How Many Golf Clubs in a Bag You Should Have

Depending on the combination of clubs in your bag, it might make or break your game and with all the different types of clubs out there, just how many golf clubs in a bag do you need?

How Many Golf Clubs in a Bag You Should Have
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Before I got into golf, I used to think that it was simply about swinging the club and hitting the ball.

Simple, right?

I had no idea about the long list of golf terminologies that I need to know by heart in playing the game.

I didn’t even know then that you have to use a specific club to achieve a particular shot.

Among all the essential things in golf, your golf clubs would play the most significant role in your game performance.

How Many Golf Clubs in a Bag

To answer the question, “How many golf clubs in a bag are there?” there is actually a maximum number you can carry. During a round, you must not have more than 14 clubs in your bag.

It adheres to the rules imposed by the United States Golf Association (USGA).

Knowing how many golf clubs in a bag is crucial, especially when you’re playing in a tournament.

Doing so would let you avoid any penalties or violations while playing the round. To make the rules simpler,

here are some guidelines on how many golf clubs in a bag you can carry:

  • When you begin the round with less than 14 clubs, you increase the number up to 14 as you play.
  • If you started with 14 clubs in the round, you can’t change any of those clubs while playing. The only exception to this rule is when a club breaks, and you need to replace it.
  • You started the game with less than 14 clubs, you could not borrow from another player.

If you violate these rules, you can acquire penalty strokes in your score. You can get a maximum of 4 penalty strokes in a game for having excessive clubs in your bag.

During a match play, this can be the determining criterion when it comes to winning or losing.

It may seem as if it goes without saying, but there are instances when you can lose track of it.

Again, you can bring less than that number, but you can’t exceed more than 14 clubs. The average golfer would carry between 10 to 14 clubs.

More often than not, the standard number that an average player carries in the bag is 12.

Here are the standard 12 clubs that should be in your bag:

  • 3 woods (3-wood, 5-wood, conductor)
  • 8 boards (3- to 9-iron wedge and pitch)
  • 1 putter

There are no restrictions on what types of clubs you will carry in your bag. Nowadays, many golfers would replace iron or wood with hybrids in their bags.

When choosing a combination of clubs in your bag, know that everyone has different preferences. It would depend on your skills, strengths, weaknesses, etc.

Also, if you want to carry 12 drivers in your bag, you may do so. However, you may find that this strategy is not that applicable in hitting certain shots.

Some types of clubs just don’t work well for making certain shots and in particular environments.

That’s why it’s crucial to have a profound understanding of the uses of each type of club.

It’s important to go back to the rules of how many golf clubs in a bag now and then.

It may seem like a matter that is easy to remember, but it can still happen even to pros from time-to-time.

How to Organize the Clubs in Your Bag

Experimenting with your golf club combination can also help you evaluate which would work for you.

If you play well with a particular type of club, you can change the combination of clubs in your bag.

While there is no right or wrong way of keeping your clubs in your bag, it helps if you organize them.

Here’s a personal tip on how I do it:

  • Front row: Wedges and putter
  • Middle row: Mid-range irons
  • Back row: Driver, woods, hybrids

Doing it this way allows me to pick up my choice of clubs during a game quickly.

Combination Considerations of Your Golf Club Set

After answering how many golf clubs in a bag there are, let’s look at the factors to consider when combining them.

If you regularly play on the same course, it can be advantageous to look at the course layout.

Taking the course layout into consideration allows you to assess which clubs you should use around it. You can look for hazards that you need to get through during a round.

Having the right club combination with you can let you navigate the course with confidence.

  • Course

What constitutes a standard golf course?

A golf course typically has 18 holes with corresponding par values. These holes vary from long or short distances, starting from around 125 up to 555 yards.

Plus, you’ll also need to take other factors such as terrains and uphill or downhill holes into consideration.

Here are the typical approximate distances for each par:

    1. Par 3: 125 to 250 yards
    2. Par 4: 251 to 450 yards
    3. Par 5: 451 yards and up

It takes an average of two puts on the green to shoot the ball in the hole.

