How Many Clubs Can You Carry In Golf? [And Which To Have]

When playing golf, having the right golf equipment is important. And in the case of the number of clubs allowed – having the right amount of clubs is very important.

It often can get missed, but having no more than the maximum amount of golf clubs allowed in your golf bag is crucial to avoid being penalised.

For beginners and even top professionals, sometimes you can get caught up and forget what you’re actually allowed to have in a round of golf.

Here we’ll take a look at how many golf clubs you’re actually allowed to have for a round of golf, plus a few other key points to remember.

Let’s get into it and find out how many clubs in a golf bag.

how many clubs in a golf bag

How Many Golf Clubs In A Bag?

How Many Golf Clubs Can You Carry In Golf?

When playing golf, a player is allowed to carry a maximum of 14 golf clubs in their golf bag. This rule is stated by R&A (The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews) and the USGA (United States Golf Association).

These 14 golf clubs allowed can be whatever you wish, just as long as it’s no more than the permitted 14. A typical golf bag could consist of a putter, a couple of wedges, eight irons, a hybrid and fairway wood, but it can really be whatever you prefer. If you fancy a bag of 14 putters – go for it (although that could be a tricky 18 holes of golf…)

The R&A states in their rules the following:

A player must not:

  • Start a round with more than 14 clubs, or
  • Have more than 14 clubs during the round.

Of course, you don’t have to have 14 golf clubs in the golf bag if you don’t feel you need them. The limit is a maximum of 14, so if you choose to carry fewer clubs it’s totally acceptable should you wish.

Can You Add Clubs To Your Bag During A Round?

If you start a round with less than 14 clubs, you can actually add extra clubs into your golf bag during the course of the round, provided the total is no more than 14.

So if you started with 13 golf clubs and you fancy an extra club such as a wedge after the 9th hole, you can pop back to the car and grab a spare golf club.

On the subject of making changes to your clubs in a round, however, you can’t adjust any of your clubs mid-round. Say you’ve got a fancy modern driver which has an adjustable loft. You won’t be able to crank it down a few degrees until after you’ve finished your round.

How Many Clubs Can You Carry In Golf
My bag consists of a driver, 3 wood, 2-PW irons, 52 degree and 58 degree wedge and a putter.

Replacing Damaged Golf Clubs During A Round

Having played golf for a very long time and having snapped a fair few clubs in my time, it’s safe to say I know the rules behind a damaged club.

If a club is damaged by you whilst you’re out on the golf course, you can keep using the club or repair it despite what the damage is. So if you decide to snap your putter in half on the 2nd green, you can in fact keep putting with it for the remaining holes, but you won’t be able to go and replace it.

You can’t however go and replace that club that was broken in anger during a round. This is why you’ll likely have seen a few of the tour pros on telly bellying a wedge on the greens, having snapped their putter on a previous hole.

The only time you’re allowed to replace a damaged golf club is if it was affected by an outside influence or a natural cause such as a tree or stone. If this happens you can get a replacement club during the round.

The moral of this story is, try not to damage a club after a bad shot (even if it does feel amazing to snap a shaft around your knee after consecutive shanks). It’s not good for your score or your bank balance as golf gear is expensive.

Can You Use Another Player’s Clubs?

The short answer is no, you definitely can’t use other players’ golf clubs during a competition round of golf. For the whole round, you have to use your own clubs.

It might seem like a good idea, especially if they’ve got a type of golf club which you don’t have in the golf bag. However, it will result in you being penalised.

Bizarrely, you are actually allowed to share a bag with a playing partner with both sets of clubs in the same golf bag. However, each player’s clubs need to have some way of being identified as separate – perhaps in a different section of the golf bag.

Most experienced golfers would only ever use their own bag during a round and never the same bag.

How Many Golf Clubs In A Bag?

Why Is It 14 Clubs In A Golf Bag?

For a long time in the game of golf, there was no limit on the number of clubs in a golf bag a golfer could carry with them. With the approval of steel shafts in the late 1920s, a switch began to happen from old hickory to new steel shafted clubs.

This was a great advancement, but for some professional golfers, they weren’t so keen on changing over. This led to some players having two sets of clubs for the golf course – one set was hickory shafted clubs and the others were steel. Some players were even using both left-handed and right-handed clubs!

