I often get asked if it’s okay to share golf clubs with your partner.  In fact, many newer players often play their first full 18 holes of golf in a scramble format because it’s a fun team event and there’s less pressure on individual players. So the question is, when playing a scramble or better ball format, can you share clubs with your partner(s)?   

In a scramble format, all players on your team (can be two, three or four of you) tee off, choose which shot they like best and all play their next shots from the location of that chosen best shot. Play continues this way until one of your teammates putts the ball into the hole. 

Best ball or better ball is where you each play your own ball from tee to green, and after completion of each hole, you and your teammate(s) decide which is the ‘better ball” meaning lowest score. That particular event could be for a net score or perhaps one best net and one best gross ball – there’s lots of variations on this. 

If you’re playing in either of these types of partner events, it may be tempting to share clubs with your partner, however Rule 4.1b says that the limit of clubs per player is 14. If you do share clubs with a partner, you and your partner can only have 14 clubs total, so if both you and your partner are carrying a full set of 14 clubs, borrowing even one club from your partner puts you over the 14 club limit. In most situations, borrowing a partner’s clubs means breaking the 14 club rule.

The penalty for violating rule 4.1b begins when the player(s) become aware of the breach. In stroke play, the penalty is two strokes for each hole where a breach happened, with a maximum penalty of 4 strokes. In match play your score is revised by deducting a hole, with a maximum penalty of two holes.

The takeaway? Yes, you can share clubs, but you’re limited to 14 clubs total. Unless you are sharing a single set of clubs between two people, I suggest avoid sharing clubs to steer clear of any penalties.

Marcela launched Girlfriends Guide To Golf and her On-Course Rules Experiences to grow the game, help women learn the rules of golf, and feel more confident out on the course.

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