How to Play the 'Three Club Monte' Golf Game

Two golfers on a green at sunset
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Three Club Monte (or 3 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.

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 is part of a class of similar games that require golfers to play with fewer than the standard 14 clubs. Games such as:

  • One Club
  • Five of Clubs
  • Bag Raid or Pick Up Sticks

(Bag Raid and Five of Clubs are explained on our Golf Tournament Formats and Betting Games glossary page.)

Does the Putter Count as One of the Three Clubs?

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

It varies depending on the number of clubs used - the lower the number allowed, the more likely it is that the putter doesn't count against that number - and what the tournament organizers or group of golfers desires.

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.

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 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, 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.