I can honestly say that I count the number of clubs in my golf bag before every tournament. I have been doing for about 35 years; it was something that my old mentor Bobby Fortune taught me when I was first started to step up my game and play competitive golf. I was in no position to argue so I adopted the practice and have never looked back.
I am very fortunate that the particular rule of carrying too many clubs (Rule 4.1b – Limit of 14 Clubs; Sharing, Adding or Replacing Clubs During Round) has never been an issue for me, but it sure has for some of my opponents. Apparently, I am in the minority of counting clubs before competitive play:
I think that counting clubs before a competitive round is a great idea. Basically it prevents something completely avoidable from costing me a chance to win.
I have played a few competitive rounds when a player realized after a couple of holes that they were carrying two drivers, 3 woods, or wedges. It seems that those are the most popular clubs to duplicate to push them over the max. After realizing their error, they took the clubs out of play and accepted the appropriate penalty. They obviously were not happy with themselves and I never followed where they finished because none were in front of me on the leaderboard. I guess it makes sense considering the strokes involved.
I have a confession to make. I sometimes (most of the time) count the number of clubs in my opponents bag. I always take a look and it seems like their bag is full, I casually take a look on one of the tee boxes. I realize this might seem a bit over the top, but I think it is a reasonable thing to do.
So, you can see that counting the number of golf clubs in my bag is ingrained in my psyche. I was taught early to make sure that I carry 14 clubs or less and this rule has never caused me issues. Has it ever caused you challenges?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!