I was just thinking about the number of clubs the other day.
But I was going the other way.
I was thinking of playing a few rounds with only every second iron in my bag.
So I would have:
23 degree hybrid
56 degree wedge
60 degree wedge
I based my choice of irons off what I would need on the par 3's at my course.
At a minimum it would make it a lot lighter to lug around on a hot summer day.
Did the originators of golf have 14 clubs in their bag?
I can't remember but I think I heard it was Bobby Jones and another golfer discussing how many clubs they should be allowed to carry. Bobby Jones had 16 when he won the British open and the other guy had 12 so.... They met in the middle at 14 being the right number... The reason is so that you still have to show skill to make yardage adjustments. If there was no max we would have a club for every yardage and type of shot.
As far as going with less clubs, I honestly think that's a great way to learn to feel your clubs better. You will be forced to hit different types of shots. I played a little par three course when I was younger and we would end up playing the whole course with 1 club (we had junior memberships- $100 a year) - since we played the course so much we had to change it up. Good thing is, we would learn to hit flop shots, 3/4 swings, punch shots, high cuts... It made you get creative and can really help your game in the long run. -and it is really a lot more fun than you would think.