Hence, to play to par, you need to shoot:

    1. Par 3: 1 shot
    2. Par 4: 2 shots
    3. Par 5: 3 shots
  • Tee Box

Each hole consists of a tee box where you will place the ball. These tee boxes each have a designated marker, which leads to the fairway and then to the greens.

On the greens, there is a small hole called the ‘cup’ where you must shoot the ball to finish a hole.

  • Green

The green, or the ‘putting green’ is an area with shortly-trimmed grass at the end of the fairway. The ground is smooth to allow the players to make precision strokes while on it.

We call this stroke a ‘putt’. Greens vary in size and shape but are usually around a close 20-yard diameter.

  • Fairway and the Rough

The fairways are the mown area of grass between the tee box and the putting green.

On the other hand, the mown area between the fairway or green and out-of-bounds markers is rough.

Since the rough is a coarser strain with its higher grass cut, it puts you at a disadvantageous position when hitting.

  • Hazards

Depending on the course layout, you will often encounter hazards with additional rules in each game. Here are some examples of hazards in the golf course:

    1. Water hazards: This includes streams, ponds, lakes, rivers, or even drainage ditches
    2. Bunkers: These are hazards around the greens and on the fairway, which can be natural or man-made. Ground staff usually maintain these bunkers, which can be shallow or deep and around 10 feet across in size.
    3. Sand traps: It is a man-made pit filled with sand around 3 to 6 inches deep.
  • Weather

Finally, when choosing how many golf clubs in a bag of a particular type, you need to evaluate the weather.

The most important aspect of the weather condition in golf is the wind. If the wind is coming from behind, you need a club that will carry the ball further.

Meanwhile, if it’s coming from the front, you need a club that will hit the ball gently.

Although you can’t predict the wind’s direction all the time, it would help to have the right set of clubs.

Which Club to Use When & Types of Golf Clubs

You have to tailor how many golf clubs in a bag of certain types to your skills and environment.

Even if you know how many golf clubs in a bag is allowed, it’s useless if you bring the wrong clubs. That’s why it’s vital to know your strong and weak spots.

Taking this into account will help you improve your game in no time. As such, you have to know which club you should use in certain situations.

Which type of club is best to use for which area in the course? Here’s a helpful guide for you:

The driver is typically the longest club and also one of the must-haves in your bag. It gives you the maximum distance when you hit off the tee.

However, since it has the lowest loft, it can take some time to get used to beginners. A popular alternative for drivers when off the tee is 3-wood.

Fairway wood clubs are one of the most versatile types of clubs. Since these are lower lofted clubs, you can use them for long-distance shots out on the course.

As mentioned, you can use a fairway wood for off the tee shots. Furthermore, fairway wood is best to use from the fairway or a lie in the rough.

These are the loft categories of wood clubs:

    1. 3-wood: 14 to 16 degrees
    2. 4-wood: 16 to 19 degrees
    3. 5-wood: 19 to 23 degrees
    4. 7-wood: 23 to 28 degrees
  • Hybrids

Hybrid golf clubs are a combination of woods and irons and typically come in 16 to 26 loft degrees.

The design features a large clubface as wood and a short shaft as an iron. Since the center of gravity is towards the club’s back and the bottom, it is easier to launch the ball up.

They are a popular replacement for hard-to-hit long irons as the same hybrid serves the same distance as its corresponding iron.

This type of club allows you to take control without losing distance or trajectory. It is why hybrids have become a crowd-favorite club among both beginners, average, and pro players.

Most golfers replace 3- and 4- irons with 3- to 6- hybrids.

Irons are the most used clubs in the bag. This type of club gives control and can help you with your approach. The right iron number for you would depend on your skill and preference.

How many golf clubs in a bag should be iron?

The regular golf set usually contains a 3- to 9-iron. You would rarely find a golfer with a 1- and 2-irons in their bag since they are difficult to use.

Here are the approximate average distances that different iron numbers can give:

    1. 2-iron: 105 to 210 yards
    2. 3-iron: 100 to 205 yards
    3. 4-iron: 90 to 190 yards
    4. 5-iron: 80 to 175 yards
    5. 6-iron: 70 to 165 yards
    6. 7-iron: 65 to 155 yards
    7. 8-iron: 60 to 145 yards
    8. 9-iron: 55 to 135 yards
  • Wedges

With its high loft angel, wedges are specialty irons that can produce high-trajectory and low-distance shots. How many golf clubs in a bag should be a wedge?

