How to Play the '14 Clubs' Golf Format

The golf format called 14 Clubs is for four-person teams competing against other four-person teams. And the key to the format is right there in the name: Each quartet of golfers is only allowed 14 golf clubs. That's total — 14 clubs spread among four golfers.

Before we go any farther, let's stress a key point: Those 14 clubs don't have to be different clubs for each golfer in the foursome. All four golfers will probably want to carry a putter, for example. If all four also want to carry their drivers, that's fine, too. The clubs can overlap golfer to golfer. But only 14 clubs total between the four teammates, and it's typical that organizers of the 14 Clubs game stipulate the two team members get four clubs each and the other two get three clubs each.

14 Clubs can be used as a tournament format. It's also a fun game for a golf buddies trip when there are eight or 12 (or 16 or ...) golfers on the trip.

Scoring? Aside from every golfer having many fewer clubs than they are used to, 14 Clubs is a scramble, and works the same as any other standard scramble. (All four team members tee off, the best tee ball is selected, second shots are all played from that spot. The best of the seconds shots is selected and all third shots are played from that spot. And so on until the ball is holed.)

Which clubs should you carry? Well, you know which clubs are your strength, which are your weakness, which are your favorites, which you prefer not to play. Choose accordingly. But most golfers will pick putter as one of their clubs. You need a club that you are confident teeing off with. And many golfers who play 14 Clubs also make a higher-lofted club — a short iron, at least — one of their clubs.

Remember that you're playing a scramble when choosing clubs. If one of your team members is a great driver, then that golfer needs to pick driver as one of his or her clubs. Another recommendation many 14 Clubs players make: Let the two best players on the team get four clubs each, and the two weaker players on the teams just three clubs.

You can also play 14 Clubs with groups of three by giving two players five clubs each and the third four; or by giving the weaker player six clubs and two stronger players four each.

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