Sharing Golf Clubs is Legal – Who Knew!

Before we get going, this is not an April Fools joke. So you can read on in that frame of mind. I generally feel I have a good handle on the rules of golf. I figured that since I have read them, that I would remember some of the nuances of each rule. Well, I guess I need to get back into the books because I stumbled across the rule about sharing clubs that I thought was new, when in actuality it is not. Who knew?

My discovery started when researching the rules for yesterday’s article on counting the number of clubs in my bag before starting a competition. As I read through Rule 4.1b – Limit of 14 Clubs; Sharing, Adding or Replacing Clubs During Round, I noticed this little line in blue:

See Rules 22.5 and 23.7 (limited exception in partner forms of play allowing partners to share clubs if they have no more than 14 clubs between them).

2019 Rules of Golf

Of course I started to delve deeper into the what the other rules were and they dealt with partner events; specifically, alternate shot and best ball formats. I started to think about the other team formats (specifically scrambles) and there is a provision for that under this rule:

21.5 Other Forms of Playing Golf
Although only certain forms of play are specifically covered by Rules 3, 21, 22 and 23, golf is also played in many other forms, such as scrambles and greensomes.

The Rules can be adapted to govern play in these and other forms of play.

2019 Rules of Golf

So basically, I can show up and share golf clubs with my playing partner as long as we do not exceed the maximum of 14 clubs. This is an interesting rule and wonder the foundation for it; I will have to give this some thought.

As I was researching, I thought that this was a strange addition to the new rules of golf. Because I have a copy of the old rules for comparison, I checked to see if in fact this is a new rule. The short answers is nope! This is an old rule (4.4b) and I was surprised that after all this time, it would not have popped up in conversation or my perusing of the rules.

Now, I cannot think of why sharing of clubs is a rule, but I think it goes way back to the days when golfers only carried (or afford) a few clubs at a time. This rule allows partners to expand their set and hit clubs they would not normally carry.

So, today was not wasted. I learned something new and feel smarter than yesterday.

Did you know it was legal to share golf clubs?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

6 thoughts on “Sharing Golf Clubs is Legal – Who Knew!

  1. Jim, I think the way this plays out in a paired event is if you have an extra club you think you’ll need during the round. I.e. your 15th club. You put that into your partner’s bag and he removes one of his clubs. So you can play out of his bag when you need to hit the club.

    I had never known the rule but now that you mention it, you could certainly use it to your advantage if you and your partner plot your way around the course.



    Liked by 1 person

  2. Its articles like this that keep me coming back for more.
    Well done.
    I always thought it was strictly taboo to share clubs. This will be in the back of my head during any future team tournaments
    very interesting…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been playing for decades and I’ve never once played a round where that rule could come into play, but it’s interesting and your explanation for it’s existence sounds logical. With the prices of golf accoutrement going up every day, it may be needed again in the future. Then again, after playing for years with clubs custom built for me, I can’t think of something that would cause me more issues than having to switch back and forth between my clubs and my partners throughout a game. I think I’d rather just play with half a bag than try that. Taking every other club out of the bag and targeting distances to maximize what clubs I kept seems the preferable option to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin

      I agree. This seems like a silly rule, but hey who am I to contradict the experts….haha. I am thinking at a specialty club might be the only case where I would use my playing partners stick. However, the 14 clubs is definitely an issue.

      Cheers Jim


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