A player usually carries several clubs during the game (but no more than fourteen, the limit defined by the rules). There are three major types of clubs, known as woods, irons, and putters. Woods are played for long shots from the tee or fairway, and occasionally rough, while irons are for precision shots from fairways as well as from the rough. Wedges are irons used to play shorter shots. A new type of club called a hybrid combines the straight-hitting characteristics of irons with the easy-to-hit characteristics of higher-lofted woods. A hybrid is often used for long shots from difficult rough. Hybrids are also used by players who have a difficult time getting the ball airborne with long irons. Wedges are played from difficult ground such as sand or the rough and for approach shots to the green. Putters are mostly played on the green, but can also be useful when playing from bunkers or for some approach shots. Putters have minimal loft, forcing the ball to stay on the putting surface when struck. The most common clubs to find in a golfer's bag are the driver, 3-wood, numbered irons from 3 to 9 (with hybrids commonly replacing the 3 and 4 iron), pitching and sand wedges, and a putter. Players commonly also carry a 5-wood, and/or additional wedges such as a gap or lob wedge.

Most golf bags have a ring to which a player can tie or clip a golf towel, used to wipe hands and clean or dry balls and club faces. Some of these towels can be quite specialized, with a carabiner or other clip to attach it to the bag with a grommet used on the towel for durability, and incorporating rougher materials in certain sections of the towel for club and ball cleaning with softer weaves elsewhere for drying. Other cleaning products abound, from motorized ball cleaners to an array of brushes for various types of clubs as well as balls and shoes.
Sunday bags are commonly advertised as "minimalist" carry bags; they have very light weight and flexible construction allowing the bag to be rolled up or folded for storage without clubs, and have storage pockets for the essentials of play (clubs, balls, tees) but often lack more advanced features like segregated club storage, insulated pockets for drinks, stand legs etc.
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