How to organize clubs in a golf bag

Don’t Make a Mess: How to Organize your Golf Bag

Look good, feel good, play good – that’s my golf motto.

I’m not just talking about your golf clothes either, how you organize a golf bag is just as important. Plus, don’t you feel better when you have a clean environment in your home or office?

Believe it or not but organizing your golf bag the right way can actually help you shoot lower scores. According to the Cleaning Collective“In their 2011 study, researchers at Princeton University concluded that a cluttered environment makes it more difficult to focus on a specific task due to a person’s visual cortex being overwhelmed by all the task-irrelevant objects in the room.” 

By cleaning your clubs throughout the round and keeping them organized can help you save shots! But what is the best way to organize your golf bag? 

Keep reading to learn the best method to organize a golf bag and other accessories you need to carry in your bag. 

Organize a Golf Bag: How to Arrange Golf Clubs

At some point, I’m sure you’ve asked, how should I arrange my golf clubs in my bag? 

It depends on the type of bag you have as some golf bags have more compartments than others. For example, with a carry bag or hybrid bags, most of them only four to five compartments vs. 14 individual dividers for each club. 

While cart bags are much larger and better for storage; plus they typically have an individual compartment for each golf club. This is great if you have expensive aftermarket shafts and want to make sure they don’t get damaged in your bag. 

Regardless of what type of bag you have, the general rule is this; longest clubs to shortest clubs, top to bottom. Let’s break down what that means below.

Woods and Putter at the Top

An organized golf bag starts with the top portion which should have your driver, fairway woods, and putter. Why, you might ask? 

To protect your shafts. 

Since woods, hybrids, and drivers are made with graphite shafts, it’s essential that your heavy steel shafts don’t scratch them. Plus, these shafts are the most expensive in the bag and not always easy to replace. Some aftermarket driver shafts cost $300 or more so you want to protect it at all costs. 

Organizing your clubs is even more important if you have a smaller stand bag with 4–5 compartments. Since these bags require you to have 3–4 clubs in each compartment, it’s easy for them to get tangled and rub against each other.

Even if you have a cart bag it’s still the best way to organize your clubs so you can easily pull each club out of the bag. Plus, if your woods and headcovers are in the bottom, it’ll block your view of each club. 

There’s nothing worse than thinking you left a club at the driving range or on a previous hole. If you don’t organize your clubs like this, it’s easy to do and I want to help you avoid that stress and panic on the golf course. 

Mid and Short Irons in the Middle

The middle section of your bag is dedicated to your irons and/or hybrids. Since more and more amateur golfers use hybrids vs. long irons, they also go in the middle section of the bag. 

You want to organize these clubs from top to bottom. Let’s say you have a 4-PW with a sand and lob wedge. The 4-iron goes on the middle left side of the bag, then 5-iron, 6-iron, etc. 

How to organize clubs in a golf bag

Short Clubs at the Bottom 

The bottom part of your bag is dedicated to the shortest clubs in your bag.

These are typically your short irons and wedges. Like the irons, it’s a good idea to organize them from left to right so you have a system and don’t accidentally leave a wedge by the green on the last hole. 

If you want a video version to see the best way to arrange your bag, check out this video from Below Par on YouTube. With over 750,000 views it’ll make it easy to understand the best practices for golf club organization. 

Don’t Forget Headcovers

While this club organization system will help you stay organized and protect your clubs, don’t forget about headcovers. If your woods and irons are rattling around all day it’ll eventually damage your clubs. This will make it harder to resell them for much money in the future and make it harder to focus if you have a big scratch on the head or face. 

Plus, it’s pretty annoying to hear them bouncing and hitting each in the golf cart for your playing partners. Make sure to keep your headcovers on throughout the round to protect the most expensive clubs in the bag. 

Other Pockets To Keep a Golf Bag Organized

Depending on which golf bags you choose, you will have a ton of other pockets too. Most golf bags usually have an insulated pocket (for keeping drinks cold), a large apparel pocket, a specific valuables pocket, range finder pocket, ball pocket, and several others to store car keys, tees, etc.

Golf Accessories for Your Bag

The last thing you need to add to your bag are accessories (which there is no shortage of in the golf world). Some of the most common things you need to include:

Finally, make sure you clean your golf bag pockets a few times a year to avoid clutter and lighten your bag. Also, don’t forget to clean the outside of your bag regularly so it lasts longer too. 

