Counting Clubs Before A Tournament

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:

13 clubs and a putter = 14.
I know you counted!

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!

4 thoughts on “Counting Clubs Before A Tournament

  1. Many golf bags come with 15 slots for your clubs so it’s very easy to fall into that trap. I know I played for probably 6 months before I realized that I had been playing with one too many clubs. I found out when I took my bag in to get all new grips on my clubs. When I bought my current bag, that was one of the 1st things I checked. 14 slots plus a tube on the side. So as long as I don’t put a club in the tube, I call fill all the slots and be legal. Not that I play in any tournaments except the charity best ball kind. But I’m still interested in playing by the rules myself. At least when I’m recording my score. Today I played with a newbie. So the only rule I worried about today was try and stay out of others way. I hit a few extra balls killing time, hit some extra putts on the greens too and generally just had a nice walk while getting in some decent practice and getting to know one of my new neighbors.

    That’s golf for me most of the time. But I’m competitive too. If I were playing in a tournament I’d hold them to the rules and expect to be held accountable by them too. That’s golf.


      • I’m staying as safe as I can. Golf, as it’s being played here right now at the courses I’ve been to is about as safe as you can get. The courses that don’t allow walking are sending people out one to a cart and “supposedly” at least, disinfecting them between rounds. And since we aren’t pulling the pin, it’s pretty easy to keep the proper distance from each other if you are in a group. And as a single which is how I play most often, I can’t think of anything safer to do outdoors.

        Liked by 1 person

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