How many golf clubs are allowed in a golf bag?

Golf is an exciting and classy sport. It can be fun yet intellectual all at the same time. There are several facts about this game that anyone should know before going all head over heels for it. 

Although you can play with any number of clubs you want to, if you exceed it from 14, all you have to do is pay the penalty. Yeah, you read it right, a sentence if the number exceeds 14 golf clubs. This is a fundamental limit that has been set for all the players. So before going for a tournament, I suggest you count your clubs first and check whether they are within the 14 club limit or not.

However, it can become a hassle to select which club will suit the best for the tournament. Still, it is the essential part.

One of the essential parts of being a great golfer is fully aware of and acknowledging the USGA rules. Some say that it is reluctantly challenging to abide by all the rules. The few things that need to be kept in mind about how many clubs are allowed in a golf bag are mentioned here.

Number of clubs in a golf bag 

Fourteen clubs are allowed to be kept in the golf bag for a golfer, including the putter. 

This rule has to be followed strictly by everyone with no exceptions; however, they are bound to be penalized if one fails to fulfill this simple criterion.

Also, they all must carry only 14 clubs with them for a fair share of chances in the game.

Reason for the limitations on the number of clubs allowed 

Earlier in the 1900s popularity of golf started to spread worldwide, and there were also no restrictions on the number of clubs. Everyone was allowed to carry as many clubs as they wanted in their bag.

Due to this reason, the players belonging to a well-nurtured background were able to create their own incredible set of clubs with different kinds of tools. It resulted in a massive difference in the player performance as with these many tools; the game became much easier for them than the others.

If nothing is challenging and many techniques to learn, the game will become boring instead of getting enjoyable. Because of the vast number of tools, the golfers didn’t have to learn to hit various shots. But with the limited number of clubs, they are challenged enough to know all the shots from those available clubs only. 

The Next thing which made it mandatory of the limitations of 14 clubs was their weight. At that time, steel shafts were gaining popularity and becoming famous, and carrying at least 20-25 clubs made of steel in a golf bag was next to impossible. Therefore, with this limitation of 14 clubs, many lives were improved.

 Any chance of flexibility of The Rule? 

Sorry to inform you, but there is no flexibility for this rule. If your bag has too many or more than 14 clubs, you will be penalized. So, it is very important for you to know which clubs should be in your golf bag?

However, people consider single flexibility or advantage: you can start your practice with less than 14 clubs, and slowly you can add them one by one but can not exceed the counting. 

It is a simple logic that you should understand, your club should not delay the game, or the club you are adding in-between must not be in the competitor’s golf bag.

Penalty for carrying more than 14 clubs 

So, the penalties are decided according to the rules of different golf matches, like whether it’s match play or stroke play. 

When talking about stroke play tournaments, players with more than 14 clubs in the bag will be penalized a two-stroke penalty for each hole.

A total of four strokes is the maximum number of penalties a player can get. In short, even if you had 15 clubs in your golf bag for eight holes, only a four-stroke penalty will be given to you.

As we speak about the match play tournament, the criteria for penalties are different here. Here stroke for each hole is not essential but winning or losing is. In this play, you lose a hole for each hole, carrying more than 14 clubs, and the maximum limit is two holes. Maybe you could find it quite a lot for just Carrying more than 14 clubs in the bag, but previously the players got disqualified just for this reason only. As you can imagine that there is nothing more harsh than being disqualified as a penalty; therefore, the golfers were satisfied with the penalty of a maximum of 2 to 4 strokes.

Many Clubs are in the bag; what to do next?

Sports are exciting and fun when they are played honestly and fairly. Golf can be considered the most prestigious and sincere game. However, incidents can happen with anyone and at any time, even if by mistake. If you witness or notice that you have more clubs in your golf bag, immediately inform your group.

Additionally, you will have to call the penalty on yourself and have to apply either the two strokes or four strokes on your score on your own. Then after admitting this, you would have to decommission one of the clubs and won’t be using that for the entire round.

As for other options for the club, you can leave it hanging upside down in your golf bag, or you can choose to leave the club in the clubhouse only; the sole purpose for you doing this is that it can not be used to help you in your game through any means.

Minimum number of clubs in the bag

There are no such rules about the minimum number of clubs to be kept in the golf bag. And also, most golfers try to get as many clubs as they want to use and are allowed to. This comes under the category of one of the best yet challenging games, and once practiced enough, 14 clubs don’t seem to be much for the golfer.

However, after considering many tools like wedges, hybrids, woods, and irons, these 14 won’t be hard enough to achieve. 


For deciding which club suits you the best when you practice at the driving range, as many clubs you want to get acquainted with are allowed. You can perform and experiment with different shots with all the clubs you have before deciding on your final set of clubs, and this won’t be considered as breaking of rules or won’t cause any penalties for you.

But, when you move ahead and enter the first tee box, there are lots of eyes, and you are at significant risk of disregarding the rules and disturbing the atmosphere, which would indeed cause you some penalty strokes. 

Experienced players develop a habit of always counting their clubs in the golf bags before starting any tournament or getting ready for their swings on the big day. 

It can be considered a great habit if you count your clubs before any match. All these rules and limitations have been set for the players only to be played relatively by everyone.

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