Don’t forget to clean your golf clubs during the round a deep clean of your grooves every few weeks too. 

How to organize clubs in a golf bag

FAQs About Golf Bag Organization 

Do you have more questions about how to organize a golf bag or what you need to carry in your golf bag? If so, keep reading to learn more now.

How do you organize clubs in a 14 compartment golf bag?

Whether you have 3–4 compartments or 14 individual full length dividers, it’s best to organize longest to shortest, top to bottom. By keeping your longest clubs at the top it will protect your shafts and make it easy to pull each club out of the bag (whether you’re walking, riding, or carrying).

After recently investing in a 14-compartment bag I can say it’s well worth it. While it does weigh a bit more than a smaller carry bag, it protects the clubs so much more. Not to mention, it’s nice for each club to have a specific spot in the bag (which makes it less likely to lose one). 

How do you decide what clubs to put in your bag? 

This is a great question and can make a huge difference in your average score. Whether you’re a 20-handicap or a scratch golfer, it’s essential to play clubs that match your game

Higher handicap golfers will benefit more from fairway woods and hybrids vs. long irons. They might not need as many wedges (2-3) vs. carrying four as well. Here’s what a typical setup might look like for 20+ handicaps:

  • Driver, 3-wood, 5-wood
  • 2 hybrids, 5-9 iron
  • 2–3 wedges 
  • Putter

Mid-handicap golfers will have a good mix of hybrids, utility irons, and wedges. Here’s what a typical setup might look like:

  • Driver, 3-wood, 5-wood or hybrid
  • 1 hybrid, 4-9 iron 
  • 2–3 wedges 
  • Putter 

While low handicap golfers tend to have more long irons (or driving irons) and a fourth wedge. Here’s a typical set-up for a single digit handicap or scratch golfer:

  • Driver, 3-wood, 2-iron or 2H
  • 4-9 iron 
  • 4 wedges
  • Putter

Make sure all the clubs have a specific purpose in your bag to make the game easier! 

How many clubs can you use in a round of golf?

If you’ve played golf in competition (or plan too) you need the right amount of clubs. The USGA limit is 14 clubs, any more than that and you will get penalty strokes or disqualified.

Here’s a little more information on the USGA’s website“You are allowed to carry up to 14 clubs for play (but you can have fewer). There is no restriction on the type of clubs you carry so long as they conform to the Rules – for instance you can carry multiple putters, multiple drivers, or some left-handed clubs and some right-handed clubs.”

They also noted that if you do lose a club during the round, you are unable to replace it. However, if a golf club breaks during a swing, you can replace it or the shaft (assuming you have an extra). Plus, if you start with less than 14, you are allowed to add more during the round as long as you don’t cause a delay. 

Are you allowed 14 clubs and a putter?

No, your putter counts as one of your 14 putters. Alignment sticks, certain training aids, and retrievers do not count as one of your 14 clubs. 

Does a golf ball retriever count as a club?

No, a golf ball retriever does not count as one of your 14 clubs. So if you need to carry a retriever to fish out some golf balls during the round, don’t worry, you won’t get penalized.

Click here to find the best golf ball retrievers for you.

Should you play the same brand of clubs?

No, unless you’re a sponsored athlete it doesn’t make sense to play the same brand for all 14 clubs. In fact, even sponsored golfers typically only need to play 10–11 clubs of one brand to meet their requirements. 

It’s important to play golf clubs that match your game. Some brands are better suited for some golfers than others. For example, I use Callaway woods, Callaway irons, Titleist wedges, and a PXG putter. I’ve done custom fitting sessions for all parts of my game and listen to the data, not forcing clubs from one brand. Don’t make golf harder on yourself by playing clubs with specifications that don’t match your unique swing. 

Final Thoughts on Golf Bag Organization 

Hopefully these best practices will help you learn to properly organize your bag for maximum efficiency. Remember, longer clubs at the top, shorter clubs at the bottom of the bag (regardless of which type of bag you choose to use). Plus, the better your club setup looks, the more likely you are to play better golf. 

This ensures you:

  • Optimize storage space
  • Can easily access clubs when playing golf
  • Keep track of all 14 clubs during the round 
  • Protect your longer clubs with more expensive graphite shafts 

Are you an organized golfer or an avid golfer who has no system?

Let me know in the comments below.