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How Many Clubs Are There in a Golf Bag?

Updated On December 9, 2022

If you are new to the golf scene, you may wonder if there are any specific rules regarding the number of golf clubs allowed in a bag. If you have been playing golf for a while, you may wonder why there are rules regarding how many golf clubs are in a bag. 

Whether you are a new or intermediate-level player, we have the answer to your questions regarding how many golf clubs in a bag are allowed, why there are rules regarding this number, and much more! 

Why are There 14 Golf Clubs?

To answer the first question, the United States Golf Association (USGA) states in Rule 4.1b of their rules and interpretation that a player can carry a maximum of 14 golf clubs. This rule was instituted in 1938, and there became a penalty for carrying more than 14. The application of the stroke penalty depends on when you become aware of breaching this rule.

Why is There a Limit on the Number of Golf Clubs Allowed?

There are several reasons why the number of golf clubs allowed in a bag became limited. Before 14 clubs became the limit, experienced golfers used to carry way more – around 20 to 25! This was exhausting for the caddies who were expected to carry those 20+ golf clubs. They also became overloaded, carrying sometimes two bags rather than one due to the number of golf clubs a golfer would bring. 

Another reason golf clubs became limited was so golfers would focus more on creativity than equipment. This also introduced more fairness for other players, who may not be able to afford the same diverse selection of golf clubs as others. 

What Are the Typical 14 Clubs in a Golf Bag?

Now that we know the limit and why it was put in place, we can move on to the next big question. What are the different types of golf clubs, and which ones are typically found in a golf bag?


This type of club is a popular choice for the first stroke due to its long handle and big head, allowing players to drive the ball far into the green, giving them a great start.


There are four types of golf wedges: the pitching wedge, the lob wedge, the gap wedge, and the sand wedge. Each wedge serves a different purpose due to its different degrees of loft, with a pitching wedge having the least loft and lob wedges having the most. If you would like to learn more about the differences between 54 and 56-degree wedges, you can learn more from our previous blog


A 3-wood club’s loft falls between 15 and 18 degrees, with a shorter shaft length than a driver club, known as a 1-wood club. Due to its low loft, it can travel a long distance.


A 5-wood has more loft than a 3-wood, falling between 20 and 22 degrees. The 5-wood makes it easier for players to hit off the ground when they reach the green.  

5-9 Irons

A 5-iron falls into the mid-iron sets, along with 6 and 7-irons, while 8 and 9-irons fall into the short-iron sets. The shorter irons have much higher lofts than their mid-iron counterparts, going shorter distances but allowing for greater control in your gameplay. These irons are good to use if you are close to the green. 

4 Hybrid

A hybrid club has a wood golf head but an iron shaft, a combination that allows players to perform well regarding distance and accuracy. 


Players typically use this club to make a hole from a short distance away, making it useful if you require a short and low-speed stroke. You should always have a putter in your bag since it is a great club for making that final shot and is usually the final club used during a game. 

Do I Need All of These Clubs?

The short answer? No. The long answer? Chances are you will not, but it is all a matter of how you choose to play. While you can carry a maximum of 14 clubs, it is not a requirement, meaning you can carry less if you wish. In fact, Francis Ouimet was one golf player who won the U.S. Open tournament with only 7 clubs! 

What’s the Penalty for Carrying Too Many Clubs?

Players are penalized for carrying too many clubs, but the penalty differs depending on whether it is a stroke play or a match play. 

Stroke Play Penalty

According to the rules and interpretations, if a player has more than 14 clubs in their bag, they are given the general penalty, or two penalties, for each hole, with a maximum of four penalty strokes per round. 

Match Play Penalty

For a match play, a player’s score is adjusted by deducting one hole from the player’s score for each hole this breach took place, with a maximum of two deductions per round. 

Other FAQs

Here are some other frequently asked questions regarding clubs golfers like yourself find themselves wondering.

Does Each Golfer Need Their Own Clubs?

While there are plenty of rental club options at sporting shops and golf courses for golfers, you should consider getting your own equipment so you can have it custom-fitted to you and your game style. 

How Do You Organize Your Golf Clubs in a Golf Bag Properly?

To organize your golf bag properly, you should organize your clubs from longest to shortest, with the longest at the top. Start with the driver, woods, and putter clubs, followed by your 5-9 irons and then your wedges.

What are the Three Most Important Golf Clubs in Your Bag?

This answer can vary, but a survey reveals that nearly 58% of golfers said the putter is the most important club in your bag, with another 15% saying it is the driver. Wedges came in third with 11%. Based on the survey results, the putter, driver, and wedges are the most important clubs in your bag.

This lines up with statistics that questioned which clubs were used the most for shots, which showed that a putter is used for 53% of shots, wedges for 19%, and a driver for 17%.

Can I Replace a Damaged Golf Club During a Round

A new rule under Rule 4.1 of golf reveals that a player can only replace a damaged golf club if it was damaged by someone other than the player, their caddie, natural forces, or another outside influence. However, they are allowed to keep playing with the damaged club, even if the player damaged it themselves. 

Can You Alter Golf Clubs During a Round?

The rules state that you are not allowed to purposely change your club during a round. 

Can You Share Golf Clubs with Your Playing Partners and Other Players?

The USGA states that while you may share clubs with your partners, you are not allowed to share them with other players. However, if you share with your partner, the total number of clubs cannot exceed fourteen. 

How Many Balls Can a PGA Tour Player Carry?

Most players carry nine balls in their bag, but they can carry more if they choose. Unlike the rules for clubs, there is actually no limit to the number of balls a pro golfer is allowed to carry.

About the author 

Bobby Hurst

Bobby Hurst Is the founder of He has been an avid golfer and instructor for over 20 years. He has always been passionate about the sport for as long as he can remember and considers the site as a passion project where he gets to share his love of golf with other avid golfers. He considers golf to be a sport that exercises both the mind and body; which is why you will constantly find him out on the course at least once a week. On his games, he enjoys trying out new techniques, and equipment. You can find his golfing tips, and reviews on some of the best golfing equipment on the site.