How Many Clubs Are Allowed In A Golf Bag?


If you’re just starting to learn how to play golf, you’re probably realizing how many rules there are.

In this post, we will discuss “Rule 4 - The Player's Equipment”. This is the rule that covers how many clubs you can have in a golf bag.

The Number Of Clubs Allowed

According to the USGA, you are allowed to carry up to 14 clubs in your golf bag. You can carry fewer for play if you’d like to.

As long as they conform to the rules and the total doesn’t exceed 14, there is no limitation on the variety of clubs you can carry. For example, you can bring multiple drivers, multiple putters, or have some right-handed clubs and some that are left-handed.

Here is a common combination of clubs for women golfers:

  • Driver

  • Lofted woods (5, 7, 9)

  • Irons (6, 7, 8, 9)

  • Hybrids or 3-iron, 4-iron, and 5-iron

  • Pitching wedge

  • Sand wedge

  • Putter

There are reasons for the rules about how many clubs you can have in a golf bag. In this post, we will go over what those reasons are, the penalties for not following them, and common questions players have.

golf bag with clubs

The Reason There Are Limits On The Number Of Golf Clubs Allowed

The purpose of this rule is to keep the game challenging and fair. Success should be based on the player’s abilities and not on how many clubs they are carrying.

RELATED POST: Average Golf Club Distances For Women

Can I Add Clubs?

You can only add clubs if you started the round with less than 14. If so, add as many clubs as you want until you reach 14.

If you started your round with 14 clubs, then you wouldn’t be allowed to add any more. If you do want to carry all 14 clubs, you might want to invest in an electric golf trolley so you’re not too tired or sore from carrying a heavy bag around.

What If I Want To Share Clubs?

You can only share clubs when you have a partner, as long as the total number of clubs between the two of you does not exceed 14. You may carry your clubs in the same bag as another player, but you should make sure they are identifiably yours to avoid risking a penalty.

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What If I Lose A Club?

If the lost club is found, you may keep using it. But if it can’t be found, you have to play without it and not add a club to replace it with.

What If A Club Breaks?

If your club broke in anger, you are allowed to use it for the remainder of the round or repair it, but you can’t replace it. If your club breaks during a stroke, you’re allowed to use it for the remainder of the round, replace it with another club, or repair it.

Penalties For Carrying Too Many Clubs

When the penalty gets applied depends on when the player becomes aware of the breach:

  • While playing the hole: The penalty gets applied at the end of the hole being played.

  • Between two holes: The penalty is applied as of the end of the hole just completed, not the next hole.

Stroke Play

In stroke play, there is a two-stroke penalty for each hole where a breach happened. Luckily, there is a maximum of four penalty strokes in the round.

For example, if you realize that you have extra clubs in your bag on the first hole, it’s a two-stroke penalty. However, if you don’t notice until the second hole or later, you would get a four-stroke penalty.

Match Play

In match play, the match score gets revised by deducting the hole where the breach happened, for a maximum of two holes in the round.

For example, if a player started with 15 clubs and realizes the breach while playing the 3rd hole, then wins that hole to go three up in the match, the maximum adjustment of two holes applies and the player would now be one up in the match.

RELATED: Match Play & Stroke Play Differences

golf cart on golf course with blue sky and clounds

How To Take Clubs Out Of Play

As soon as you become aware that you’ve breached the rule, you must make an effort to clearly show each club you are taking out of play. For example, advise another player, turn your club upside down in your bag, or place the club on the floor of your golf cart.

You are not allowed to make a stroke for the rest of the round with any club that was taken out of play. If the club taken out of play was another player’s club, that other player is still allowed to use it.

How Many Golf Clubs Come In A Set?

The average beginner golf club set for women usually includes 11 or 12 clubs, but it all depends on the set. Certain sets include hybrid clubs which would replace the number of irons/woods, etc.

RELATED: Storing Golf Clubs

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