How Many Golf Clubs Should I Have In My Golf Bag?

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Golf is a game where etiquette and rules are considered non-negotiable and must be observed at all times. These rules and regulations include even the smallest details of the game, including how many golf clubs you are allowed to have in your golf bag during a round of golf.

The rules of golf only allow for a maximum of 14 golf clubs in a player’s golf bag. This quota includes the putter. The player can choose the configuration on the clubs that make up a total of 14 and does not have to stick to the traditional golf set of 4 woods, 9 irons, and a putter.

Golfers play the game according to a strict code of rules and ethics, which every player must become familiar with to avoid penalties. The number of clubs you can carry in your golf bag is limited, but what are the exact regulations around this rule, especially if you have a problem with a club during a game?

How Many Golf Clubs Are You Allowed To Carry?

Players new to the game of golf may feel a little overwhelmed with the number of regulations that must be adhered to on and off the course.

It is especially daunting when you are focusing on getting your game techniques right and still do not have full knowledge of the finer aspects of the rules of the game.

The number of golf clubs you are allowed to carry is restricted, but it is an easy rule to get your head around and remember. If you make a mistake on this rule, don’t feel alone, some famous golfers have transgressed this rule from time to time!

The number of golf clubs a player is allowed to carry in their golf bag on the course is limited to a total of 14 clubs. This limitation was introduced as part of the rules in 1938 and adopted by the US Golf Association, also called the USGA, and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews or R&A.

Why Is The Number Of Golf Clubs Limited On A Course?

As golf became more popular, manufacturers began mass-producing golf sets, which typically included 4 woods, 9 irons, and a single putter.

Professional golfers began stuffing their golf bags with as many clubs as possible to cater to every condition they may encounter on the golf course.

In an attempt to keep the playing field as level as possible during a round of golf, the authorities adopted the 14-club rule so that the game is decided on the player’s skill rather than their club choice.

Golfers are allowed to carry fewer clubs in their bag, such as the typical Sunday bag, which includes 2 woods, 3 irons, a putter, and a wedge.

Is The Putter Included In The Golf Club Limit?

Many golfers are unclear whether the putter is included in the 14-club limit in the golf bag. The rules state that a club is defined as any piece of equipment with which the golfer strikes the ball during the course of the game.

This definition includes the putter, which means that the putter takes up 1 count of the 14 clubs allowed in your golf bag.

What Types Of Golf Clubs Are You Allowed To Carry in Your Golf Bag?

What happens if you prefer to carry fewer irons but include more woods and maybe a second putter in your golf bag? Can you mix and match golf clubs in your bag?

You are allowed to carry any variety of conforming golf clubs in your bag so long as the total count of clubs does not exceed the total of 14 clubs.

This allows you to customize the number of club types you carry to your game or the type of course you are playing without infringing any rules.

Can You Carry More Clubs As Long As You Don’t Use Them All?

If you bring more than 14 clubs with you to the golf course, you will not be able to take them all onto the golf course in your bag.

Rule 4b(1) of the golfing rules states that no player must start a round with more than a total of 14 clubs in their golf bag or have more than 14 clubs in the bag during the round of golf.

So, if you have more than 14 clubs with you, you must select the 14 you will use for the game that day and leave the rest in your car or in your locker.

Carrying more clubs than the allowed limit raises the possibility of accidentally using a club in your bag that has been taken out of play, resulting in disqualification.

There are several different penalties for using clubs not in play in your golf bag, depending on when the wrong club is used during the round.

What If You Have Too Many Clubs In Your Golf Bag?

What happens if you accidentally start a round of golf with too many clubs in your golf bag? Once you realize your mistake, you must declare to your opponent that the oversight has occurred.

Action must be taken to take the extra clubs out of play, either by turning them upside down in your bag, handing them to another person, or placing them on the golf cart floor. The clubs taken out of play cannot be used for the duration of the current round of golf.

What Happens If You Break A Golf Club?

What happens if you break a golf club during the course of the game? Are you allowed to replace the club?

The player can choose a course of action if accidental damage occurs during the game or if the club breaks. You can continue to finish the round with the broken or damaged club or replace the damaged club with another club of the same type and take the damaged club out of play.

The only time a damaged club is not allowed to be replaced is if an act of anger damaged the club. In this case, the club may not be replaced.

What Happens If You Lose A Golf Club During a Game?

If you start a round with your full quota of 14 clubs in your golf bag and lose a club during the round, you are not allowed to replace the club during the round.

Starting the round with less than the full quota of clubs in your bag allows you to replace the lost club during the round.


Golf is not only an intricate game to master but also has a large rule book that covers every aspect of golf, from equipment to clothing, etiquette, and behavior on the golf course.

Playing with the wrong number of clubs can incur penalties in the game, especially if you play a stroke with a club taken out of play. The best strategy is to only go on the course with a maximum of 14 clubs in your golf bag.


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