Updated on: January 26, 2023


Golf clubs are clubs used to hit a golf ball in a game of golf. All golf clubs are composed of a shaft with a grip and a club head. Officially, up to 14 clubs are legally allowed to be in a golf bag. Golfers have the discretion to choose how they combine those 14 clubs, such as Phil Mickelson famously playing two drivers in a few major championships throughout his career.

But they are allowed no more than 14 during an official round. If you are just out playing for fun, not many people will care if you play with more than 14 clubs, but make sure to count your clubs before you play a golf tournament or a money match or you will face a penalty. You can change your club setup in between golf tournament rounds, but not during the play of a single round of a tournament. You can’t carry extra clubs in your bag.

The most significant difference between clubs of the same type is loft, or the angle between the club’s face and the vertical plane. It is loft that is the primary determinant of the ascending trajectory of the golf ball, with the tangential angle of the club head’s swing arc at impact being a secondary and relatively minor consideration. The impact of the club compresses the ball, while grooves on the club face give the ball backspin. Together, the compression and backspin create lift. The majority of woods and irons are labeled with a number; higher numbers usually indicate shorter shafts and higher lofts, which give the ball a higher and shorter trajectory.

Table of Contents

How many Golf clubs do we have

Basically, we can distinguish four types of golf clubs:

  1. Woods.
  2. Irons.
  3. Putter.
  4. Hybrids.

What is a hybrid golf club?

A hybrid is a golf club that combines the lofting of an iron with the forgiveness and technology of a metal wood. In using one of these clubs, a golfer can more easily get the ball off the ground and moving a greater distance in a straighter line than they could with a longer iron.

What Is Loft in Golf?

Every golf club has a loft, the angle of the clubface as it is positioned on the shaft. The degree of the loft angle of the club is relative to the vertical plane rather than the ground. Golfers carry up to 14 clubs in their bag that range from the low-lofted driver to the high-lofted wedges. The more loft a club has, the higher the trajectory of the ball and the higher the number assigned to the club.

Do clubs really matter in golf?

Yes, clubs really do matter in golf. Some are set to have an offset to fight a mis, such as a slice. Some are lofted differently which allows a golfer to play various shots around the course. Differences in wedge loft and bounce on the wedge allow for the wedges to move differently through various lies. Be mindful of what you are buying and what that can mean for your game!

What are the 14 clubs in a golf bag?

There is not a set checklist for exact clubs that can be in the golf bag. That being said, there are some general categories of clubs that should be in every golfer’s mind:


Drivers are made to hit the ball off the tee, the first shot on a hole. They are also known as a 1 wood.


Originally made of wood, these clubs are made to hit the ball longer distances than the irons. Now the club heads are made of steel or titanium instead of wood and are sometimes filled with foam. Woods hit from 200 to 300 yards depending on the strength and skill of the player. The club heads are rounded, bulge, and have a flattened bottom. Woods range from 1 wood, the driver, through 8 wood. Manufacturers have developed 9 and 11 woods for shots out of the rough.


Irons range from a 1 iron to a 9 iron. Irons are used for shorter shots than the woods, from 100 to 200 yards, and when approaching the green. Shafts are from 36- to 40-inches long. The clubhead is made of iron and is flat. The minimal loft of the 1 and 2 irons makes it difficult to get the ball in the air, so they aren’t carried by most amateur golfers.


Wedges have a loft of more than 48 degrees and are classified technically as irons. Pitching wedges are made to get the ball up quickly. Sand wedges are used in sand traps because the bottom of the club allows the club to bounce out of the sand. A lob wedge has the highest loft, between 58 to 62 degrees.


Take the best characteristics of the woods and combine them with the best characteristics of the irons and you have a hybrid club. They have shorter shafts than woods but the same loft so they’re easier to control. You can hit longer distances with them and maintain accuracy. The flat face and higher angle of launch puts spin on the ball, allowing the ball to stop when it hits the green.


Used on the green to hit the ball into the cup, putters take on myriad shapes and sizes. The putter is not made to hit the ball long distances but for accuracy. While they are mostly used on the greens, they can be used to play shots from short grass just off the green, rather than chipping the ball. The shaft can be extra long, as in the belly putter, to add stability to the putt. The head can range from stubby to elongated with several shapes in between.

A classic golf bag setup would look like this:

  • Driver
  • 3 wood
  • 5 wood
  • 4 hybrid
  • 5-9 irons
  • Pitching, gap, sand, lob wedges
  • Putter

What’s the penalty for carrying too many golf clubs in a golf bag?

The penalty for carrying too many clubs in your bag is two strokes for each hole where a breach of the rule happened. That means if you have 15 clubs in your bag but don’t realize until you’re playing the second hole, you will receive a four-stroke penalty. Fortunately, the maximum penalty for breaking this rules is four strokes, so it won’t get any worse than that.

If you realize the breach while playing a hole, the penalty is assessed at the end of the hole. If instead you notice the violation in between holes, the penalty is applied to the hole you just completed.

In Match Play, the penalty is one hole, meaning that if you break the rule the total match score is changed, instead of you just losing the hole you’re playing.


Every golfer needs to know how many golf clubs they are allowed to carry in a golf bag. Knowing how many clubs you’re allowed to carry is vital if you’re playing in a match play competition or open tournament. The United States Golf Association (USGA) has rules that many local and state golf associations adhere to about the number of clubs allowed in a player’s bag. Having too many clubs may result in penalties that could make a quality round of golf go south. Chat with a Curated expert for free advice.