How many clubs can you have in your golf bag?

Remuera Golf Club

There are a lot of different types of golf clubs, and for a beginner, it might be a bit overwhelming to fully understand which club does what and how many you need to have.

It’s very important to know how many clubs you can carry in your bag. We will go through how many golf clubs you are permitted to carry according to the official regulations, as well as the penalties you might face if you exceed the regulated limit.

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The golf club limit

The governing entities of golf are the USGA and the R&A. Their rules state that the maximum number of clubs permitted in a golf bag is 14, and all clubs and balls must conform to all regulations.

Additionally, players cannot replace damaged or lost clubs and cannot use any equipment that gives an unfair or artificial advantage. There is no minimum number of clubs you can carry, so it is not necessary to have the maximum number of clubs if you don’t want to.

You are also allowed to add clubs to your bag during a round, as long as you restrict it to 14 clubs. So, for example, if you start a round with 11 clubs, you could add up to 3 clubs without any penalty.

To reiterate, all golfers are limited to carrying no more than 14 golf clubs in their bag during a round, and failure to do so will result in penalties.

Penalties for exceeding the limit

The penalty for carrying too many clubs in your bag is two strokes for each hole where a breach of the rule happened. So, if you have 15 clubs in your bag, but only realise this after you reach the second hole, you’ll incur a four-stroke penalty. A four-stroke penalty is the highest stroke penalty you receive.

The penalty is assessed at the end of the hole if you’re in the middle of one, and if you’re in between holes, the penalty concerns the hole you just finished. In Match Play, the penalty is one hole, so if you break the rule, the total match score is changed instead of simply losing the hole you’re currently on.

Using your partner’s club

Unfortunately, you are not permitted to use your partner’s golf club while playing. You cannot use any other player’s club during your round to make a stroke that counts towards your score.

Of course, you can test out a friend’s club(s) on the range for practice, but when you play the course, you must stick to using your own equipment.

You can, however, carry your clubs in the same golf bag as your playing partner, should you wish to do so. You just have to make sure to identify which clubs belong to whom.

The types of clubs in your bag

All the golf clubs you use or carry during a round must conform to the regulations on clubs. Apart from this, the actual types of clubs you bring are not restricted. So, you can carry whichever types of clubs you would like, as long you limit them to 14 in total.