With things getting rather ridiculous (the 1935 Amateur Champion sometimes had 30 clubs with him for a round), the United States Golf Association and R&A decided that they’d had enough. Skill levels were becoming less prominent because players had such a variety of clubs allowed to choose from.

In 1936 both the sports bodies decided that a limit of 14 clubs should be brought in and that rule has been in effect ever since. Why did they choose the number 14? Only they will know, but it certainly feels like a fair amount in today’s game.

What Happens If You Play With More Than 14 Clubs?

So now we know how many golf clubs and why you can only have a maximum of 14 clubs in your bag – but what happens if you have too many clubs during a golf tournament?

If you’re caught or you realise during a round that you have more than 14 golf clubs, then you’re going to be penalised. This can vary depending on whether you’re playing a stroke play or a match play event.

For a stroke play competition, a player will be fined a two-stroke penalty for each hole you have played with more than 14 golf clubs, up to a maximum of a four-stroke penalty in a round.

For a match play competition, a player will lose a hole for each hole that has been played with more than 14 clubs in a golf bag. In match play, this is up to a maximum of 2 holes in the match.

The player will also need to remove the offending club from use for the rest of the round.

Golf is a game played with integrity. Unlike lots of other sports, it can be very easy for a player to cheat and not get caught. Obviously, it could be easy to have 15 clubs in your bag without anyone noticing.

However, at the end of the day, golf is an honest game played by honest people. You’re not only cheating yourself but you’re cheating the whole field.

Don’t be the guy that hides a few too many clubs in a golf bag.

Final Thoughts

So there we have it, an answer to your question of how many clubs in a golf bag. While it might not be something you ever really think about, checking your clubs before a round is definitely important to avoid being fined a two-stroke penalty or even losing you holes in match play.

14 is your limit, but that doesn’t mean you have to have 14 with you. If you fancy just one, by all means, use just one. It also won’t matter which 14 you want to use (provided they are legal). If you want to have 14 drivers with you for a round, not a problem (although bunker shots could be interesting). You can always add an extra golf club during the round if you wish.

Like with all things in golf, personal preference is important, so go with what feels best for you – just make sure it’s no more than 14.


Can I have 15 clubs in my bag?

No, you can’t have 15 clubs in a golf bag because the maximum limit is 14 clubs. A player with 15 clubs or more in their bag will be penalised when playing in a competition.

Can you carry more than 14 clubs?

No, carrying more than 14 golf clubs is illegal in golf and will result in a penalty occurring. The maximum number of clubs a golfer can have with them is 14 clubs, which stops players from having an unfair advantage.

How many clubs do pros carry?

Most golf professionals will carry 14 clubs in their bag because this is the legal limit of clubs allowed on the course. Pro golfers would receive a penalty if they were caught with more than 14 clubs in their bags.

How many clubs can you take on a golf course?

A golfer can have up to 14 clubs with them on the golf course, including all types of clubs such as a driver and irons.

What happens if you have 15 clubs?

A golfer who has 15 clubs or more in their bag will be penalised. If they’re playing match play, they can lose up to two holes and if they’re playing stroke play they can be fined up to four penalty shots.

How many clubs in golf?

You’re allowed to have up to 14 clubs in golf, which includes all types of clubs. A golfer can also have less than 14 clubs if they wish, but they’re not allowed to have any more than 14 in the golf bag.

What are the 14 clubs in a golf bag?

The 14 clubs you’re allowed in golf include all types of golf clubs, including the driver, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges and putter. A golfer can choose which clubs and how many clubs they wish to carry in their bag, so long as it’s no more than 14.

How many golf clubs can you carry in 2023?

In 2023, the rules state that you’re allowed to carry 14 golf clubs during a round of golf. This means you can have any number of clubs as long as it’s no more than 14.

How many golf clubs can you carry UK?

The rules in the UK state that you can carry a maximum of 14 golf clubs when out on the golf course. If you have more than 14 clubs, the R&A rules state that the player will be penalised either extra shots or a loss of holes.

Ed Welton

Founder, Editor

Ed is the founder and editor at EEE Golf. He’s been playing golf for over 20 years, competing in many top amateur events. He’s played courses all over the world and played with some of the best players in the game. His aim is to help educate people about the game of golf and give insights into the sport he loves most.

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