How Many Golf Clubs Can (and Should) You Have in Your Bag?

Golfers tend to get really particular about their equipment. Not just in the clubs they have in their bag but the way they organize it and set the bag up for play.

If you are wondering just how many clubs you should have in the bag and which clubs those should be, we have you covered! Let’s take a look at how many golf clubs you can and should have in your bag.

 

How Many Golf Clubs Can Fit in a Golf Bag?

The average golf bag can accommodate more than 14 golf clubs, but the USGA has a rule in place limiting all players to 14 clubs. With the USGA setting this rule, it makes sense to follow it and be in compliance when you are on the golf course.

Even though you are allowed to have 14 golf clubs in the bag, not all players need everything from a 3 wood to a 3 iron to a lob wedge and everything in between. The 14-club rule is simply the maximum; it is not a mandatory number of golf clubs that you need to have on the course.

Many beginner golf club sets are designed with just 8 golf clubs. This helps to keep the game more straightforward while players are learning how to increase clubhead speed and total distances. Some great players will struggle to narrow down their selection to just 14 because they can appreciate the differences between each individual golf club.

 

Which Golf Clubs You Should Carry (Based on Skill Level)

As I mentioned, not all golfers need to worry about the 14-club limit. To be honest, as a scratch golfer, I only have 13 in my bag at the moment, and it’s not hurting me. The key is to have a set of clubs that perfectly highlights your ability on the golf course and helps you navigate the different types of shots you will hit.

Beginner Golfers

Beginner golfers that are just starting in the game will often hit all golf clubs the same distance. When a golf shot hit with a 7 iron goes the same distance as one hit with a 9 iron, it doesn’t really make sense to carry all of the clubs.

In addition, it won’t make sense for most golfers to purchase all of the clubs.

I highly recommend that each beginner golfer starts out with one of each type of golf club. For instance, having a driver, a fairway wood, a hybrid, an iron, a wedge, and a putter is ideal. Outside of this, it will all just be extra.

Most beginner sets will have about eight clubs, and that is plenty for the beginner player. Once you start to see significant distance gaps between something like a 9 iron and a hybrid, it’s time to fill in with a few other golf clubs.

Most beginners will upgrade from their beginner sets within one to three years of being beginner players. This is typically when it makes sense to have a set of clubs that each go a specific distance, about ten yards apart.

Sample Club Set Makeup

  • Driver
  • 5 Wood
  • 4 Hybrid
  • 8 iron
  • Pitching Wedge
  • Putter

 

High Handicap Golfers

High handicap golfers tend to struggle with consistency and accuracy in their shots. Two of the things that high handicap golfers need to look for are high loft angles and large sweet spots. Most high handicappers will carry a driver and then some type of fairway wood to use as a backup to the driver.

I think the 5 wood makes much more sense for a higher handicapper than a 3 wood because of its ease of use. The 5 wood has a higher loft and can get the ball up a bit further in the air.

Higher handicap golfers tend to love hybrids. Hybrids are easy to hit out of the rough. The hybrid club makes a great alternative to long irons and is a smart choice for players that are struggling with irons as a whole.

The high handicap golfer traditionally won’t want more than 5-8 irons and a few wedges mixed in. If the set ends up with just 10-13 clubs, this is not going to cost a higher handicap player any strokes. So many players have a fairway wood or a 3 iron in their bag they never use; it’s not even worth bringing along!

Sample Club Set Makeup

  • Driver
  • 5 Wood
  • 4 Hybrid
  • 5 Hybrid
  • 6-PW
  • GW
  • SW
  • Putter

 

Mid Handicap Golfers

Mid handicap golfers are those in the 11-20 range that have quite a bit more consistency than the high handicap player. This opens the door to a few more clubs like the 3 wood or even a 3 hybrid.

These clubs can help golfers get a bit more distance and perhaps work the ball a little as well. In addition, many mid-handicap golfers have started to incorporate the lob wedge into their set.

Mid handicap golfers sometimes play in tournament-type events and should make sure that they are following the 14 club rule to avoid the two-stroke penalty. (Four stroke penalty if the error is not noticed at the start of the round).

Some mid handicappers still struggle with distance and consistency in the long irons. This is where it makes the most sense to have a few extra hybrids in the bag.

Sample Club Set Makeup 

  • Driver
  • 3 Wood
  • 5 Wood
  • 3 Hybrid
  • 4 Hybrid
  • 5 Hybrid
  • 6-PW
  • SW
  • LW
  • Putter

 

Low Handicap Golfers

Low handicap golfers are by far the most particular when it comes to their golf club set makeup. The great thing about low handicap golfers is that they have very consistent golf swings and can usually hit the center of the clubface.

With this skill, the golf bag can be filled with clubs that the player likes and feels comfortable with. Most low handicap golfers are going to have four wedges in their bag, one fairway wood, and a few hybrids mixed in.

One of the most important things for low handicap golfers to keep in mind is the loft gapping. Each golf club in the set should have a unique loft and playing characteristic. If your 7 wood and 3 hybrids have the same loft, it’s probably not best to include both in your bag.

Instead, choose a variety of golf clubs that can be used to put together a really great round of golf.

Sample Club Set Makeup 

  • Driver
  • 3 Wood
  • 3 Hybrid
  • 4 Hybrid
  • 5-9 Irons
  • PW
  • GW
  • SW
  • LW
  • Putter

 

Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children.