How To's

How To Clean Golf Clubs

by Derek Worlow

If you're a golfer, you know how exciting it is to finally get your clubs out from the dusty corner of the garage after a long, golfless Winter. But after months of hibernation, your clubs probably need a lot of work before they're ready for the first round of the Summer. Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a place where it’s perpetually golf season (lookin’ at you, Georgia), you probably don’t take the necessary steps to prevent your clubs from experiencing weather-related decline during the offseason. Need some tips on how to clean golf clubs? Here are five ways to make your clubs look new again -- from how to remove rust, to how you can sharpen your grooves.

Step 1: Clean your grooves

What You’ll Need:

  • Bucket of warm water
  • Soap
  • Soft-wire brush

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The quickest and easiest way to get a set of clubs ready for an impromptu round is by scrubbing the grooves clean with warm, soapy water and a soft-wire brush. Grooves along the club face need to be free from dirt when you play, as they help create friction when you strike a ball. The friction, in turn, creates backspin that helps the ball land softly on the green.

Fill a small bucket of warm water with liquid detergent, and lower each iron's club face into the water. Using your brush, scrub away any loose dirt from the grooves. Take a dry towel and wipe away any excess moisture and grime.

Step 2: Remove rust from old irons

What You’ll Need:

  • Steel wool

Rust: the enemy of old golf clubs. Some irons are made from carbon steel, which leaves them vulnerable to possible rust development.

Removing rust isn’t as hard as you may think. You’ll want to do this step immediately after washing your clubs.

Make sure your clubs have been thoroughly dried. Then, take a piece of steel wool and rub the rusted areas of your clubs. Use small, circular motions. Make sure to be gentle with the wool -- just some light pressure should break the rust free.

Step 3: Polish your club heads

What You’ll Need:

  • Metal polish
  • 2 cloths

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If your clubs are showing signs of aging, you can restore their shine using metal polish. Also, this is a natural next step after you’ve removed any rust from your clubs -- you’ll need to restore the areas of the club head that were buffed out by the steel wool.

Polishing your clubs is very straightforward. Just apply some metal polish on a soft cloth and coat each club head. Follow any other specific instructions that may be written on the label of the polish you’re using.

After the polish has set, wipe each club down with a dry cloth.

Step 4: Sharpen your grooves

What You’ll Need:

  • Sharpening Tool

As we mentioned earlier, cleaning out your grooves can help create more backspin on your shots. Likewise, sharpening the grooves on your irons can increase friction when your club comes in contact with the ball. Sharper grooves can help boost ball flight and create that ball-stopping action that we see the pros do all the time.

Sharpening your grooves is relatively easy, and the tool you need is fairly inexpensive. You can find sharpening tools at most golf pro shops or sporting goods stores. You can also take your clubs into a shop to have a professional sharpen them for you.

Step 5: Replace your grips

Many recreational golfers don’t know that you should replace your club grips every 40 rounds (or every two years, whichever comes first) to maintain tackiness and control. If you’re in the middle of a round and your grips are failing you, an easy way to revitalize them is to take a damp cloth and rub away any dirt that’s collected on your grips.

Your best option is to take your clubs to a pro shop to have someone with experience replace your grips for you. You definitely can do it yourself, but it’s a fairly time consuming process and not as simple as some of the earlier maintenance steps we walked you through.

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