The 14 clubs rule is troubling me

I am a person that is sticking to rules, no matter what. This includes golf rules I adhere to.

There is one rule however that I question from time to time. Not really questioning the existence per se, but I struggle with it somehow. I am speaking of rule 4.1b(1): „A player must not start a round with more than 14 clubs, or have more than 14 clubs during the round.“

It sounds easy and easy to follow but there is more to it, at least from my perspective. In case you would like to know the origins of this rule, you should read this Golfdigest article.

Several years I struggled with my woods. As a tendency I excelled with irons, including 3- and 2-iron. The 2-iron was my absolute go-to driving iron which I used in almost every situation. And I had no real pressure, I worked my way down to a 12 handicap with just irons in my bag.

In the meantime I managed to progress with my woods fortunately. And I totally digged the importance of a good, long and straight tee shot with a (hybrid) wood. With that in mind, I bought myself a set of woods: driver, 3-wood, 5-wood — and I even thought about a 7-wood.

On the lower end of the club spectrum I kept it simple with 52- and 56-degree wedges, but as I started to use a chipper, all this obviously adds up.

Doing the math:

  1. Driver
  2. 3-wood
  3. 5-wood
  4. 2-hybrid
  5. 2-iron
  6. 3-iron
  7. 4-iron
  8. 5-iron
  9. 6-iron
  10. 7-iron
  11. 8-iron
  12. 9-iron
  13. Pitching wedge
  14. Chipper
  15. 52-degree wedge
  16. 56-degree wedge
  17. Putter

Seventeen clubs… So what I do in the parking lot when I play a comp, I decide impromptu which three clubs I would leave behind in the car. Not an easy decision, you can believe me.

2-hybrid and 2-iron is obviously a bit redundant, that‘s usually an easy decision. Then I mostly leave the driver out to be more on the safe side with my 3- and 5-woods. Still one club to take out. Chipper? 3-iron? No idea… Different every time I‘m thinking about it.

You see, it‘s a challenge. Not the biggest in life, granted, but still a challenge.

Do you have similar problems putting together your bag? I‘d be grateful if one would be allowed to carry 15 clubs to be honest. And when you read the Golfdigest article I linked above, you see there shouldn‘t be a real problem with such rule after all. What’s your opinion?

2 thoughts on “The 14 clubs rule is troubling me

  1. When I carry my bag I reduce it to 8-9 clubs. The score is normally not worse than with a full bag.
    For longer rounds I normally hit the range upfront and filter out the club’s that don’t work on that day. A club that worked yesterday is not guaranteed to work today. Easy. 😁

  2. That sounds like a great plan, at least for your normal weekend round, especially when you‘re carrying. Thanks for sharing.
    I would fear however that I would miss out. And too often stuff that worked on the range did not work on the course—and vice versa. It‘s a good advice nonetheless.

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