How Many Golf Clubs to Carry in a Golf Bag?

By Steve Silverman

The United States Golf Association sets the rules for the number of golf clubs a golfer can carry in his bag. No golfer may have more than 14 clubs. There is no minimum, but golfers who carry more than 14 are in violation of the rules. For most high- and medium-handicap golfers, that's more than enough. However, for top pros and low-handicap golfers, it may be tough to choose which clubs to carry.


For most golfers, three woods are sufficient to get through a round of golf. Most golfers have a driver, a 3-wood and a 5-wood. Some golfers will choose to play without a 5-wood because they find it difficult to swing a wood from the fairway and choose a hybrid club instead. The driver is used on most tee shots on par 4 and par 5 holes. The 3-wood can be used to tee off or hit from the fairway, while the 5-wood can also be used from the tee, fairway or the very short rough.

Long irons

Many golfers will carry a 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-iron. Very few golfers carry a 2-iron. Some golfers will also use hybrid clubs in place of long irons or fairway woods. A hybrid club has the hitting power of a fairway wood but is easy to swing, like an iron. Most golfers will have four long irons or three long irons and a hybrid club.

Short irons and putters

Most golfers will have a 7-, 8- and 9-iron along with a pitching wedge, a sand wedge and a putter. However, gap and lob wedges are used on shorter approach shots. Many golfers have one or the other, and some have both. If both are carried, the golfer may not carry one (or more) of the long irons or woods.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.

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