How Many Clubs Can I have In My Golf Bag?

Last Updated on January 15, 2023

If you are new to golf, you may have heard there is a limit to how many golf clubs you are allowed to carry out on the golf course.

You should know the number of golf clubs that you may carry in your golf bag, including the putter, because knowing the rules is part of the game especially in case you ever compete in a golf tournament.

If you’re not sure what the limit is, don’t worry!

In this article, we will discuss the rules of golf concerning how many clubs are allowed in your bag.

How many clubs am I allowed to carry in my golf bag?

A golf bag containing 14 clubs including 2 woods, 1 putter, and 11 irons.
C130 cart bag with rare Daphnie’s Goldfish club cover. Is this bag legal?

The Rule

According to the United States Golf Association (USGA) rules of golf, (Rule 4.1b) you are allowed a maximum number of 14 conforming clubs in your golf bag. This includes both your driver and your putter.

If you have more than the number of clubs allowed, you must choose which ones to take with you when you begin to play.

If you start with less than 14 golf clubs you may add clubs during the round up to the legal limit of 14 clubs.

What happens if I have too many golf clubs in my golf bag?

If you discover that you have too many clubs in your bag, you must immediately declare the offense, choose the offending club or clubs to remove, and remove the extra club.

You can turn it upside down in your bag or give it to someone to remove it from your possession.

What is the penalty for carrying more than the 14 clubs allowed?

What is the penalty?: Stroke play

In stroke play, the penalty for carrying too many clubs is a two-stroke penalty for each hole that you used the club with a maximum four stroke penalty.

What is the penalty?: Match play

In match play, if it is discovered that you have too many golf clubs in the same golf bag, you lose the hole you played with a maximum penalty of two holes lost.

You will be disqualified if you use the offending club in stroke play or match play again.

What is the minimum number of clubs I must carry?

There is no minimum number of clubs, and there is no penalty for playing with fewer clubs than the 14, but you need to have at least one club to play golf.

Can I share golf clubs with my playing partner?

No. You cannot share clubs in any regulation play.  The clubs you use must be your own. You can add clubs during play if your total is less than 14, but the clubs cannot come from someone else who is using it.

That means no sharing between golf bags, and especially not partners.

What clubs should I carry in my golf bag?

When choosing which clubs to bring with you, think about the type of course that you’ll be playing and the distance of the shots that you’ll be taking.

For example, if you’re playing on a course with narrow fairways, it might be helpful to bring a wood, hybrid or long iron club instead of a driver.

Likewise, if most of the holes on the course are short, you might not need a sand wedge, gap wedge, or a lob wedge.

What are the four main types of clubs in golf?

The golf clubs are divided into four categories: wood, iron, wedges, and putters. A fifth category exists between the woods and the irons and is called the hybrid golf club.

What are hybrid golf clubs?

Hybrid clubs are a mix of clubs between a wood and an iron.

How do I carry more of one type of club?

Remove clubs you are not comfortable with or never use. Most beginners should start with either the odd or even clubs in their bag. For example, only carry the 4,6,8 irons, or 5,7,9 irons.

This gives you the ability to carry more hybrids or woods.

Can I have four woods in my golf bag?

Putters, woods, irons, or wedges are included in the limit. All 14 clubs in your bag can be woods if you want. But normally people carry a driver, 3-wood, and sometimes a 5-wood or hybrid.

How many irons should I carry?

Today, most amateur golf club sets only come with eight irons, a pitching wedge, and sometimes a gap wedge.

Can you add more clubs to your bag during a round?

Yes. You can add extra clubs for a game if you carry less than 14 golf clubs. But if you start with 14 golf clubs you must end with 14 and not exceed 14 during the round.

If you lose or break a golf club during the round, it can only be replaced if the break happens by nature.

Can I replace a damaged golf club during a round?

Sometimes clubs get damaged while playing golf. The regulations state the player can use any damaged club in a game, regardless of the damage.

However, the only time a player can repair damaged clubs is in cases where the damage has resulted from external forces of nature.

That means that if you lose or damage a club in anger, you cannot replace it; you must play with the clubs that you have.

How do I carry my clubs?

Most reputable golf courses will not allow you to carry your clubs in your hand. Besides, you need more than just clubs to play the game.

Balls, tees, an extra glove are great examples of items every golfer needs to have on them.

Another option is to use a cart bag. This type of bag is bigger and designed to sit in the back of a golf cart.

How many golf clubs do PGA professionals carry?

All golfers carry only 14 clubs. The USGA rules for golf equipment cover amateurs as well as professionals.

Most PGA tour pros carry a putter, a driver, 3-wood, hybrid or 2 iron, eight irons, a pitching wedge, a sand wedge, and a lob wedge.


Now that you know how many clubs are allowed in your golf bag and how to carry them, it’s time to hit the course! Remember to choose clubs wisely based on the type, of course, you’ll be playing, and the distance of your shots.

And lastly, always bring plenty of golf balls – you never know when you’ll lose one (or two 😃).

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