How Many Clubs In A Golf Bag

How Many Clubs In A Golf Bag: Rules, Penalty, And Guidelines

Author: Larissa Allard

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Comments: 0

Whether it be using wedges to overcome obstacles or using putters for the last strokes on the green, there are various clubs for different purposes.

Plus, as a beginner, you would want clubs that minimize the negative impacts of your swing. Here’s where you would choose different clubs to ace the need!

But what if your opponent uses plenty of clubs for each hole to score better despite their poor golfing skills?

You would lose the game despite your skills, and your opponent would win due to diverse equipment!

Therefore, to avoid such situations and make it a fair gameplay, regulatory bodies have set limits to the clubs available.

So, if you are seeking an answer to “how many clubs in a golf bag”, my research and experience have covered you all!


  • There are 14 maximum clubs allowed in a golf bag, while there is no minimum limit.
  • In Stroke Play, for every hole where the number of clubs exceeds, you will have to bear a 2-stroke penalty.
  • In Match Play, the hole for which there was an extra club won’t be considered even if your ball sinks or goes near the green. 
  • If you have accidentally carried an extra, then you can avoid the penalty with smart workarounds, and my guide will help you with it.

How Many Clubs In A Golf Bag Are Allowed?

USGA and R&A are the regulatory bodies that set golf rules and regulations. According to rule No. 4, which they have set, you can have only 14 clubs in your golf bag.

Therefore, focus on developing your gold skills and practising instead of buying more clubs. 

Furthermore, you can’t use any other equipment that procures artificial help for your game. To be precise, you are restricted from carrying any additional equipment which enhances your gameplay!

Why There Is A Limit On The Number Of Clubs Allowed In A Golf Bag? 

The game of golf has always been much more challenging than other sports. The regulatory bodies understood the need for different types of clubs to control the swing in golf.

Therefore, there was a leniency to the number of clubs allowed. So, professional golfers used to carry 20-25 clubs in the bag. 

Later, when the game revolutionized, the advent of steel shafted clubs began, giving players better control over the ball.

Besides better control, even shot-shaping and challenging swings became easier. Gradually, players started taking advantage by taking more clubs for better game elevation.

Due to this, the legitimate, skilled players couldn’t make a mark, and those with fancy equipment improved their scores. 

Consequently, to address this issue, the USGA in 1938 and R&A in 1939 reformed the rules, allowing golfers to carry only 14 clubs in their bags. It ensured fair gameplay.

Besides, it maintained the game’s integrity in the following ways:

  • Players focused more on developing and enhancing skills rather than relying on expensive equipment 
  • People started enjoying the sport more 
  • Comparatively,  expenses in playing reduced, thereby more people started enjoying the sport

Therefore, you can only carry a maximum of 14 clubs during a golf round.

What Is The Penalty For Carrying Too Many Golf Clubs In A Bag? 

In some random situations, you might accidentally carry more than the allowed number of golf clubs.

In such a situation, the gamers would levy penalties on you! The penalties imposed for carrying extra golf clubs depend on your game type.

Here’s a breakdown of it: 

Stroke Play

Carrying extra golf clubs will penalize you, as two extra strokes would be considered in your final score. It’s for each hole where the number of golf clubs in the bag is more than 14.

For instance, if you had extra clubs in 2 holes and realized at the 3rd one, you would have to bear a penalty of 2 strokes. In this game, the worst is a 4-stroke penalty and not more!

Match Play 

Match Play is another kind of golf game. If you use an extra club for a hole, that won’t be considered. Hence, even if your ball goes into the green, it won’t matter.

What’s The Way Of Taking Clubs Out Of Play Safely? 

In case of discrepancies, you might forget to take extra clubs out of play! If you realize it on the round, you must immediately improve!

  • Tell another player to turn the extra club upside down in your bag. 
  • It indicates that you won’t use the club for the rest of the round.

Thus, you can save yourself from penalties during the rest of the round. 

Can You Use Your Playing Partner’s Golf Clubs?

No, you cannot use your playing partner’s golf clubs as it will indirectly violate the motive of rule No. 4 of golf. Hence, you have to utilize your clubs for the game

However, you and your partner can share a common golf bag, yet you have to use your clubs and not your partner’s.

Further, even if a shared bag is used, the total number of clubs in the golf club shouldn’t exceed 14. Therefore, no workarounds will help you! 

Is There A Minimum Number Of Clubs You Can Carry?

No, there is no limit to the minimum number of golf clubs you can carry. Even if you have one club, you can begin to play the round without any penalties.

Therefore, you can choose your preferred number of clubs for a round not exceeding the limit of 14 clubs.

The Worst Too-Many-Clubs Penalty in History

You might wonder if anyone has borne the penalties of having too many clubs. There have been instances of famous golfers who had to take the penalties. 

Here are instances of the same: 

1. Jean Van De Velde In The 1999 Open Championship 

He was leading a playoff in the championship but had extra clubs during the last round, due to which he was levied a two-stroke penalty. 

2. Ian Woosnam In The 2001 Open Championship 

Ian Woosnam had an extra driver during the final round in the 2001 Open Championship. Since he had violated the rule, he got a two-stroke penalty, which cost him the entire championship. 

3. John Daly In The 2010 PGA Championship 

John Daly, a famous player of the 2010 PGA Championship, had 15 clubs in the second hole. Therefore, he faced a two-stroke penalty of it! 

By penalizing popular players for violating Rule No. 4 of golf, the regulatory bodies have set an example that everyone has to bear the punishment of carrying extra clubs.

The Bottom Line 

Golf is a sport and requires a lot of precision and accuracy during the round. The ways with which you hit the ball differ according to the situation.

Hence, to make things simpler, you can use multiple clubs during a round. Yet, if you were looking for how many clubs can you carry in a golf bag, you would have got your answer!

You can carry a maximum of 14 clubs without a minimum limit. 

The rule was imposed since many golfers started focusing on using expensive and fancy equipment, which boosted their performance despite poor skills.

Thus, they had stopped concentrating on practice and warm-ups, which disrupted the essence of the game.

Consequently, to avoid such mistakes in the future, rule no. 4 states that you can’t carry more than 14 clubs during a round.


  1. Can I carry 2 putters at one time?

    Yes, you can carry 2 putters at one time.

  2. Can you ask a golfer what club they used?

    Yes, asking a golfer which club they have used is fair, as it can help you improve your game and get an idea of which one to use.

  3. Can you carry fewer clubs?

    Yes, you can carry fewer clubs in your golf bag.

  4. What are the 14 clubs in a Golf bag?

    Here are the 14 clubs in the golf bag that you should not miss out:
    1. Driver – Longest hitting club off the tee.
    2. Fairway Wood – Used for long shots from the fairway and rough.
    3. Hybrid – Versatile utility club that combines aspects of woods and irons.
    4. Irons (3-9) – Used for a variety of shots from the tee, fairway, and rough.
    5. Wedges – Specialty clubs with a lot of loft:
    i) Pitching Wedge
    ii) Gap Wedge
    iii) Sand Wedge
    iv) Lob Wedge
    6. Putter – Used primarily on the putting green.

<a href="" target="_self">Larissa Allard</a>

Larissa Allard

Larissa has been a flamboyant golfer since the raw age of 8. With her savvy mind and keen observation skills, she mastered the sport faster than anyone else could. Larissa has always been eloquent with writing and is a graduate of Creative Writing from the University of California, San Diego. Being a golf player for 16 years and a professional golfer for 8 years, she's adapt and has coached many amateur golfers as well.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *