There are many golfers in America who think that 14 clubs are simply too many to carry, so they push a cart or ride in one.
The real question is – Why do you need 14 clubs?
Just because that is the maximum allowed by the USGA does not mean a golfer needs 14 of them to play to their potential.
I carry between 8 and 10 when I play and it does not negatively impact my scoring, in fact it encourages creativity and “fun”.
If you want to carry, but need to shed some weight, dropping a few clubs from your bag is the best way to reduce stress on your body. On average, every club you carry weighs at least one pound, so you can drop about 6 lbs from your bag by using a half set.
If you cannot play without 14 clubs, then consider using a push cart which is easier on your body than carrying and much healthier for you than riding in a cart.
These are the clubs that live in my MacKenzie Walker or Sun Mountain Stryder:
The driver is the longest and most difficult club to hit in your bag, so it is helpful to get fit by a professional to ensure that you are playing with the “right” one.
During the fitting process, your launch angle, spin rate, shaft flex, etc. will be optimized by trying out various head and shaft combinations. You will also get a feel for the club’s balance and the sound at impact which is important.
If you are between flexes, then I would encourage you to err towards a stiffer shaft for tighter dispersion in as light a weight as feels comfortable to maximize club head speed and distance.
Also, think about playing with a shorter driver if you are directionally challenge – most Tour pros are using 44 or 44.5 inch drivers, while most amateurs have 45+ inch drivers. That does not make sense.
A 4 Wood is a versatile club off the tee and from the deck, and if you find a favorite it can live in your bag forever.
Make sure the shaft is stiff enough to give you the tightest dispersion possible – accuracy is vital with fairway woods.
Using a 4 wood can “even out” the gaps in distance that you will likely get after dropping a few clubs.
As a walking golfer, one of the things I enjoy about a round is being immersed in the experience. The grass under my feet, the relaxing scenery of the course, the companionship of friends, and the way the golf ball comes off the club face, especially on a pure strike.
A forged blade provides the greatest amount of feedback with the least amount of forgiveness. I enjoy playing blades even if they cost me a few strokes per round.
If you are concerned primarily about scoring then a forged cavity back is probably a good option or a “player’s cast” club with limited offset and a smaller head.
Some golfers like having 3 to 4 wedges in their bag while other will go with a PW and SW. It can be hard to master too many wedges and fewer will obviously keep your bag lighter.
A confident short game will not only shave strokes off your score, it will add a lot of enjoyment to your round. Getting up and down for par on a regular basis is a great skill to have and very beneficial for your handicap and wallet.
The Putter is probably the most important and personal club in the bag because it is used on every hole and at least twice as often as any other. I think a putter’s feel, both at address and at contact, is key. So if you find a head shape or design that you like, it might be a good idea to stick with it.
The 8 clubs I tend to play with are Driver, 4W, 4i, 6i, 8i, PW, 58* and Putter.
A logical 9 club set would be Driver, 4W, 3i (or hybrid), 5i, 7i, 9i, PW, 58* and Putter.
A 10 club set might add an 8 iron to increase the number of scoring clubs you have, or maybe a gap wedge if you are seeking more options from 100 yards in.
There are many golfers who have scored their best round ever using ten or fewer clubs. One of the benefits of walking is that you experience every step of the course which heightens your senses and, in my opinion, significantly improves your sense of “feel”, which can only enhance your shot-making creativity.
Try dropping a few clubs from your bag and watch your game improve over time which will only increase your enjoyment, while minimizing the weight that you carry around for eighteen holes.