A complete set of clubs typically includes at least two wedges.

These are different types of wedges that can produce varying distances:

    1. Pitching wedge: The pitching wedge has the lowest loft angle among wedges. It is the best choice when approaching the green from 50 to 120 yards.
    2. Gap wedge: The gap wedge has a loft that’s in between that of the pitching and the sand wedge. It has a shorter shot than a pitching wedge but covers more distance than a sand wedge.
    3. Lob wedge: The lob wedge has the highest loft in your club set. Because of its steep angel, this is great for getting over hazards near the hole between 35 and 90 yards.
    4. Sand wedge: The sand wedge is best for getting the ball out of a bunker and sand traps around the green.

Your club set wouldn’t be complete without a putter. You can use this type of club to hit the ball when you’re on the green. The right putter is great for shots near the hole.

It would help you find the bottom of the cup once you reach the green.

When choosing the right putter, you have to take into account its features, such as the clubhead and length. It would allow you to keep a good score all throughout the game.

Here are the three categories of putters:

    1. Blade putters: It has a thin clubhead that is best for hitting faster shots when you’re on the greens. It’s also the best choice of putter for straight putting strokes.
    2. Mallet putters: Its deep headed design gives a low and deep center of gravity. Hence, mallet putters are best for off-center hits and slower greens.
    3. Weighted putters: This type of putter is best for all playing styles. With its long and thin blades, it offers excellent centeredness for your putt.

Right Golf Clubs Based on Your Skill Level

For beginners, the standard set golf club set would come with 10 to 12 clubs. This standard set includes everything you need to play a round of golf.

The attributes of these sets focus on distance and ball striking. Later on, average players would usually complete the 14 clubs along with their personal choices of clubs.

Based on general skill levels, here’s my suggestion on which clubs would be best for you. Take note that these are only suggestions based on generalities.

If a certain club works for you and it’s not on the list, then you shouldn’t mind it. Remember, it works differently for each player, so it’s better to stick to your preference.

Instead of a hard-to-hit driver for beginners, you may want to use a fourth wedge, 3-wood, or hybrid. It gives you a chance to hit better off the tee.

Moreover, adding a pair of a gap and lob wedges can provide you additional options when on the course.

    1. 3-wood or 2-hybrid
    2. 3- to 9-iron
    3. Drive
    4. Putter
    5. Gap, lob, or pitching wedge
    6. Putter

Average players have better control when using the driver.

Although, you might still prefer using a 3-wood when hitting off the tee. Average players may find it better to play with hybrids than longer irons.

    1. 3-wood
    2. 4- and 5-hybrids
    3. 6- to 9-irons
    4. Driver
    5. Sand and pitching wedge
    6. Putter
  • Pro and Seasoned Player Clubs

As you move forward to being a seasoned player, you may start to consider personalizing your clubs.

Usually, since you can already hit far enough, you might replace a ling iron for an additional wedge.

It is best to have a custom fitting in order to suit your playing style better when you’re at this skill level.

    1. 3-wood
    2. 4- to 6- hybrids
    3. 7- to 9- irons
    4. Pitching wedge
    5. Putter

Again, how many golf clubs in a bag and its assortment would depend solely on your skills and preference.

You have to continually work on your strengths and weaknesses to improve your game.

For beginners, you first need to learn your average distance in each club to know which works for a particular shot.

Doing so would allow you to choose the most suitable clubs for your playing style.

Know Your Clubs!

In this article, we uncover how many golf clubs in a bag there are and what those clubs are.

To reiterate, always remember to count your clubs before jumping in on a game.

Furthermore, you have to be aware of each club’s uses and the playing conditions to plan your club set accordingly.

The right set of clubs would allow you to play at your peak condition to hit better shots.

To progress with your game, you must be aware of each club you’re putting in their bag.

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Last Updated on March 2, 2023 by Paul Roger Steinberg