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How Many Golf Clubs are You Allowed to Carry In Your Bag?

Golf Rules FAQ: Limit on Number of Clubs

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How many golf clubs can you carry in your bag under the rules?

The Rules of Golf limit the number of golf clubs you are allowed to carry in your bag. That limit is 14.

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Fourteen clubs are the maximum allowed in one player's golf bag during a round under the Rules of Golf. Any number below 14 is fine, but more than 14 is not.

Also, those 14 clubs cannot be changed during the course of one round. You must finish with the 14 you started with. (There are some exceptions in the case of a club breaking.)

However, if you begin with fewer than 14, you may add clubs during a round as long as no delay is caused and as long as the club(s) added are not borrowed from another player.

The penalty for exceeding the 14-club rule in match play is a loss of hole for each hole played in violation of the rule, up to two holes lost.

In stroke play the penalty is two strokes for each hole played in violation of the rules, with a maximum of four strokes.

Why is there a limit in the rulebook? In the early 20th century, some professional golfers and highly skilled amateurs were playing in tournaments with golf bags that included 20, 25 clubs. The ruling bodies decided a limit needed to be imposed to keep more and more clubs from showing up in bags. Limiting the number of clubs also forces golfers to become more proficient at playing different types of shots with the clubs they have.

(Note that the official rules allow any number of clubs in your bag, including more than 14, when practicing.)

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