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How Many Golf Clubs are Allowed in a Golf Bag?

  • Golf
  • 4 min read

As a Golfer, you can constantly be finding new rules. Rules that you didn’t even know existed.

It’s sometimes overwhelming, but don’t worry. I’ll help you to get your head around them.

Today we’re starting with a big question. One I hear all the time. How many gold clubs can you carry?

How many clubs are in a golf bag?

I know what you’re thinking – “I didn’t know there was a limit to the number of clubs I was allowed to take out with me on the course”.

Unfortunately, this is one of those rules that not many beginner players are aware of. They want to go out with as many clubs as they can fit in their bag.

But they don’t know how many clubs are allowed in a golf bag. Do you?


The maximum number of clubs allowed in a golf bag is 14.

Why are you only allowed 14 clubs?

Way back in 1935, the USGA wanted to limit the number of clubs that players could use in a single round of golf.

There were a few different motivations for this decision. But, as you can imagine, the main one was when players started turning up with above 30 clubs in their bag!

Now that’s a heavy load to carry around, but saving the caddie’s arms wasn’t the main reason for the limitation.

It was, in fact, a skill-based decision. It was thought that having access to more clubs made it easier to play a round of golf.

What is the typical makeup of a golfer’s bag?

Usually, a golfer will have three woods, eight irons and a putter in their bag. The math wizards amongst you will see that that only adds up to 12.

The final two are up to you. But that’s a discussion for another article.  

What’s the penalty for carrying too many clubs?

Golf’s governing bodies have stringent regulations on what you can and cannot do on a golf course.

The penalty for having too many clubs is two strokes for each hole where the rule breach occurred. 

This is the case for stroke play.

If you had 16 clubs in your bag and didn’t realise this error until the third hole, you’ll get a massive nine-stroke penalty!

Well, not entirely, because the maximum penalty is four strokes. So you would only get a four-stroke penalty in this instance.

In match play, you lose one hole for each hole played where you have more than 14 clubs. This maximum is two holes.

If you realise during a hole, the penalty includes the hole you are playing. If you remember after a hole, it applies to the one you’ve just played.

How do I take a club out of play if I realise I have too many?

It’s pretty simple here. Once you notice, you must immediately take the club out of play.

You do this by alerting whoever you are playing with and turning the club upside down in your golf bag.

What about if I use my partner’s clubs?

Well, no. You thought you’d found a way around the rule?

You’re not allowed to use other players’ clubs during your round.

You can carry each other’s clubs in different bags, but you must clearly identify which clubs belong to whom.

What about a minimum?

Don’t be crazy. You can carry as little as you like. But you’d be putting yourself at a real disadvantage when teeing off with that putter.

What about the type of clubs I’m using? Are there any rules on that?

The rules state that you must bring clubs that agree with the laws of golf. But nothing says you should have a set number of each type. 

So you can carry 11 drivers if you’d like.

Can I add more clubs to my bag during a round?

Yes. If you start a round with 12 clubs, you can add two at any point.

What if my club is damaged?

Unfortunately, this is still not allowed. You must continue with the club rather than replace it. 

You may hover fix it. Good luck with that.

You can replace it if an outside influence causes the damage, however. 

So there you go. Everything you need to know about the number of clubs you can use in golf. I’ll see you out there!

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James Ewen