Golf clubs can be confusing and hard to understand. If you have never played golf before or just watched tour players strolling across the golf course with the enormous golf bags the caddies are carrying, you might wonder “what is a complete set of golf clubs”?

A pro golfer or just a regular player, golfers are permitted to have a maximum of 14 clubs in their bags. But what kind of clubs are there, and what is a complete club set? We wanted to clear out the dilemma and thoroughly explain what a complete golf club set is and each clubs’ purpose.

How Many Clubs Are in a Complete Set of Golf Clubs?

A complete set of golf clubs consists of a minimum of 12 clubs, not 14 as it is usually considered. The maximum allowed number of clubs on the golf course does not match the number of clubs deemed to comprise a set. A complete set of golf clubs includes a driver, at least one fairway wood, two hybrids, a selection of irons, wedges, and a putter. 

The selection of irons and wedges is based on players’ preferences, swing speed, and skills. Players with slower swing speed and low accuracy are not likely to have a big difference between a 7-iron and a 9-iron.

image of complete golf set - AEC Info

How you play golf is the number one indicator of the number of clubs a player needs in their bag. It would be ridiculous if a beginner golfer went on the course with 14 clubs as they would likely use less than half the clubs.

To know which clubs you’ll need on the golf course, you need to comprehend each golf club’s function and how it can help you lower your score.
We have categorized the clubs into sections so that you understand their roles. Keep reading to find out which clubs are essential, whether to invest in a full golf club set or individual clubs, and the purpose of the clubs.

Woods, Irons, Wedges…What is What?

Each golf club has its purpose, and there’s a specific reason why it’s been designed. Yet, beginners don’t start off with all the 14 clubs at once, so it takes time and effort to master all of them. So, here’s what you need to about each club category and why you need them.

Woods (driver, 3-wood, 5-wood)

Let’s first clear the things up regarding their name. They are called woods because they used to be made of wood, but today, they are made of steel, titanium, carbon, or aluminum alloy. They have the lowest lofts and the largest club heads, translating into more speed and more distance. The number one wood is the driver.


It is the club you normally use off the tee as its steep face and low loft (7.5 to 13 degrees) offers you high, long-flying, piercing ball flights. Beginner golfers usually start with the largest allowed driver clubheads to easily hit the sweet spot. Even though it is the longest and the most difficult club to hit, it is an essential club and among the first to use.

Fairway Woods

Fairway woods resemble the driver. However, they feature a shallower club face, and their sweet spot is positioned to the bottom of the clubhead. They have higher lofts than the driver, ranging from 12 to 23 degrees. The two most used fairway woods are the 3-wood, and the 5-wood used to hit off the ground, or even tee shots, under specific conditions. For example, on long par 4’s a fairway wood is a more viable option than a long iron.

Irons, Hybrids, and Wedges


Traditionally, irons range from number 1 to 9, even though the 1 and 2 irons are hardly ever used nowadays. When purchasing a full set of irons, it usually includes 3-9 irons and wedges, while junior or beginner club sets include 5-6 irons. Within this category of clubs, variations are mostly made, and beginners usually start with iron 7.  Check out this recent article on the Best golf irons for women to increase distance and accuracy.

Irons feature a thin face so that golfers can slice the ball through thick lies and are mostly used off the ground. The higher numbered irons have the higher loft. What you need to remember is that the lower the iron number is, the longer and further shots it produces.

Be sure to keep your irons and all your other clubs clean more maximum performance.  Check out the quick tutorial on keeping your clubs clean.


Hybrids are relatively newer compared to the rest of the clubs, and their function is to replace the difficult-to-hit long irons. They represent a combination of woods and irons, i.e., have larger sweet spots, higher lofts, and shallower faces, so that they can be used out of tighter lies. Beginners will perform much better with hybrids than irons, which is why they are included in many sets.


Wedges belong to the iron category, and the only difference is their open face structure and higher loft to help golfers get the ball up and high in short distances. They are intended to cover a very distinctive yardage distance while approaching the putting green.

  • The most common and generally included wedge when buying a set is the pitching wedge (PW), which has the lowest loft that ranges from 44 degrees up to 50 degrees.
  • The gap wedge (GW) starts at 44 to up to 52 degrees and is used when golfers try to achieve 90 to 110 yards distance.
  • Sand wedge (SW) has the purpose of hitting the balls from sand bunkers. It is shorter, and its loft ranges from 54 to 58 degrees.
  • The lob wedge (LB) has the highest degree loft that ranges between 60 to 65 degrees. It is used around the green and covers the shortest distance (under 80 yards).


A putter is the most commonly used club as you need to put the golf ball in every hole. There are basically two types of putters, the traditional blade putter, and the mallet-style putter.

Mallet putters come in various shapes, they have perimeter weighting and higher MOI, so they are usually a recommended option for beginner golfers. Modern-day putters are made with face inserts to make them softer at impact. The team at She Plays Golf recently completed an in-depth review of the Best women’s putters. Check it out here.

Additional AEC Info golf instructional articles:

What Clubs Should A Golfer Carry in the Bag?

A golf bag should have a driver, 3 wood, a hybrid, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 iron, a pitching wedge, a sand wedge, and a putter. These are essential golf clubs and most likely to find them in any golf sets sold on the market. As golfers progress and evolve in their performance they will include an additional 3 clubs for a total of 14.

When talking about must-have golf clubs, these are the clubs that, no matter the golfer’s level, his or her skills or preferences, need to be included in the golf bag. Those are the clubs that the golfer is likely to use at a certain point of the game.

Not sure where your clubs go in the bag? Here is a quick guide we recently wrote on organizing clubs in your golf bag.

A golf bag should have a driver, one wood, a hybrid, 5, 7, 9 irons, a pitching wedge, a sand wedge, and a putter. These are essential golf clubs and most likely to find them in any golf sets sold on the market. Of course, as golfers progress and evolve in their performance they will include other clubs.

Investing in Golf Clubs

If you have just peeked into the golf market, you must have been astounded by the price range the golf clubs are being sold. Novices or those who start developing a liking for the game are facing the dilemma of whether to invest in high-end individual clubs or get a decent golf set that includes the most necessary clubs.

A few factors can help you make the right decision. The first thing to consider is your budget. If you are struggling to make ends meet, then it makes no sense to go for premium clubs. Then, consider your time and dedication to the game. Is it a temporary attraction, or you think you’ll be playing golf for a long time? If you are positive that you’ll often hit the course and you have the means, then investing in quality clubs totally makes sense.

High handicap players are likely to benefit from getting a whole set, as they will have all the necessary clubs at once, including a golf bag to carry them. When choosing the clubs, always consider your swing speed, and don’t forget to ask for advice from the experts.

If you are interested in buying a full Golf set for Men, be sure to read our recent review.  golf Please be sure to check back often to AEC for tips, reviews, and other information in the world of golf.