Which Clubs to Carry On the Course: Basic Club Rules

Which Clubs to Carry On the Course: Basic Club Rules

As a new golfer, it’s important to know all of the rules of the game of golf, including which clubs to carry to the course and how many golf clubs in a bag are allowed on the green. According to the Golf Association, the golfer is allowed to bring along a total of fourteen clubs, but they don’t state which clubs have to be used. Basically, you’re allowed to use up to fourteen clubs, but the type and style of the club is totally up to you.

Key Takeaway: The clubs you choose should be based on your skill level, playing style, and general preference. But the clubs you’ll get in a standard set usually consist of many essential clubs that most pros recommend. There’s really no rhyme or reason to it, but over the years, these sets have included what has come to be considered the standard clubs to use. But that doesn’t necessarily mean those are the clubs you even need or have to use.

So, let’s look at the clubs that come in a standard set, and the clubs you can purchase separately, to create an arsenal that’s perfect for you and your golf game.

The Average Golf Club Set

If you decide to buy a golf club set, many of them come with the same type and same amount of clubs. You don’t have to use all of the clubs in a set, but many skilled golfers use several of the standard clubs.

In the average set, you’ll find the following clubs:

  • Three woods
  • One hybrid
  • Seven irons
  • Putter

This gives you a total of twelve clubs, so you can add your own favorite type of hybrid or even another wedge.

The clubs you choose can be a matter of personal preference and what feels good to you. If you’re a beginner, testing out different styles and types of clubs will help you become more familiar with your options and can give you a better feel of what you can expect in terms of hitting power.


Considered the most-specialized type of club, the putter is available in a wide variety of sizes. Obviously, the putter is used for putting and they’re the go-to choice for the last stroked played on a hole.

Compared to any other type of club, including irons and hybrids, there are far more putter shapes and sizes to choose from. Many golfers believe that this is because choosing the right putter is a very personal choice and one that’s specific to the skill and the playing style of each individual golfer.

The putter comes in a few clubhead style options, with three different lengths to choose from.

In terms of clubhead options, you can choose from a mallet, heel-toe, or traditional blade clubhead. The traditional blade putter features a clubhead that’s shallow and narrow, with a shaft that enters at the heel. The heel-toe clubhead putter features a shape that’s similar to the traditional blade putter, except it has more weight at the toe and heel for added perimeter weight. The mallet clubhead putter features a much larger clubhead size compared to blade and heel-toe clubhead designs. The clubhead size on the mallet putter is said to be perfect for beginners because the size of the clubhead is very forgiving when it comes to poor contact.

Putter Styles

putter styles

As we mentioned, the length of the putter can also vary. The standard length ranges from thirty-two inches up to thirty-six inches. This is by far the most popular putter size and it’s often recommended to beginners. A belly putter features a much longer length and comes up to the golfer’s abdomen, hence the name. The broomstick putter, also referred to as the long putter ranges from forty to fifty inches in length and allows the golfer to enjoy a more upright position.

Since the type and style of putter usually boils down to golfer preference, if you’ve never used a putter before, make sure you try out a few styles and lengths before you buy. Whichever type of putter you end up with, make sure it’s one that gives you more confidence when you use it. That’s the key to finding the right putter for you.

Regardless of the shape or size of the putter, each one is designed to get the ball rolling gently and smoothly with as little backspin as possible in order to prevent the ball from skidding or skipping. Most putters will have some loft, but this can depend on the type of putter you enjoy playing with.


A beginner may not have the skill to use the driver to hit off the tee because it’s less lofted and longer than other clubs. This is what makes it harder to hit with. If you’re a beginner, your best bet will be to put the driver aside for now and instead choose a set that comes with a hybrid or two or some nice fairway woods. If you’re somewhat skilled at golf and feel confident that you can easily handle a driver, then a club with a larger face will be your best bet since it offers a much larger sweet spot. These clubs also often have a loft of twelve degrees and a more flexible shaft. Seasoned golfers can easily get by using a driver with an extra-stiff shaft. While they can be tricky to learn how to hit with, they tend to offer better accuracy.

Fairway Clubs

The three and the five wood can commonly be found in many golf club sets these days. These clubs are often favored by seasoned golfers. However, if you’re a beginner and you end up with a set that comes with the three, five, and seven fairways, go for the three for teeing off and use the five or seven for fairway shots.

Wedges and Irons

Many traditional sets will come with a total of seven irons. If you’re new to this exciting sport, until you perfect your swing and get a better handle on the game, you’ll want to avoid using the three, four, and five irons. These irons are much longer than other clubs in the set and are harder to hit with. If you’re an experienced golfer, then you should be able to handle a gap wedge or lop wedge, however, these two clubs may not come in a traditional set, so you’ll need to purchase them separately.

Hybrid Clubs

Some players choose to replace the four and three irons with a couple of hybrids. Some sets now include one to two hybrids including the three and five. Like an iron, the hybrid will have a flatter clubface and a heavier bottom of the club, which makes it much easier to swing. The hybrids are usually shorter than fairways and have a wider sole. A player with a slow swing speed will have an easier time getting their ball in the air, while also getting more distance when using a hybrid compared to using a long iron.

Organizing Your Golf Bag

The golf bag is typically large enough to hold all the gear you need on the course. They often feature a variety of compartments so you can store your best golf rangefinder, such as the TecTecTec VPRO500, your favorite clubs, personal items, and some cold drinks.

If you spend plenty of time on the green, it’s important that you know how to store golf clubs properly and keep all of your gear organized. Separating clubs by type and keeping your balls and tees in their designated spaces will make them easily accessible when you’re playing a round of golf. Most bags are designed to easily hold more than the allowed fourteen clubs, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Golf Club Rules

Do you play at a private or public course? Most public courses aren’t known to reinforce the rules regarding how many clubs you can carry, but private ones do. Where you play can also have an impact on whether or not you can use your golf rangefinder. However, these devices are often totally acceptable, unless you’re playing in a competition. While some rangefinders are tournament legal, others are not.

Final Thoughts

As we mentioned, the type and style of clubs in your bag is ultimately up to you, as long as the number doesn’t exceed fourteen clubs total. There are many styles to choose from, which can be very exciting if you’re searching for new ways to improve your golf swing.

Of course, if you’re not sure what new clubs to try, it’s best to ask friends or club members for recommendations before you run out and buy a new two hundred dollar putter.

Knowing how many golf clubs you can carry may not be crucial if you’re playing a friendly round of golf, but it will matter on some courses, and especially if you’re involved in a tournament or other type of competition. Often, you can find the clubs rules out in the open on in the club’s membership handbook. While sticking to the fourteen clubs per bag may seem trivial to you, there are many traditional golf clubs that take the rules of golf very seriously.

Which Golf Clubs to Carry to the Course: Basic Club Rules
Article Name
Which Golf Clubs to Carry to the Course: Basic Club Rules
Learn about the standard fourteen clubs you'll find in most golf club sets, what other club styles are available and how they can improve your swing

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