If you're just starting to to learn how to play golf, you may be confused by all the different rules and regulations. When can you touch a ball? What is a pin caddie? Do you need to rake the bunker? What's a handicap? These questions are all important, but perhaps one of the most crucial questions is “how many golf clubs are in a set?”
In this post, we'll go over exactly what the rule is for the number of golf clubs in a set. On top of that, we'll also talk about the various ways you can customize your club set, and what my personal set up is. Let's dive right in.
How Many Golf Clubs Are in a Set
We'll cut right to the chase. According to most official golf governing bodies, the maximum number of golf clubs in a set is 14. Since most people want to maximize their advantage, almost all golfers who play at a high level have 14 clubs in their golf bag.
In regards to the actual rules of golf, the official USGA rule is Rule 4 and reads as follows:
“Rule 4 covers the equipment that players may use during a round. Based on the principle that golf is a challenging game in which success should depend on the player’s judgment, skills and abilities, the player:
- Must use conforming clubs and balls,
- Is limited to no more than 14 clubs and normally must not replace damaged or lost clubs, and
- Is restricted in the use of other equipment that gives artificial help to his or her play.”
If you read into it, you'll find out that you can't share clubs, but if you start with less than 14 clubs you can actually TOP UP your bag to 14.
Finally, the penalty for carrying more than 14 clubs is 2 shots per hole for a maximum of 4 shots. If you're in matchplay, then you must concede 1 hole for every time you play with 15 clubs or more (for a maximum of 2 holes).
The Standard Golf Bag Set Up
Even though the cap is 14 clubs in a set, you can style your bag however you like. If you want to use 14 putters or 14 drivers to play, you can! But, if you're serious about the game, you'll want to know what the standard golf bag set up is.
Here is the set up that most golfers (professional and amateur) use:
- 1 Driver (to hit balls on a tee, generally used the first shot of most holes)
- 1 Putter (to putt balls around the green, generally used the last few shots of all holes)
- 2-4 Wedges (lob wedge, sand wedge, approach wedge, pitching wedge)
- 5-7 Irons (to hit approach shots with; usually 9 iron to 3 iron)
- 1-4 Fairway Woods and/or Hybrids (to hit long shots in the fairway with – hence the name fairway wood; usually a 3 wood or 5 wood)
This is the set up that is optimized for most golfers. It allows you a club for almost every situation and a wide variety of distances.
My Personal 14 Club Set Up
After 14 years of golfing (8 of which were competitive), I've finally crafted the perfect golf club set up for me. Now, these may not work for everyone as everyone swings differently, but feel free to take inspiration if something I mention below makes sense to you! (also quick note: I used to be on the provincial team and we were sponsored by Taylormade golf which is why all my stuff is Taylormade: I promise this isn't an ad for them).
My Set Up
- 1 Taylormade SIM2 Driver
Most players have 1 driver, and I'm no different. I drive the ball around 290 – 310 yards, and my driver is a trusty tool that I use on holes where there isn't much trouble off the tee.
- 1 Taylormade M2 Tour 3-wood
My 3 wood is my 280 yard weapon when my driver isn't working. In all honesty, I probably use this club off the tee more than my driver for the sole reason that it goes straighter and I don't lose that much distance.
- 7 Taylormade P760 irons (3-iron down to 9-iron)
These golf irons are some of my best friends on the course. When I'm playing well, I'll usually be hitting it really close to the pin with my irons and be left with very short putts. Also, you may have noticed that I only have 1 wood and no hybrids. That's just because personally, I've never been able to hit hybrids and my 3-iron serves as a driving-iron. This iron set covers my shots from 140 yards to 230 yards out.
- 4 Wedges (variety of Taylormade models)
My pitching, gap, 54 degree, and 58 degree wedges help my approach the green anywhere from 20 to 130 yards out. Out of all of these, I probably use my 58 (or sand) wedge the most for chipping around the greens.
- 1 Taylormade SpiderX Putter
My putter is a mallet putter which means the head is a little chunkier than others. Despite not “looking as pretty”, it helps me see the angle of my putter face better and roll in more putts.
How Many Golf Clubs For You
One of the beautiful things about golf is how flexible you can be. Even though there's a maximum number of golf clubs you can have, you can pick and choose what you want to have in your bag. And there's TONS of variety: different brands like Titleist, Adams golf, or Nike golf; used golf clubs or new golf clubs; even different flexes like ladies golf clubs, extra stiff golf clubs, or graphite golf clubs.
It's really up to what works best for you at the end of the day. I've shared my own set up, it's time for you to create your own and start filling up your golf bags… just remember though, try to not buy more than 14 clubs 😉
Extras: What Golf Clubs are Known For + Other Stuff You Might Need For Golf
Taylormade: known for making golf equipment that LAUNCHES the ball; seriously their drivers go so far
Titleist: known for making solid golf wedges (like the Vokey) and decent irons (like the Titleist AP1); also sort of a “luxury” brand: kind of like the Apple of golf
Mizuno: known for making incredible irons (forged irons especially)
Wilson Staff: known for making pretty decent beginners golfing equipment (and it's affordable)
Cobra: known for its work with graphite shafts (one of my first junior golf iron sets was a Cobra set)
Puma: not known for its golf clubs but known for having nice and pretty golf apparel
Callaway: known for making golf clubs with lots of forgiveness (a forgiving golf club is one where you can hit it poorly but the shot will still be fine)
Srixon: known for their easy to hit irons with nice grooves
Odyssey: known for making affordable but very solid golf putters
Other Stuff You Might Need to Golf:
- Golf clothing: golf shoes, polos, shorts, and golf pants are a must if you're to set foot on a real course
- Golf gear: headwear and footwear in case it rains
- A rangefinder: to measure the distance you have from your ball to the hole
- A golf GPS: a slightly more affordable option that a rangefinder which accomplishes the same thing
- Ball markers and golf tees: self explanatory but usually quarters will do for markers and most golf courses will offer tees
- Custom grips: if you want to get really fancy and impress your friends
Thanks for reading through this post revealing how many golf clubs are in a set and thank you for following along! If you want to learn about my own golf journey, check out Everything About Life That I've Learned From Golf or find out How Many cm is a Golf Ball! If you want to be financially free sooner, check out this page here! To learn more about me, head over to this link here. If you want to get exclusive updates and tips, drop your email in the “get updates” box (might have to scroll up a bit.) Let me know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!
Jeff is a current Harvard student and author of the blog Financial Pupil who is passionate about learning, living, and sharing all things personal finance-related. He has experience working in the financial industry and enjoys the pursuit of financial freedom. Outside of blogging, he loves to cook, read, and golf in his spare time.