how many golf clubs are allowed in a bag

Golf Beginners: How Many Clubs in a Golf Bag and Which Ones

If you’re new to the sport I’m sure you’ve asked, how many golf clubs can I carry? Is there a limit to how many clubs I can have in my golf bag?

It’s a good question because there are a ton of rules in the game of golf. The short answer is yes – you can only have so many golf clubs in your bag; 14 to be exact. This doesn’t include training aids or ball retrievers either.

If you plan to play this game frequently – even if you’re a beginner golfer – you need your own clubs to play at most courses. Each golf club needs to have a purpose and help your game.

Today we’ll help you identify what to put in your golf bag to play better golf.

How Many Clubs In a Golf Bag?

Key Takeaways 

  • The USGA and R&A (Royal Ancient Golf Club) allows golfers to carry 14 clubs but can carry less.
  • Different types of golfers should carry different types of clubs. Beginners should use more lightweight clubs and a lighter flex.
  • While more experienced golfers might need to use steel shafted clubs and more of a “player’s club” which is less forgiving.
  • It’s important to test out different types of clubs, shafts, and grips to find what works best for your swing.

Keep reading to learn more about the 14 golf clubs in a bag and how the right golf equipment can improve your game.

Driver

Let’s start with the longest club in the bag and one of the most feared for the everyday golfer – the driver. Almost every golfer carries a driver as it has the potential to go longer than any other club thanks to the length and lower loft. 

Choosing the right driver is one of the biggest decisions a golfer can make. The clubhead, shaft flex, and shaft weight all play a big role in getting the most out of your club.

Most golfers should hit this club at least 10 times per round (or more). It’s vital to tee box strategy and can make or break your round. But too many golfers are scared of their slice and leave it in the bag.

The sooner you learn to love your drive, the sooner you can shoot lower scores!

what are the 14 clubs in a golf bag

Fairway Woods

The next longest clubs are fairway woods – which consist of a 3W, 5W, 7W, and higher lofted options (like a 9W or heavenwood). Most pro and amateur golfers carry a 3-wood as it’s a great alternative to driver.

Hybrid Clubs

Hybrids are a newer club category that are made to replace long irons. As the name suggests, these clubs are a “hybrid” between a fairway wood and an iron. 

Hybrids, also known as rescue clubs, come with graphite shafts and are made to launch higher than irons. Beginners to PGA Tour pros can benefit from these clubs as they’re very versatile and easy to hit from all types of lies. 

Newer and beginner golfers should generally carry more hybrids than irons – especially long irons. Some iron sets, known as super game improvement irons, are a blend of hybrid and irons. These are the easiest clubs to hit and are extremely forgiving, making them great for golfers with slower and less consistent swings. 

Irons

Every golfer will have a set of irons but the number of clubs will change based on the set. Irons are made up of three types of clubs – short irons, mid-irons, and long irons

Short irons are referred to as a PW, 9-iron, and 8-iron. These irons have shorter shafts, more loft, and are generally the easiest to hit.

Mid-irons are the middle part of your set that are typically a 7-iron, 6-iron, and 5-iron. These clubs are longer than short irons and have less loft.

Long irons are the lowest part of your set and include a 1, 2, 3, and 4-iron. These clubs are harder to hit due to the length and lower loft. Most golfers benefit from using a hybrid, fairway wood, or driving iron instead of traditional long irons. 

There are different types of irons to match all types of golfers – here’s a quick recap:

  • Super game improvement irons: These are the most forgiving and largest irons. Made for forgiveness, notworkability. 
  • Game improvement irons: These are very forgiving but a smaller design and great for seniors or high handicappers.
  • Cavity back irons: These irons have a hollow cavity behind the face to make them more forgiving but have a smaller design than game improvement sets. 
  • Muscle back irons: These irons are great for golfers who want some forgiveness but also plenty of workability. 
  • Blade irons: These are the hardest irons to hit and only used by a small percentage of elite golfers. 

Players can also choose from a combo set which includes multiple types of irons throughout the set. 

Best Irons for a High Handicapper

Wedges 

Wedges are another important part of a golf bag as they are needed for full shots and short game shots around the green. Most golfers hit wedges for shots up to 100–120 yards, depending on the loft.

All golfers carry a PW (as they come with your iron set) and typically a sand wedge. While other golfers might add in a gap wedge which has more loft than a PW and less loft than a SW. Additionally, some golfers carry a lob wedge for tough shots around the green.

Newer golfers can skip a LW as they’re somewhat difficult to hit consistently. More advanced golfers tend to carry four wedges as they’ll have a lot shorter shots into greens. 

Putter 

The final club in the bag that every golfer has is a putter. Similar to a driver, choosing the right putter is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in golf. 

