You’re familiar with the scene: you’re flipping channels and come across a golf tournament. There are all the golfers traveling along the green with their caddies. And the caddie is usually carrying a golf bag with what looks like a million golf clubs in it. But why all those clubs? And how do the golfers know which one to use?
So, what are the 14 clubs in a golf bag? Golfers are allowed to have up to 14 clubs in a golf bag, each serving a specific purpose. The most common setup is:
- Pitching wedge
- Sand wedge
- Gap wedge
- Lob wedge
- 5 iron
- 6 iron
- 7 iron
- 8 iron
- 9 iron
- 4 hybrid
A golf club is what’s used by golfers to hit the golf ball. They are typically made to have a long shaft, a grip, and a club head. Each club has what’s called a loft angle. This helps with creating a specific trajectory for the golf ball when it is hit. We will look at the most common types professional golfers use.
Now, let’s break it down and explore what each golf club does.
The driver’s use is very simple. This is typically the club used to tee off because it allows the golfer to hit the ball a great distance. Sometimes it might be used in the fairway, but that’s very rare.
The wedges are used for short, high shots. Typically those shots that need to be made near the green or in a sand bunker. There are a few types of wedges:
- Pitching wedge – you can use this wedge with a full swing to help get a higher shot and lift the ball over a tree or a bush. It can also be used on the sand if the golf ball is sitting on the surface.
- Sand wedge – this club is designed for getting the golf ball out of a sand bunker. Sand bunkers are sunken portions of the course, filled with sand. It can be very difficult to get your ball out if it lands in here. The wedge is specifically designed with a wide sole (think sole of foot, it’s where the club rests on the ground) which helps the club glide through the sand. You can also use this type of club in a thick rough (the area between the fairway and the out-of-bounds markers) or mud.
- Gap wedge – This wedge was designed to quite literally fill the gap between sand and pitching wedges. This means the gap wedge to hit a shot higher and shorter than that of a pitching wedge, but longer and lower than that of a sand wedge.
- Lob wedge – Lob wedges are angled as a L-shape and are most often used to put shots over hazards (water, bunkers, etc.) and/or obstructions. When the golf ball is hit with a lob wedge, it leaves the ground in an extremely high arc allowing it to clear whatever obstacle.
The 3-wood is to be used on the fairway (the closely mowed area of the course that falls between a tee and a green) and allows the ball to remain lower and travel further. Typically the use of this club aids in accuracy. You can use this club to tee off.
The 5-wood has a higher loft than a 3-wood. Remember, the loft is what helps with determining the angle and trajectory of the shot. A good rule of thumb to remember is the the higher the golf club number, the higher the loft and the shorter the club shaft. The 5-wood is typically used in the second shot of play, hitting the ball from the fairway.
The putter’s function is to put the golf ball into the hole. This club is used on the green (the area of the course where the flagstick and hole are located). Once the ball is close enough to the hole that you don’t have to completely slam it with a club, you would use the putter. If you’ve ever played miniature golf, sometimes referred to as “putt-putt”, these are the clubs you use around the mini course. They are designed to deliver a smooth shot which usually rolls the ball right into the hole.
The iron clubs are usually used if you find yourself less than 200 yards away from the green. A rule of thumb for these clubs is the closer you are to the green, the higher the number of the iron you’ll use. The higher numbers are easier to hit than the lower numbers, making them a favorite among senior golfers and women golfers.
The term “hybrid” simply means a cross between two things. With the hybrid club, you get a combination of a wood golf head design with an iron length shaft. Some golfers will use a 4 hybrid instead of a 4-wood. Most hybrids match up with their wood or iron counterpart, but the most important thing to look for is the loft of the club. The hybrid will be easier to hit and performs well in terms of distance and accuracy.
Do I Need all of These Clubs?
The short answer is no. While golfers are legally allowed to carry up to 14 clubs in their golf bag, having 14 is not a requirement. You can golf with as many clubs as you’d like, so long as the number does not exceed the 14. There are other types of golf clubs available, but the most common setup is with those we’ve discussed: driver, wedges, 3-wood, 5-wood, putter, 5-9 irons, and 4 hybrid. You can choose any combination of clubs you’d like. Golf club sets are unique to the individual. I’d recommend trying a few and finding out which is most comfortable and works for you!
Conclusion: What 14 Clubs are in a Golf Bag?
The most common setup in a golf bag includes these 14 golf clubs:
- 1 driver
- 4 wedges (pitching wedge, sand wedge, gap wedge, lob wedges)
- 2 woods (3-wood and 5-wood)
- 1 putter
- 5 irons (5 iron, 6 iron, 7 iron, 8 iron, 9 iron)
- 1 hybrid golf club (a combination of a wood golf head design with an iron length shaft)