Have you ever seen someone put their golf bag in the back of their car as they head to the golf course? Ever wondered why they have so many golf clubs? Well, although not every club is always used for each round of golf, they all have specific and important purposes.
If you’re new to the world of golf, you’re probably aware of the seemingly endless amount of information that makes golf the game it is. From terminology to different rules, it can be pretty confusing when trying to figure out everything about golf. But, in time, you will pick up all you need to know to become the best golfer possible.
One important aspect of golf is the golf club, or we should say golf clubs. There are a range of different clubs for different strokes in golf. From the type of terrain you’re hitting the ball off to the distance, each club is designed specifically to help the golfer play the best shot possible.
But, did you know that there are rules surrounding how many clubs a player is allowed in their golf bag? It’s vital every golfer understands how many clubs they are allowed to carry with them.
In today’s post, we are going to discuss how many golf clubs should be in a golf bag, all the important information regarding golf clubs, and more.
The Number Of Golf Clubs In A Bag
Let’s tee off and get straight to the point. The USGA (United States Golf Association) and the R&A (The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews), Golf’s Governing Bodies, have stringent rules and regulations in place for just about anything you can think of in the game of golf. Gold equipment is no exception.
You can only have a certain number of clubs in your golf bag. The maximum number allowed currently stands at 14. This is covered by Rule Number 4 in The Rules of Golf, regarding player’s equipment:
“Rule 4 covers the equipment that players may use during a round. Based on the principle that golf is a challenging game in which success should depend on the player’s judgment, skills and abilities, the player:
- Must use conforming clubs and balls,
- Is limited to no more than 14 clubs and normally must not replace damaged or lost clubs, and
- Is restricted in the use of other equipment that gives artificial help to his or her play.”
The 14 clubs that a golfer can carry in their bag each serve a unique purpose. The most common arrangement of clubs is:
- A driver
- A sand wedge
- A gap wedge
- A lob wedge
- A pitching wedge
- A 3-wood
- A 5-wood
- A 5-iron
- A 6-iron
- A 7-iron
- A 8-iron
- A 9-iron
- A 4 hybrid
- A Putter
If a golfer is found to have more than 14 clubs in their bag, they could face consequences. In professional golf, there are certain penalties in place.
Penalties For Carrying More Than 14 Golf Clubs In A Bag
If a player has been found to be carrying more than 14 clubs in their golf bag, the penalty is two strokes for every hole where the rule was broken. So, if you did know that you had more than 14 clubs in your bag until the second hole, you will receive a four-stroke penalty.
A four-stroke penalty is actually the maximum penalty for this breach of the rules. So, if you carry your clubs for more than two holes, you won’t get penalized more than those four penalty strokes.
Certain circumstances are taken into consideration. For instance, if a hole only realizes they have been carrying too many clubs during a hole, the penalty will then be assessed when that hole has ended.
If a player finds out they have too many clubs between holes, the penalty is applied to the hole they have just played.
During match play, the penalty is typically one hole. This means that if you break this rule, the whole score of the match is altered, rather than you simply losing the hole you’re playing on.
Is There A Minimum To The Number Of Clubs In A Bag?
Perhaps surprisingly, considering the stringent rules that are applied to golf, there are no regulations on the minimum number of golf clubs you can carry. There is only a maximum rule.
So, if you only have a putter in your bag, theoretically, you can play a whole round with that. But, we don’t recommend it!
An Example Of Carrying Too Many Clubs In A Professional Tournament
Although rare, a player carrying too many clubs in their bag does occur from time to time.
The most famous violation of this rule arguably happened in 2001 at the Open Championship in Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
Ian Woosnam, the former number-one golfer in the world with 52 professional wins under his belt, struck a birdie on the opening hole. This took him into a first-place tie with only 17 holes left to play.
But, things were about to change drastically for Woosnam, and not for the better.
Arriving at the second tee, Woosnam discovered he had an additional wood club in his bag. Therefore, he had 15 clubs and not 14 on him. He tossed the extra club away from the tee and proceeded. But, the damage was done.
Woosnam suffered a two-stroke penalty and fell from being tied at first place to a tie for sixth. He managed to climb back but could not do enough to win, finishing T3.
Without rules, golf just wouldn’t be the same. Like any sport, it requires strict regulations for fair play between all players.
Players can only carry 14 clubs in their bag on the golf course. So, next time your buddy turns up with 24 clubs, politely let them know the rules and the penalties they should suffer.