The Worst Rule In Golf!

Have you ever thought about which golf rule you dislike the most? If you had a choice, which rule would you eliminate from the books? This is a question I ask myself as I started to reread the rule book before starting my Level 1 rules course. After the revamping of the rules in 2019, there is a hold over rule I would like to see changed. I think that with a slight modification, it would greatly enhance an amateurs ability to score will on the links. It is Rule 4.1b.

Rule 4.1b – Limit of 14 Clubs; Sharing, Adding or Replacing Clubs During Round is the rule I want to see changed! Specifically, I would like to add two clubs to this number. I think that 14 is an arbitrary number based deeply in history; times have changed and so should the number of clubs we can carry.

I would like to see 16 is the maximum number of clubs to carry during a round of golf. This way I could add a 5 wood and 4 iron to my bag. I realize that I carry a 3 and 4 hybrid that covers the distances of the clubs I want to add, but I would be more versatile with a 5 wood and 4 iron. I could make a wider variety of shots with these two extra clubs and hence fix a hole in my long iron game. But alas, I am pretty sure that the R&A and USGA are not ready or willing to change this fundamental rule.

From time to time, there are other rules I could kick to the curb. Those are mostly situational and I forget them as quickly as I absorb the penalty strokes. Overall, the rules cover most situations to create an equitable playing field. Understanding all the rules does help shape some of my decision making, but every now and then……

You can see that me wanting to change this rule is purely selfish, but it is okay to hope….right? Besides this is a fun topic to see where everyone stands. So, which rule would you change or remove if you had the power?

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


12 thoughts on “The Worst Rule In Golf!

  1. Jim, I guess you were born too late. In the 1930’s, some players carried 20-30 clubs in competitions. The rule changed in 1938 in the US and 1939 for the R&A. The principal of a limit was that having too many specialized clubs took away from the skill of the game, for what it is worth.

    Personally, I see the limit as one of the tactical aspects of the game. I don’t expect there will be any changes to this rule for a while at least.

    For us hickory players, we can have as many clubs as we want since the limit did not come in prior to 1935. Jim, when we play hickory next time, you can have as many clubs as you want 😀.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim, totally agree on the club limit. Not sure how it evolved to 14 but I’ll bet the first players knocking it around on a sheep field in Scotland had far fewer. After all, we know in golf it’s the carpenter not the tools, right?


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Now that’s a rule change I can get behind. That rule’s been around since 1938. I think it would be awesome to be able to choose between a 5 wood and a 3 iron depending on the lie and what I needed from the shot. And a hybrid of some sort when you just have to hack something out. Today, on hole 18, I was hitting two over two creeks to the par 5 from 213 yards. My 3 iron wasn’t quite enough, but my 3 wood was way too much with nothing but major trouble behind. I got lucky and stayed dry, but a 5 wood right then would have come in real handy.

    As for my game today, it was the worst I’ve played in ages. I shot an 86. I’m thinking I need a class in agronomy. The greens totally had the whole group of us confused all day. It was faster than we thought. Slower than we thought. It turned right when we thought it should go left. It just refused to let us figure it out. I also lost two strokes to some bad luck not clearing a couple of sand traps. Both balls ended up right under a tall lip and buried so deep you could barely make out two dimples on them. The first one took almost 3 minutes to find and we saw it land. I got them both out, but I may have done better just dropping them. I removed enough sand that the next shots might have well have been in the trap anyway. I carved canyons in both of those bunkers. And I finally had one miracle birdie from maybe 18 feet putting from just off the green. That one turned the right direction for a change. The only time it did for me all day. I can only laugh it off though. I’ve been putting so well until this except at the city course that’s always had my number. But this was worse by far.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kevin

      I hate greens like that. I have played my share over the years and just when I started reading them properly, notice how I did not say well, the round was over. Shrug it off, we allnhave rounds like that. What you do next is the important thing.

      Cheers Jim


  4. Interesting. I can’t see myself ever needing more than 14 clubs. When I walk and carry, I’ll generally trim down to 8 or 9 clubs. On the other hand, I don’t see why someone who wants to carry 16 not being able to. It’s not like someone is getting a huge advantage.

    Liked by 1 person

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