How Many Clubs Are Allowed In A Golf Bag?

Just the right Golf Club to hit from that particular position is what could potentially lead you to victory. So, obviously you’d want to take all the clubs at your disposal with you right?

However, you’re not really allowed to do that.

There comes a question, how many clubs are you allowed to take carry in a golf bag.

Limitations Of Clubs In A Golf Bag

So, exactly how many clubs are allowed in a golf bag? As per the USGA rules, a golfer should only have up to 14 clubs in the game.  If you’re caught with more than 14 golf clubs in your golf bag during an official match, you’ll be penalized. You can, however, take as many if it’s a friendly match or just a practice match.

golf bag setup clubs

So, you have to take several considerations beforehand while choosing which clubs to take with you for the game. The difficulty of the course, the length of the course, the type of golf match, and several other aspects should be factored in while deciding those 14 clubs for your game. 

Unsurprisingly enough, most golfers may not know much about these rules and therefore, we have discussed a few of the most asked questions regarding golf clubs in golf bags.

Is There a Penalty For Carrying Too Many Golf Clubs?

what are the 14 clubs in a golf bag

Yes. There is a severe penalty for anyone carrying too many golf clubs in an official game. 

Back in the days when the rule was first introduced, players immediately got disqualified for bringing more than 14 clubs in their bags. However, over the years, the penalty has subsided and you’ll either be penalized with at least two strokes for each hole or up to a maximum of four strokes for each hole.

Stroke Play

In a game of stroke-play golf, a player will be penalized at two strokes for each hole. A maximum of four strokes for the round could be given for violating the USGA rules.

Match Play

In a game of match-play golf, a player will be penalized with the deduction of one hole from the player’s score for each match where the rule was violated. A maximum of two holes could be deducted for violating the USGA rules. 

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Can You Use Your Partners’ Golf Clubs?

No. Under no circumstances is anyone permitted to use their partner’s clubs in an official game. The rules of the USGA do not allow you to play using your partner’s club unless it’s during the warm-up period or you’re officially out of the course. 

Surprisingly though, even though you cannot share each other’s golf clubs, you can share the same golf bag to put your clubs in. You’ll just have to clearly identify which club belongs to whom.

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Is There a Minimum Number of Clubs You Can Bring?

Nope. There are no rules that determine the minimum number of clubs to be carried during a game of golf. If you like, you can thrust your way through the whole tournament using just one club, preferably a putter, it’d still be allowed.

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How to Take Clubs Out of Play?

Removing an extra club from your bag is quite easy. You’re needed to immediately clarify that you’re removing the club, inform the other player, and place the club in the reverse direction in your golf bag.

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Can I Add Clubs To My Bag During a Round?

Yes. You can add clubs to your bag during a round. However, you should be playing with less than 14 from the start of the game and you can add only until you’re up to 14 clubs in your bag. And you also have to make sure to not delay the game or that the clubs you’re adding aren’t borrowed from another golfer. 

You cannot add any more if you’re already playing with 14.

A player isn’t permitted to change their club even if it’s damaged while the club count in the bag is 14.

Was It Always 14?

No. During the early 20th century, pro golfers used to carry between 20 to 25 clubs in their bags without having any penalties whatsoever. 

Until 1924, all shafts used for golf clubs were made out of wood. However, when steel shafts were allowed, pro golfers felt that steel shafts had different effects in their shots and created difficulties to work the ball. So, these players started carrying a large number of clubs of steel as well as wood to be able to create a variety of shots in the game.

Then the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) realized that the freedom of bringing as many clubs as you desired was making the game less challenging. And as a matter of fact, in 1935, one player had 32 clubs in their bag during a game.

After that incident, golf associations agreed that this particular rule was hurting the game. Players had the freedom of taking as many clubs as they desired so they didn’t find golf matches to be challenging enough.

Thereafter, the rule of bringing only 14 clubs in the golf bags was implemented. This meant that players had to consider different factors while choosing what to carry to a specific type of golf course. This rule made the process of choosing clubs quite tricky. It also made the game more strategic as you have only a limited number of clubs to hit the ball with no matter where or how the ball is. 

This rule eventually helped players to improve their game and make even more fun.

Other Violations

The USGA rules also state that any accessories that can provide external or artificial help to a golfer is highly restricted and will be penalized. 

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