct a hole he won for each penalty up to a maximum of two holes per round.
If you become aware of the violation while playing a hole, the penalty is assessed at the end of the hole. If instead, you observe the violation between the holes, the penalty is applied to the hole you just completed.
In Match Play, the penalty is one hole, which means that if you break the rule, the game’s total golf score changes, instead of losing the hole you are playing.
It is recommended to always count your golf clubs before entering the tournament because if you have an additional club (15th golf club) in your bag, you will be penalized for that. The penalty for this will depend on the tournament you are participating in.
A hole will be deducted from your total score. Each hole is equivalent to an extra golf club used for each hole or a maximum deduction of two holes.
The penalty for this violation is two strokes for each hole that a violation occurred. There is a maximum penalty of four strokes for this type of game.
Why is there a limit imposed on golf clubs?
This was not the setting back then. In the 20th century, golfers would bring around 20 to 25 clubs during games. Many professional and amateur golfers routinely bring more clubs (a combination of sticks with levers and clubs with steel shafts) during tournaments to increase their chances of meeting their goals.
Golf club limits
The governing bodies of the golf association imposed a limit on the number of clubs that golfers can bring to tournaments to avoid any cheating or match.
Back then, the penalty for excess golf clubs was automatic disqualification from playing a game. This was changed with a penalty of two strokes for each hole in strokes and the deduction of one hole for the match.
This has an advantage for golfers because their skills are tested and challenged with the limited variety of clubs that they can use in professional and amateur matches. On a practical note, having a maximum allowable amount of golf clubs is also good for your spine because having more than 14 clubs in your golf bag. Golf clubs are also expensive, so this not only eases your caddy’s workload but also keeps expenses at bay.
Read our guide: How to Hold a Golf Club: The Proper Golf Grip
Exceptions to the Golf Club Rule
It is okay to bring more than 14 gold clubs in your golf bag when you are practicing and not in a real game or tournament. Therefore, the strict implementation of this online penalty with exceeding the maximum number of golf clubs allowed is limited to games or tournaments only and not for recreational or practice purposes.
If you are new to the golf industry and the game, you normally would not need 14 clubs. You can easily cut it to any number of the maximum allowed. You can makes selection much easier than having to choose between the 14 golf clubs per round.
Preferred Golf Clubs by Professional Golfers
There are different types of golf clubs to choose from in tournaments. Hybrid golf clubs are a cross between wood and iron. Many professional golfers prefer hybrids because it is easier to control than long irons. Yes, it is a classic favorite.
However, you should base your choice on comfort and functionality rather than aesthetics or style.
Check your overall feel, weight, and length. Try different types of models when you buy a putter so that you have more options and can choose the one that suits you best.
Any professional golfer will heed the rules and limit their golf clubs to just 14. However, there are times when even professional athletes would slip and accidentally bring clubs in excess and use them in games. Abiding by the rules of golf would be your best bet to be a successful and respected golf player who is hungry to win but stays within limits.
Can you use your partner’s golf clubs?
This is very simple; the answer is no. Under the Rules of Golf, you cannot use another player’s club during your round to make a stroke that counts for your score.
So if you want to share your friends’ clubs or try one, you will have to do it on the field before or after playing the course.
Interestingly, the rules allow you and your game partner to carry your clubs in the same golf bag. But they can’t use each other’s clubs yet, and they must identify which clubs belong to each golfer.
Can I add clubs to my bag during a round?
Interestingly, you are allowed to add clubs to your bag during a round, as long as you keep it in 14 or fewer clubs, and you can thank the new rules for that. For example, if you had to start around with 13 clubs, you could add another club without penalty at any time, you don’t break any other rules in the process.
Does the type of golf clubs matter in your bag?
All clubs you can use or carry in the course of a round must comply with all club regulations set forth in other parts of the Golf Rules. That said, no rules are governing the composition of your conforming golf clubs. So if you wanna carry four putters, five drivers, and five lob wedges, you can free to do so.
When you watch golf on TV, you may think that the game seems super easy and that golfers just have to walk to the ball and swing the club. But, a lot happens in the background that helps determine how well a golfer performs on the course.
Among many things, a golfer’s performance largely depends on the type of clubs he chose to play with and the shots he can make. Also, to avoid penalties during the round, players mustn’t have more than the 14 clubs allowed in their golf bag.
If you’re playing in a golf match, you should always remember to count your golf clubs before going out on the golf course. As mentioned earlier, even an additional club can cost you hits, as you will be penalized for breaking a major game rule.
Before the round, you must also understand what the playing conditions are so that you can choose your club set accordingly. The correct set of clubs will allow you to play the course more efficiently and make better shots. For example, if you are playing a shorter golf course, you may want more wedges and less forest.
If you are a little intimidated by the limit of 14 golf clubs, please note that there is no limit on the minimum number of golf clubs, and you do not necessarily have to carry all 14 clubs. If you feel comfortable playing with, say, ten clubs, that’s fine.