We all know that 14 clubs is the maximum anyone can carry during a round of golf. There is no limit on the minimum number of clubs, but 14 is max. There are reasons for only 14 clubs, however that would be a topic that would take us down the rabbit hole. Knowing how to distribute the type of clubs you carry is determined by your game.
But, I really need to ask, do you really need to carry 14 clubs when you play?
Having played about 2500 rounds of golf in my life, I have watched many players hit club after club. Most had a full set and only a small majority of those actually use all 14 clubs.
Many players, usually higher handicappers, have their favorite clubs and use those regardless of the situation. I have inquired with a few about why they did not hit a specific club (generally a long iron) and they said in earnest that they never hit that club! I would then ask myself, why carry it?
I find it interesting that the media hype sells the message that it is important to have a full set of expensive clubs. I find it even more interesting that many players agree with this and by default encourage club manufacturers to only sell “complete sets of clubs”.
I think we need to change this paradigm and force manufacturers to make sets with 5, 7, and 9 clubs. When players are first starting, having fewer club selection will benefit their decision-making process on the links. It will allow them to experience the game without being overwhelmed by trying to figure out how to use all 14 clubs.
The make-up of the 5, 7, and 9 sets would be designed to address the actual needs of the players and their skill level. Here is what I am thinking:
Set of 5 clubs. The clubs would be a 5 wood, 5 – 7 – 9 iron, and putter. This set would be for young kids just starting. These are the fundamental clubs that all players need to master as they become better golfers.
Set of 7 clubs. This set would include the above clubs plus a 3 wood and a sand wedge. Adding these two clubs would open new opportunities for the player. They will be able to focus on hitting the ball a bit farther and working on their short game. These two areas will definitely lower their scores. This set would be suitable for the 18 to 28 handicapper.
Set of 9 clubs. This set would look similar to the above clubs with some minor changes. I would add a driver and remove the 5 wood. I would add a 3 hybrid and a gap wedge. You have probably figured out that the increase of clubs in a player’s golf bag matches the growing skills. This set would be for a 12 to 18 handicapper. It may seem like I am holding the players back, but most players in this range do not use all the clubs in their bag anyway.
Once players reach the single digit handicap range they are ready for a full set of clubs! They understand the complexity of each shot and need the 14 clubs. The type of clubs will be determined by the player.
So there you have it, by staging the number of clubs in your bag to match your skill will go a long way to being a better golfer. Do not confuse my suggestions with anything but musings, however if the players demanded these type of golf sets, the manufacturers would comply. In the long run, it would be cheaper for the beginner when buying their first set of clubs and it would benefit their game as they become proficient with the fewer clubs.
So what do you think? Do you need 14 clubs in your golf bag?
I am grateful golfer! See you on the links!