How Many Golf Clubs Can You Carry in Your Golf Bag
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How Many Golf Clubs Can You Carry in Your Golf Bag?

Beginning of Golf

Golf has been played since 100BC, it’s beginnings have been traced to the Roman game of Paganica.  Paganica was played using a bent stick to hit a leather ball.  Although the modern game of golf is strongly linked to the original game from Scotland in the 1500s, known as the King’s Game.

Golf and its rules have changed over time.

The original golf balls were made of hard leather, in 1724 they started stuffing them with feathers.  In 1848 the golf ball changed again, and the gutta-percha ball is introduced.

In the 1890s persimmon wood was popular for making club heads.  It wasn’t until the 1980s that metal woods made of stainless steel were widely used.  In the 2000’s graphite, titanium, carbon fiber, and tungsten are introduced to make golf clubs that are used today.

The first Rules of Golf are set out by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers in 1744.  In 1764 The Old Course at St Andrew’s is reduced from 22 holes to 18 holes. This became the recognized format for the game around the world.


How Many Golf Clubs Should You Carry in Your Golf Bag?

There are a standard of 12 clubs in a golf bag.  Generally speaking, these include; three woods (driver, 3-wood, and a 5-wood), eight irons (3-9 iron and a pitching wedge), and a putter.  However, it will depend on your handicap which combination of clubs you carry.

The rules Golf’s governing bodies, the USGA and the R&A state that the maximum number of clubs in your bag is 14.  You may carry less than 14 but if you carry more than 14 there are penalties.

If you want to carry less than 14 clubs then do so, there are no rules stating that you cannot carry less than 14 clubs.


What Are the Penalties for Carrying Too Many Clubs?

The penalties for carrying more than 14 clubs depends on when it is recognized.

You earn two strokes for each hole where a breach of the rule happened.  So 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.  The maximum penalty for breaking these rules is four strokes.

If you realize you have more than 14 clubs whilst playing a hole, then the penalty is assessed at the end of that hole.  However, if you notice you have excess clubs in between holes, the penalty is then applied to the hole you just completed.


Golf Course
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What should I do if I have Too Many Clubs in my Bag?

The rule is “immediately take an action that clearly indicates each club that you are taking out of play.”  So when you realize that you have too many clubs in your bag, it is easy to rectify.  You can simply tell the person you are playing with and/or turn the clubs that you won’t be using upside down.


What Clubs Should I be Carrying in my Bag?

It will depend on your skill as a golfer which clubs you carry.  A beginner’s golf bag will look very different from an experienced golfer’s bag.  Over time the golf clubs you carry will change as your skill increases.

With experience, you will find which clubs work for you in certain situations, and you will learn to go with what works.  It is more important to use clubs that you hit well with and are comfortable with rather than having a specific set of clubs that a more experienced golfer uses.

A very general outline of what clubs may be useful for different levels are listed below.  However, if you notice that something you use is not on the list but works for you then keep using it!

High Handicap

  • 3-wood
  • 4, 5, and 6 hybrids
  • 7, 8, and 9 irons
  • Pitching wedge
  • Putter


Middle Handicap

  • Driver
  • 3-wood
  • 4 and 5 hybrids
  • 6, 7, 8, and 9 irons
  • Pitching wedge
  • Sand wedge
  • Putter


Low Handicap

  • Driver
  • 3-wood or 2 hybrids
  • 3-iron through 9-iron
  • Pitching wedge
  • Gap Wedge
  • Sand wedge
  • Lob wedge
  • Putter

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