If you’ve ever shopped for golf clubs before, you’ve likely been floored by how expensive a full set can be. Why do you need so many golf clubs anyway? Are all of those options really necessary? While it can seem like overkill to the uninitiated, you’ll be grateful for the variety once you’re on the course.
On this page, we’ll be exploring the different types of golf clubs and what they’re best used for. We’ll cover the maximum number of clubs you’re allowed to play with, the combination of clubs that you might like to try, and why having variety is so important.
Read on to boost your golfing knowledge.
How Many Golf Clubs are in a Set?
In general, how many golf clubs are in a set? A complete set of clubs is 14, but some players use slightly less than this. Once you’ve been playing for a few months or years, you’ll soon get an idea of a number that works best for you.
Anywhere from 10 – 14 clubs is pretty common – it all comes down to your play style and preferences as a golfer.
Why Do You Need So Many Golf Clubs?
The different types of golf clubs are all designed with varying lofts and distances in mind. In a nutshell, you need a broad variety of clubs in your bag because a round of golf is likely to include a huge variety of different flight paths for your ball.
The distance from the tee box to the fairway is very different to the distance from the green to the hole, for example. To tackle these different distances with ease, you’ll need a good golf set to get the job done.
Your average 18-hole course features a total distance somewhere between 6000 and 7000 yards. Those 14 clubs don’t seem so excessive now, right?
The Different Types of Golf Clubs
So what are all of these club types for anyway? In this section, we’ll run through the types of clubs you’re likely to encounter in the modern game. We’ll explore what they do, how many to include in your bag, and what to expect when playing.
At a Glance – The Types of Clubs and Why We Need Them
Keep in mind that at more advanced levels, the contents of everyone’s golf bag looks a little different. That said, the list below is a pretty typical example of a full set of 14 golf clubs:
- A driver
- A putter
- Two hybrids OR fairway woods
- 6 Irons (4,5,6,7,8,9)
- A pitching wedge
- A sand wedge
- Two other wedge types
Overwhelmed? Don’t be. It’s all far less complicated than first meets the eye. We explore
Drivers are the first kind of golf club you’re likely to use for each hole. They’re designed to provide nice long distances and considerable height when striking the ball. With a decent driver (which, incidentally, is a type of wood) and enough skill, you’ll be able to hit the ball a huge distance from the tee box.
Once you’ve reached the green with your ball, you’ll now be aiming for significantly shorter distances with each stroke of the ball. For accurately hitting the ball into each hole, you’ll want to use a putter.
In most cases, just one putter is usually enough. It’s a good idea to test out your putter before buying – this is an important club after all!
Hybrids / Fairway Woods
The fairway is the section of a course that’s in between the tee box and the green. For this reason, middle of the road distances usually work best. You’ll want either a fairway wood or hybrid club to do the job.
Back in the old days, woods were literally made from, well, wood. These days, they’re mainly made from stainless steel, aluminum, or carbon fiber instead. A fairway wood is designed to offer the mid-range distances you’ll need on the fairway.
Hybrids have become increasingly popular over the past few years, and for good reason. They offer a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario between irons and woods. On the fairway in particular, they can be very useful.
Irons get their name from the material their heads are made from – metal (surprise surprise). In a 2022 bag, the following irons might be present:
- A 4 iron
- A 5 iron
- A 6 iron
- A 7 iron
- An 8 iron
- A 9 iron
The number here denotes the club’s length and the resulting distance you’ll be able to achieve with it. 4 irons are the longest from the list above and 9 irons are the shortest.
The lower the number next to your iron, the higher the distance it can theoretically achieve. The specific distances you’ll be able to achieve with your irons will depend quite heavily on your skill level. A pro golfer will be able to do with a 9 iron what a beginner would struggle to manage with a 4 iron.
It’s worth mentioning too that 1, 2, and 3 irons do exist but their popularity has waned in recent years.
It’s never the goal to get your golf ball stuck somewhere, but sometimes, it’s simply unavoidable. Wedges are designed to ‘chip’ or ‘scoop’ your ball out from tricky spots. Sand wedges are perfect for those times when your ball has landed in a bunker.
Pitch wedges are another great option for lifting your ball out of challenging spaces.
How Many Clubs are You Allowed to Have in an Official Game?
If you’re playing by the rules of the USGA – and if playing in the United States and Mexico, you probably are – then you can use a maximum of 14 clubs per game. Keep in mind that it’s generally not allowed to substitute or ‘swap out’ clubs during a game and you can use fewer clubs if you don’t need a full set.
Golf Club Types – Final Thoughts
A successful game of golf calls for a huge variety of different lofts and flight paths. You’ll need a varied set of clubs to achieve this. Whatever variety of clubs you use, we hope it serves you well for many years to come. Happy golfing!