How to Play 'Three Club Monte' (3-Club Challenge) in Golf

Three Club Monte is a golf format that requires golfers to pick just three golf clubs to use during their round. That's it: Three clubs (with one typical exception—more on that below) is all you can carry. Note that Three Club Monte (3-Club Monte) is also commonly called the 3-Club Challenge (Three-Club Challenge).

Pick any three clubs you want—a hybrid, a 5-iron and a 9-iron, for example—and those are the only clubs you can use during the round of golf.

Three Club Monte can be used as a tournament format or golf association playday format, but it is probably more common as a game played by a group of golf buddies.

Does the Putter Count as One of the Three Clubs?

In games like the 3-Club Challenge, one of the key questions is always how the putter is treated: Does the putter count as one of the three clubs? Or are golfers in a Three Club Monte game or tournament given the putter as a freebie and then choose three additional clubs?

In Three Club Monte, it is almost always the case that golfers get to use their putters and choose three additional clubs. The putter does not count as one of the three. However, that is up to the tournament organizers or, if the game is being played by a group of friends, it is up to the golfers in the group to decide.

(If your group decides the putter is not a freebie, then you might consider putting with a hybrid or with the leading edge of the shortest iron you'll carry for the round.)

Note that once you choose your three other clubs, you cannot change them during the round. So choose wisely.

Three Club Monte is a Good Practice Game for Specialty Shots

The short-set games (those that limit the number of clubs golfers carry to many fewer than the 14 allowed under the rules) are good ones for golfers who are playing practice rounds or just out having some fun, because they can help golfers learn specialty shots. Using just three clubs, as in Three Club Monte, you'll have to do a lot of choking down, dialing back the swing (or dialing it up), opening the clubface, and so on. You'll be attempting knockdown shots, half-shots and so forth.

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