Having an extra club in your bag – or more than one extra club – is a huge advantage in golf. It gives you less decision making because you can have that club for a specific yardage that you otherwise would have had to make a swing adjustment for. A stock swing is always preferable to a swing adjustment because it’s practiced more.
Rule 4-4 that stipulates that a player must not start a round with more than 14 clubs. In stroke play the penalty, regardless of the number of excess clubs carried, is two strokes for each hole at which any breach occurred, with a maximum penalty per round of four strokes. In match play, at the conclusion of the hole at which the breach is discovered, the state of the match is adjusted by deducting one hole for each hole at which a breach occurred with a maximum deduction per round of two holes.
If you carry more than 14 clubs when you play, change your ways!
For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.
Creative Equipment Adjustments
A student of mine was practicing at Harvest Hill when the head of his 5 iron flew off, and he and others couldn’t find it. He had a 4 iron that he wasn’t using, so he cut the shaft to 5 iron length and bent the club to 2 degrees softer (that was all it could be safely bent). Now he has a great replacement for his five iron that flies a little further.
Another player that I play with was struggling with his driver. He’s not a tall player, so he figured out that the shaft length may have been causing issues. He bought a new Ping G Driver and put a 3 wood shaft on it and he’s killing it.
My Bag Setup Adjustment
We all have to make decisions on what 14 clubs we are going to carry in our bag.
A professional golfer that I coach, Chris Carroll, has to make bag setup adjustments to his scoring wedges. He has power to spare, but needs more options for short yardages.
Compare the power player setup to mine, a low handicap senior player that does not play a power game. I’ve just recently made some tweaks to my bag setup to cover shots that need to carry 171 to 181 yards.
Here was my old bag setup:
Driver: Callaway G 10.5 stiff graphite
Woods: Adams Tight Lies 3 wood, 14* and Adams Tight Lies 3 wood 16*, both stiff graphite
Hybrids: Ping G30 3 (19*) and 4 (22*), stiff graphite
Irons: Callaway Apex Forged 5 – PW stiff graphite
Gap Wedge: 50* Ping Glide, stiff steel
Sand Wedge: 56* Jesse Ortiz/Bobby Jones, stiff steel
Putter: Odyssey DFX 2-Ball Putter, 34″ I added 25 g of weight to the head, SuperStroke Flatso 2.0 grip
My 3 woods performed like a 3 wood and 5 wood, I carried the 16* for when I needed to hit a high draw.
My 5 iron carries around 170 yards max with a stock swing, and I’d rather not try to overswing a long iron.
My 4 hybrid carries around 182 yards with a stock swing.
That leaves a gap for 170 yard to 182 yard shots, which I seem to face frequently on longer par fours and some par threes these days.
So here’s the adjustment that I made just last week: I replaced the 14* and 16* 3 woods with an Adams Tight Lies 15* 3 wood, stiff graphite, and I added a Ping G30 5 (26*) hybrid, stiff graphite.
I’m sure that this will be a great change for me because I’ve never hit hybrids that are as consistent with distance as these Ping G30’s. I would guess that the Ping G’s would be the same, but I got the G30 to match my set.
The advice to carry over from all of this information is:
- Carry no more than 14 clubs in your bag, more is cheating
- Think of creative solutions for problems
- Think about what’s in your bag and make adjustments as necessary. Power players may need to add wedges, average players may need to make adjustments to fill in longer yardage gaps.
Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,