Do You Really Need 14 Clubs? Doubt It

If you’re not breaking 95, don’t break your back packing 14 clubs. You’re carrying unnecessary weight and giving yourself too many unnecessary options, both of which are draining.

A couple weeks ago, fellow Chap, Orson Sinclair asked about what clubs a beginner should be packing. My advice isn’t so much what brand of clubs to buy but more on how many clubs you should be playing with.

It’s less than you think.

If you’re new to golf or you’re still trying to break the elusive numbers of 100 or 90, use half a set. I’m serious. If you cut your bag in half and yank 7 clubs out, you’re taking half a dozen unnecessary choices out of your next round of golf.

I would have you carry a:


For the love of Golf, keep your driver at home. Golf For Beginners has a great article on why you should keep your driver in the bag. The long and the short of it; you probably hit your 3 Wood just as far and a lot straighter. This game is a lot more fun when you’re hitting shots from the fairway. And the confidence that it brings will spill over into the rest of your game.

I wouldn’t add a driver to your bag until you are consistently hitting the fairway with your 3 Wood and or breaking 90 on a regular basis.

Actually if it were up to me, unless you were breaking 90 on a regular basis, I wouldn’t have you play with a full set. I know, crazy. And for the lot of you, you’d probably tell me to EXPLETIVE OFF or take a flying leap off a tall cliff.

Fair enough.

If you are adamant about using a full set, there are two clubs I would avoid at all costs, obviously your driver and your lob wedge. Even skilled golfers have issues with these clubs. Take these choices out of your bag and you’ll find your journey to breaking 90 or a 100 a little smoother and probably quicker.

Now this type of thinking isn’t just for beginners; Nick Faldo talks about this being a great exercise for the seasoned player in his book A Swing for Life. This is a great read for all skill levels.

In the case of the advanced golfer, you’re forcing yourself to get out of your comfort zone and play something other than your stock shot. You might not be able to play a regular 8-iron because you don’t have it in the bag. So maybe you have to play a high fading 7-iron or ahard hooking nine. Choice is yours. Get creative. Have fun with the process.

It also forces you to plot your way around the golf course. Instead of bombing something off the tee you’re forced to hit a club that leaves you with a particular distance into the green. Tom Watson would be very proud of you for that decision as outlined in his book Strategic Golf.

If you’re going to buy a full set or you already have a full set, try alternating between your “even” numbered clubs and “odd” from one week to another.

  • If you’re a seasoned player, get creative and learn some new shot shapes. (both books above are great resources for that)
  • If you’re new, observe and record how far each club is going from round to round.

Even if you disagree with me, which is totally understandable, try it. Go out with half a set and see how you score. I think that:

  1. You’ll have more fun and
  2. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well you score.

Don’t take my word for it, you gotta try it for yourself, then let me know your results in the comments section. Did you score better? Was it fun or frustrating? Do you already implement this into your rounds?

Until next time, Keep It Simple.