Why?

Because a putter is used on every single hole – sometimes several times. The only time you won’t use a putter is if you have a chip-in which doesn’t happen often. This is why it’s so important to love your putter and research what is right for you.

There are three main types of putters; blades, mallet, and modern-mallet (known as high MOI). Each one has their own pros and cons but it’s important to find a style and stick with it. If you’re going through a putting slump you might need to switch styles for more confidence.

Additionally, you’ll also want to find the right putter length and find the right grip style too. If you love your putter, golf gets a lot easier! 

Putter Styles

Examples of 14 Golf Clubs 

Now that you know more about each of the categories of golf clubs, here are some ideas on what your 14-club setup could look like.

It’s important to note that shafts will differ and depend on the average clubhead speed. The more speed a golfer has, the more they need to optimize spin and distance with every club in the bag. 

Beginner Golfers

  • Driver
  • Fairway woods: 3, 5, and 7-wood
  • Hybrid: 4H 
  • Irons: 5-9
  • Wedge: PW, GW, and SW
  • Putter 

Intermediate Golfers

  • Driver
  • Fairway woods: 3 & 5-wood
  • Hybrid: 3&4H 
  • Irons: 5-9
  • Wedge: PW, GW, and SW
  • Putter 

Advanced Golfers

  • Driver
  • Fairway woods: 3-wood, 5-wood or 2-hybrid 
  • Hybrid or driving iron 
  • Irons: 4-9
  • Wedge: PW, GW, SW, and LW 
  • Putter 

Professional Golfers 

  • Driver (typically a low spin model) 
  • Fairway wood: 3+ and maybe 5-wood 
  • 2 or 3-iron, driving iron, or hybrid 
  • Irons: 4-9 
  • Wedge: PW, GW, SW, and LW 
  • Putter 

FAQs About Golf Clubs 

Do you have more questions about different types of golf clubs? If so, keep reading through our most frequently asked questions and answers below.

How to organize clubs in a golf bag

Can I carry 15 clubs?

No, the rules of golf allow you to only carry 14 golf clubs but can have fewer clubs.

As the United States Golf Association (USGA) stated, “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.”

What happens if you have more than 14 clubs?

You are penalized or possibly disqualified from a golf tournament – it also depends on if it’s a stroke play or match play event. You can have more than 14 clubs in a casual round – for example if you’re testing out two drivers on the golf course – but need to remove one for tournaments. 

Leave extra clubs in your car as too many clubs can cost you penalty strokes in a tournament.

Can you replace a club mid-round?

Yes, if you have a damaged club due to normal use. For example, if you hit a punch shot next to a tree and the shaft breaks, you would be allowed to replace the club.

But if you get mad after a hole, slam your club, and it breaks you cannot replace it mid round. 

How many woods should I carry?

It depends on your skill level – the general rule is that the higher your handicap, the more fairway woods and hybrids you should carry. These clubs are much more forgiving than long irons and easier to launch higher. 

Nearly every golfer carries a 3-wood and most have 1 or 2 more (or hybrids). Test out different ones to see what works best for your swing. 

How many clubs does a golf bag hold?

The everyday golf bag holds at least 14 clubs with room for alignment sticks and other training aids. Some golf club sets even come with a golf bag too. If you prefer to walk or practice with a few clubs and don’t want to use the same golf bag try out a Sunday bag.

My Experience

Your equipment plays a big role in your game and should adapt as your game changes. For example, the set of clubs I play now are nothing like the set I had when I was barely breaking 90. 

If you’re a newer golf and/or beginner, use lightweight graphite shafts and forgiving golf clubs. It’s also beneficial to use more hybrids and fairway woods since long irons aren’t as easy to hit. 

If you’re more of a mid-handicap golfer shooting in the 80s or 90s, you might switch to steel iron shafts. Or, change the flex of your clubs from light to regular or regular to stiff. Plus, your clubs might get slightly less forgiving to help improve workability.

If you start shooting in the 70s or become a scratch golfer, you might need to switch to stiff or extra-stiff flex. And your clubs might need to change to adapt to spin. 

Don’t make golf more complicated by playing clubs that don’t match your game! Plus, make sure to find the right golf ball for your game too. Also, don’t forget a golf club organizer for your garage to hold your golf bag and other accessories.

Final Thoughts on How Many Golf Clubs You Need

While you can carry fewer clubs, we don’t recommend it. Play the maximum number of clubs allowed to give yourself every advantage possible.

What’s an extra club you want in the bag?

Once you have the right clubs for your game make sure to learn how to organize a golf bag. Plus, don’t forget to check out our favorite golf accessories. And you can read about different golf bags below to figure out which one is right for your golf habits. 

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