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Frank, why are we limited to only fourteen clubs in a set? Would it not be better to have more clubs for different situations, such as a left handed club for those awkward shots?
Thanks for your weekly emails.
Jason, Naples, FL
I actually answered a similar question a while ago, but it’s an interesting topic that I would like to address again.
Prior to 1938 – the date the fourteen club rule was adopted by the USGA and 1939 by the R&A — some golfers were carrying as many as 24 or more clubs. This is not an accurate statement because they (the golfers) were not carrying their own clubs, their caddies were, and this was a consideration when the rule was adopted. If the golfer were carrying his/her own clubs the maximum number would be somewhat self-limiting.
The effect the additional weight had on young boys and girls (caddies in the late 30s) was a consideration as well as the fact that “a club for every occasion” was reducing the shot making skills which defined a good golfer.
Yes, Jason it would be easier to play awkward shots with a club specifically designed for each shot which may confront us during a round of golf. Unfortunately the temptation to carry more clubs exists with the use of the golf car(t) and the trunk size golf bags designed with the golf car(t) in mind.
We must remember that the attraction that golf presents is the challenge and if we diminish this, so do we diminish the satisfaction derived from facing and meeting that challenge.
As much as we think we want the game to be easier, we really don’t need it to be easier. This is the very reason why we are still playing a game nearly 600 years old.
Jason, for general information we don’t have to carry – or have in your bag – fourteen clubs. In fact, most of us would probably play better if we reduced this number to ten. We would then not have to make the decisions about which club to use for a particular distance. For example, if the 6-iron we may think we need is not in the bag then we can take out the 5-iron — which is in the bag — and hit it easier rather than trying to kill a seven iron. The results will inevitably be better, even if we had the 6-iron in the bag.
Take a club which will hit the ball farther than we think we need and hit it easier rather than – as most of us do — overestimate how far we can hit the ball with almost every club (except for our Frankly Frog putter).
Have you tried playing with less or more than 14 clubs in the bag? Share your experiences below.
Hope this helps