How Many Clubs In A Golf Bag?

If you’re just starting to learnt the game of golf, you will realize that there is a ton of information out there to learn about the game. Golf also has some of the most rules regarding how many clubs in a golf bag. If you’re just starting out, it’s important for you to have a clear idea of all the subtle details of the game. The United States Golf Association has laid out clear rules that many local and state golf associations adhere to about the number of clubs allowed in a players golf bag. Your ignorance regarding the game can even lead to frustrating penalties that will mess up your entire scorecard if you’re playing in a tournament.

How many clubs in a golf bag?

The rules of golf state that a golfer may have as many as 14 golf clubs in his bag for a given round. If you violate this rule, you are assessed a 2-stroke penalty for each hole on which you have too many clubs, up to a maximum of 4 penalty strokes.

In match play, another rule set by the USGA says that a player will not be allowed to change their clubs during a round. When you’re playing a game, you will be expected to finish the round with the same 14 clubs you started with. On the other hand, if you started the round with fewer than 14 clubs, you will be allowed to add new clubs if desired.

The official rules allow any number of golf clubs in your bag, including more than 14, when practicing. If you’re heading to the driving range or playing a practice round of golf, 15, 18, 33 clubs are fine (but heavy!).

What clubs should I have in my golf bag

This may include three woods (driver, 3-wood and 5-wood), eight irons, (3-9 iron and pitching wedge), and putter. These are the standard 12 clubs in many golf bags. The last two clubs can be a hybrid driver for use on the fairway and a wedge for the golfer’s short game. Or you may choose to use two wedges, which can include a lob wedge or sand wedge. The lob wedge provides better lift, while the sand wedge may help with those tough bunker shots

Clubs to carry in golf bag based on skill level:

1. Seasoned golfer

  • Four, five, and six hybrids
  • Three wood
  • Seven, eight, and nine irons
  • Pitching wedge
  • Putter 

2. Moderately skilled golfer

  • Three wood
  • Driver
  • Sand wedge
  • Pitching wedge
  • Four and five hybrids
  • Six, seven, eight, and nine irons
  • Putter 

3. Beginner

  • Two hybrids or three wood
  • Three iron through nine iron 
  • Gap wedge
  • Pitching wedge
  • Putter
  • Lob wedge
  • Driver 

The beginner will probably want to use the fourth wedge instead of a hybrid or three wood. 

The gap and lob wedges will increase a player’s options on the course. The best golfers usually change up their set from week to week or even between rounds, in order to continue to challenge their golf game and work on their weaknesses. This is what can truly help you to become a better golfer. Continue to work on certain areas in which you struggle. Of course, continue to play to your strengths as well. Over time, you’ll find that you’re able to play like a solid golfer. 

What’s 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 breach of the rule happened. That means if you have 15 clubs in your bag but don’t realize until you’re playing the second hole, you will receive a four-stroke penalty. Fortunately, the maximum penalty for breaking this rules is four strokes, so it won’t get any worse than that.

If you realize the breach while playing a hole, the penalty is assessed at the end of the hole. If instead you notice the violation in between holes, the penalty is applied to the hole you just completed.

In match play, the penalty is one hole, meaning that if you break the rule the total match score is changed, instead of you just losing the hole you’re playing.


Hey, this is Steven and I am a traveler and sportsman. I have been to over 5 countries and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including fishing, skiing, snowboarding, golfing, hiking, cycling, etc.

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