Activities Sports & Athletics Golf's Rule 4 Applies to the Player's Equipment Share PINTEREST Email Print Portra Images / Getty Images Sports & Athletics Golf Basics History Gear Golf Courses Famous Golfers Golf Tournaments Baseball Basketball Bicycling Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket Extreme Sports Football Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Other Activities Learn More By Brent Kelley our editorial process Brent Kelley Updated January 13, 2019 In the Official Rules of Golf, jointly written and maintained by the United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Rule 4 is titled "The Player's Equipment." The purpose of the rule, as explained in the rule book, is this: Rule 4 covers the equipment that players may use during a round. Based on the principle that golf is a challenging game in which success should depend on the player’s judgment, skills and abilities, the player: *Must use conforming clubs and balls, *Is limited to no more than 14 clubs and normally must not replace damaged or lost clubs, and *Is restricted in the use of other equipment that gives artificial help to his or her play. It is the responsibility of golfers to know the rules, and the USGA and R&A have tons of resources on their respective websites to help us learn and understand. To that end, these are links directly to the text of Rule 4 that is found on the governing bodies' websites: Player's Edition: USGA | R&A Full Rules: USGA | R&A Interpretations: USGA | R&A Summarizing Rule 4: The Player's Equipment In our Quick Intro to the Rules of Golf, we summarize Rule 4 as follows: You may carry no more than fourteen clubs. Equipment that gives you any kind of artificial assistance is subject to certain restrictions. There are three sections within Rule 4. Rule 4-1 is titled "Clubs"; Rule 4-2 is titled "Balls" and Rule 4-3 is titled "Use of Equipment." Rule 4-1(a) states that while golfers must use conforming clubs, if a club is damaged during the round you may continue using that club to make strokes (the option to repair also still exists). Rule 4-1(b) states that golfers must start a round with no more than 14 clubs in the bag. Starting with fewer than 14 is allowed, and, if a golfer does so, she may add clubs during the round to reach the limit of 14. The penalties for exceeding the 14-club limit are harsh, so be sure to know the text of Rule 4-1. Rule 4-2 addresses golf balls: you must a conforming ball and can get balls from anyone, including other players on the course. Rule 4-2 also goes over what to do if your golf ball breaks apart or becomes cracked or cut during play. Rule 4-3 says you cannot use your equipment in a manner designed to create an artificial advantage, such as: Using equipment (other than a club or a ball) that artificially eliminates or reduces the need for a skill or judgment that is essential to the challenge of the game, or Using equipment (including a club or a ball) in an abnormal way in making your stroke. “Abnormal way” means a way that is fundamentally different than its intended use and is not normally recognized as part of playing the game. The Full Edition rulebook also includes, under Rule 4-3, information on requesting the use of equipment for medical reasons. Be sure to read the full Rule 4 and definitions of important terms either on USGA.org or RandA.org.