How Many Golf Clubs Should I Carry?

Every golfer needs a good selection of clubs for successfully navigating a golf course, but what is the best set of clubs to carry?   

If you have a caddy, the answer to the question “how many golf clubs should I carry?” is “none!” You’ll get your caddy to carry your clubs…that’s what you are paying them to do! 

But joking aside, the makeup of your golf bag is something that can really make a difference to the success (or otherwise) of your game. Of course, the maximum number of clubs that you are allowed to carry is fourteen. However, ensuring that your set of clubs covers the full gamut of situations that you encounter on the course is vital.

An average golf bag will have the following clubs in it:

  • Driver
  • 3 and 5 wood
  • 4 hybrid
  • 5,6,7,8 and 9 irons
  • A pitching wedge
  • An approach wedge (aka "A" wedge)
  • Sand wedge
  • Lob wedge
  • A putter

But sometimes there may be an extra club or two that can slot into your collection for different courses or situations. As your game becomes more proficient, these so-called gaps in your set of clubs can have an impact on how well you perform so it's wise to periodically evaluate your arsenal of clubs and swap out the ones that don’t suit your game.

Compromise is Inevitable

You will, of course, have to compromise somewhere along the line and that tends to either be at the bottom end of the bag with your wedges and putters or at the top end of the bag with your fairway woods and hybrids. 

But with a bit of trial and error, and some advice from your golf pro or coach you can figure out where the gaps in your average golf bag are and how to fill them up.  

Fill in the Gaps 

There will always be a situation where none of your clubs is perfect for a certain shot. But by carefully considering the type of shots that your game demands, you can pick out the places where a different club can fill a gap.  

Backup Driving Option 

It's always worth having a backup driving option: something that you know you can hit consistently and reliably well off the tee. On those days when every drive is going wrong, having a second option is a great idea.

It’s worth testing out some of the new driving irons that are on the market as the manufacturers are building a lot of forgiveness and playability into modern-day clubs. Once you've worked out what your second best driving option is, then you can perhaps purchase one to have as a spare for those days when you're driving is not going according to plan.

The Bottom of the Bag

Now let's move on to the gaps at the bottom of your bag. There are quite a lot of things to consider here, the first one being a loft.

How High and How Far?

Modern-day irons are getting stronger and that can potentially leave you with a bit of a gap between your first specialist wedge and your pitching wedge. If you don't think about this gap, you may find out that once you're on the course you'll be unsure about which particular iron to use.

The best thing to do is to go out onto a practice green and hit a few shots with different clubs to find out how far your wedges can hit. If the gap between the distances your different clubs can hit is too big, perhaps you should think about filling it with an extra wedge. 


You also need to think about getting the correct number of bounce that your wedge will produce as the ball makes its way down the green. This is all about marrying up your technique with the correct wedge. 

Many golfers go into the pro shop, waggle a few wedges around and then pick something that looks cool in the bag but may not fill a potential gap in their golf club collection.

The most prudent thing that you can do when selecting wedges is to go consult a golf professional. They will help select a collection of clubs that suit your ability and the type of golf that you are playing. A golf professional will look at your technique, look at the different shots that you're trying to play, then marry up the bounce angles and loft angles of your game to select exactly the right wedges for your particular technique. This will close any gaps between your clubs and add the versatility that you need at the bottom end of your bag.

The Iron in Your Game

There are many things to consider when selecting your irons. You're obviously going to have a trade-off between a club that provides maximum control over your trajectory, your ball’s flight and your end distance, versus something that is geared up for overall power and forgiveness. That's a combination that you can also work out with the help of your golf professional.

You should have a set of irons that you feel confident using because they enable you to produce the shots that you need whenever you pull them out of the bag. There's nothing worse than carrying a club around for ages and never using it, so you might as well consider that any club you don't feel confident using doesn't have a place in your golf bag and should be replaced.

On the Green

The first thing to consider on the green is the arc of your stroke. Some players are more straight-back-and-through putters, while others adopt an arcing movement on their putter, so you want to find a club that complements your style of stroke.

Different types of greens may require clubs with different attributes such as tropical courses where the grass is a little bit longer or a little bit wet. On the other hand, if you play on links-style courses, you may want putters that are really firm and fast to go with these drier courses

Talk to the Pros

If you're unsure about what type of clubs you need in your bag, reach out to the experts at Back2Basics Golf. We'll be able to guide you through which clubs are perfectly suited to your game and help you to fill in any gaps you may have in the top, middle or bottom of your bag.

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