A question that 100 per cent of professional tour caddies – or any semi serious golfer – knows the answer to.
If you’re Welshman Ian Woosnam, the “how many clubs in a golf bag” ruling arguably denied him the opportunity to fulfill his dream of lifting the famous Claret Jug at the 2001 Open.
“God, I give you one job to do and you can’t do it” is what he understandably barked at his caddie, Miles Byrne, having just been awarded a two shot penalty for carrying an extra club. Unsurpirsingly, Woosnam struggled to compose himself and stay focused, which ultimately saw his chances of victory slip away.
Maximum number of clubs you can carry?
14 Not 15, right Miles?
The discussion about limiting how many clubs a golfer should carry originated at a discussion following the 1935 US Open at Oakmont Country Club, after one player turned up with 32 clubs in his bag!
What clubs should I have in my bag?
Typically, a player’s bag will consist fo 3 woods, 8 irons, a couple of wedges and a putter. Though some players will opt for 3 wedges instead of 3 woods, to give them increased options from short range.
A tale of “how many clubs”
Like most golfers, I can recall the occasional triumph more vividly than any of the innumerable defeats. And there is one win which stands out so clearly that the memory of it induces a rather supercilious smirk on my grizzled features even 20 years after the event.
I was on a press trip to Arizona with an international group of fellow journalists. We divided into two teams – Europe and the USA and, almost inevitably, a fair head of rivalry built as the week progressed. Simply because I was the eldest and therefore assumed to be the wisest, I was appointed captain of Europe.
Tom, my opposite number, was an affable American who edits a popular golf magazine in the States. I liked him and would have liked him a whole lot more had he not been a single-figure golfer with an excess of self-confidence. Those things apart, he was a perfectly decent chap.
As with the Ryder Cup, there were three days of match play golf climaxing with the singles on the final day. It was remarkably close with the USA just one point ahead going into the last round. It certainly wasn’t my idea but it was somehow decided that the two captains would be the last match out.
I pluckily held on until the turn but fell behind on the homeward half and eventually lost 3 & 2. Worse still, the two teams were level and both sets of players were eagerly awaiting the result of our deciding match as Tom and I walked in. Fighting back the pain of defeat, I asked Tom why he had been using two drivers. “Oh, I have to review this new Callaway for our next issue and thought I would give it a whirl.” A rather unkind but hugely competitive thought then struck me. “He’s got two drivers. I wonder how many clubs he’s got in his bag.”
I covertly counted them whilst trying to look unconcerned. Fifteen! Barely able to focus, I counted them again before confronting Tom with my discovery. He was as distraught as I was ecstatic. All those sweet drives, solid irons, delicate chips and clutch putts counted for nothing. Ultimately, all that mattered was how many golf clubs he had in his bag.