How Many Clubs Can You Have in Your Golf Bag?

Golf expert Eric Hall overviews questions he's fielded around what golf clubs a player should consider having in their bag.

Photo courtesy of Callaway

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If you're working on building your ideal setup for your game, check out some common questions I've fielded here on Curated while helping people find the right gear for their game.

How many clubs can you have in your golf bag?

Officially, up to 14 clubs are legally allowed to be in a golfer's bag. Golfers have the discretion to choose how they combine those 14 clubs, such as Phil Mickelson famously playing two drivers in a few major championships throughout his career. But they are allowed no more than 14 during an official round. If you are just out playing for fun, not many people will care if you play with more than 14 clubs, but make sure to count your clubs before you play a tournament or a money match or you will face a penalty. You can change your club setup in between tournament rounds, but not during the play of a single round of a tournament.

What are the 14 clubs in a golf bag?

There is not a set checklist for exact clubs that can be in the bag. That being said, there are some general categories of clubs that should be in every golfer’s mind:

  • Driver
  • Fairway woods
  • Hybrids
  • Irons
  • Wedges
  • Putter

A classic golf bag setup would look like this:

  • Driver
  • 3 wood
  • 5 wood
  • 4 hybrid
  • 5-9 irons
  • Pitching, gap, sand, lob wedges
  • Putter

What do pros carry in their golf bags?

Professional golfers generally carry: a driver, 3 wood, 5 wood, 4-PW, gap wedge, sand wedge, lob wedge, and a putter. Depending on the pro, these setups may change slightly, including the use of a driving iron, hybrid, or other longer club in place of one of the woods. They may also choose to go with a two wedge setup to have access to more long game weapons.

How many clubs are in a golf set?

The answer to this question is simply that it depends. Many “Complete sets” come with 10-14 golf clubs depending on what pricepoint the company is trying to hit or whether they believe a golfer needs that many clubs when beginning to play. Golfers may have up to 14 clubs in their set.

Do clubs really matter in golf?

Yes, clubs really do matter in golf. Some are set to have an offset to fight a mis, such as a slice. Some are lofted differently which allows a golfer to play various shots around the course. Differences in wedge loft and bounce on the wedge allow for the wedges to move differently through various lies. Be mindful of what you are buying and what that can mean for your game! Chat with a Curated expert for free advice.

Should I carry a 3 wood or 5 wood?

The quick answer is why not both? A golfer can carry 14 clubs, so why not carry a 5 wood in combination with a 3 wood. This would give a golfer a greater array of options off the tee and for approach into a par five green. Both of these woods would be useful throughout a round of golf, so carrying both may be a smart decision.

What is easier to hit a fairway wood or hybrid?

Neither is “easier to hit” as a blanket statement. A wood is going to be easier to hit for golfers that like seeing a bigger head behind the ball and are able to make a swing that works for fairway woods. Hybrid clubs may be easier to hit for golfers that prefer to see a smaller head behind the ball. Both are infused with technology that makes the ball easier to hit from a marketing standpoint.

What is a hybrid golf club?

A hybrid is a golf club that combines the lofting of an iron with the forgiveness and technology of a metal wood. In using one of these clubs, a golfer can more easily get the ball off the ground and moving a greater distance in a straighter line than they could with a longer iron.

Can you carry 2 putters in your golf bag?

While technically a golfer could choose to play 2 putters in their bag, it is not a recommended strategy. Putting is hard enough with one putter, adding another putter to the mix and having to decide which of the two you are going to use would overcomplicate things even more. Find a putter you like and stick with one, leaving you 13 other clubs you can have in your bag.

Does each golfer need their own clubs?

Yes, each golfer needs their own clubs. This keeps pace of play moving at the course during the day, and it allows golfers to have their own discretion for what shot to play with what club. In a competition, a golfer must have their own bag of clubs to play and may not use the clubs of another golfer.

Can you use another player’s club to hit your shot?

You may not use another player’s clubs during a competitive round of golf. In doing so, a golfer would be deemed to be in breach of the rule stating that a golfer may only use 14 clubs in their bag. By using a club from another player, that golfer would be deemed to have used all of the clubs in their bag as well as their competitor’s bag.

Can you ask a golfer what club they used?

In a competition, you cannot ask a golfer what club they used on a shot. This comes into play mostly on the tee box of a par three, where golfers are jockeying to hit the closest shot to the pin that they possibly can while also being in the exact same spot. In a casual round, this rule is the most ignored and what club is being hit by everyone is shared freely.

How many balls can a PGA Tour player carry?

A PGA Tour player can carry as many golf bags as they desire. More than likely, they carry between 6-10, depending on how often they like to switch balls to avoid playing a ball that is too torn up from on course wear. One note here is that PGA Tour players may only play one brand and model of golf ball. For instance, they may not play Titleist Pro V1s and Titleist Pro V1xs.

If you have any other questions as you think about building the ideal setup for your game, reach out to me or another Golf expert here on Curated for free advice and recommendations.

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Written By
I have been giving advice to my friends and family about what clubs and balls to play to better their game since I started playing golf. From beginners to experts, they all have seen improvement in their game by finding the right clubs, shafts, and balls to put in their bags before hitting the cours...

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