The number and type of clubs that a golfer may use can be overwhelming to a new golfer. There are so many to choose from, and so many configurations those clubs come in. When starting to build your set of clubs we would suggest starting with a standard assortment and fine tuning your club selection as you discover your game and how equipment may help improve it.
In general, the standard golf clubs you need in your set is made up of 14 clubs and consists of:
Driver – This is your long distance club. The driver is used almost exclusively from the tee box for crushing those drives down the fairway.
3 woods and 5 woods are considered fairway woods. While any club can be used off of the tee these are also designed to help with long fairway and rough shots. These have a lower profile than drivers and help get the ball off of the ground even if it is in the rough.
Irons are used for mid distance shots. Most players carry 8 iron type clubs. These are usually a 3 iron through pitching wedge in their bag.
Specialty wedges are high lofted clubs used for shots close to the green or other times you may need to get the ball up in the air quickly without too much distance. You may find that if you end up behind a tree the safe play is to use a wedge to pop it out of the rough and onto the fairway. In their role around the green (Chipping), these clubs help give the ball a lot of spin and help it bite into the turf on the green for more control over how your shot rolls and getting the ball close to the hole. Many players carry 3 or even 4 wedges in their bag.
Putters are used on the green to roll the ball to its ultimate destination, the hole. Putters are possibly the most personal club in every golfer’s bag and come in all sorts of shapes and styles. No shape is inherently better than any other, it all comes down to what feels right and performs for the individual golfer.
As you can see, a set of clubs made up of a driver, two fairway woods, 8 irons, two specialty wedges, and a putter makes 14 clubs and is permissible under the rules of golf.
The beauty of the rules of golf is you can mix and match any conforming clubs you want in the set you use as long as the total number of clubs in play is limited to 14 clubs or less. The rule governing the exact number of clubs is USGA rule 4-4.
4-4. Maximum of Fourteen Clubs
- a. Selection and Addition of Clubs
The player must not start a stipulated round with more than fourteen clubs. He is limited to the clubs thus selected for that round, except that if he started with fewer than fourteen clubs, he may add any number, provided his total number does not exceed fourteen.
The addition of a club or clubs must not unduly delay play (Rule 6-7) and the player must not add or borrow any club selected for play by any other person playing on the course or by assembling components carried by or for the player during the stipulated round.