Our beloved game of golf requires a lot of preparation both before after you complete a round. Cleaning your golf clubs regularly will ensure that the investment that you made in the set of clubs will last a long time. We will give you the low down on how to clean golf clubs.
After all your equipment, and especially the clubheads, play a major role in the contact with the ball and you want to use every aspect that can provide you with a better opportunity to strike the ball better and generate that explosive shot that will make you the envy of your group.
Why Clean Your Clubs?
Apart from the obvious reason that they will look better, there are a few other important reasons. Regularly cleaning your clubs will extend their life. Importantly, it will also improve your game. This is particularly true of the grooves and more relevant on the higher lofted clubs. While any dirt or debris can have a negative impact on your shot, dirty grooves will not help your game at all.
Grooves are designed to generate spin. This is essential for control, accuracy, and distance. Dirty grooves will dramatically affect their effectiveness and will impact on your game.
How to Clean Your Golf Clubs
The process of cleaning golf clubs is a rather simple exercise that needs to be undertaken frequently to prevent the build-up of dirt, dust, and muck that can impact on the contact between the clubface and the ball thereby lessen the effectiveness of your clubs. Cleaning will furthermore prevent rust and possible damage to a club’s finish.
To clean your golf clubs, you can invest in a golf club cleaning kit. These work extremely well and are widely available. The alternative is to simply gather up a couple of household items from the stock readily available in your kitchen and get started.
The list of material needed to clean your clubs properly is quite simple
- Warm water
- Dishwashing liquid or soap
- A soft-bristle brush (or a toothbrush)
- A water source to rinse your clubs
- A towel
- Chrome or steel polish
- A cloth
- Get Sudsy
To create the foam, also known as suds, that you will require for the cleaning process you have to squirt some of the dishwashing liquid or liquid soap into the bottom of the bucket. Squirt generously as you want to create ample foam.
The next step is to add warm water to the soap in the bucket but make sure that the water is not too hot. The reason for not using hot water is to protect the ferrule that is used to connect the clubheads to the shaft. Hot water will loosen the glue that keeps the ferrules in place, and this can lead to disastrous and very embarrassing situations
Water is a scarce commodity and to do your bit to protect the environment, only use enough water to ensure that your clubheads will be covered.
It will be beneficial to create some force from the water spraying into the bucket to create a lot of foam.
1. Place the irons in the foam
Now that the water is ready and the right temperature, place your clubheads into the water ensuring that the clubheads are covered under the water. Keep the ferrules above the water and suds for long term protection.
Soak the clubheads in the warm water for a couple of minutes to loosen the dirt and grime that may have built up in the grooves of the clubface during play. The suds will start working on oils and golf course chemicals that have possibly built up on the surface of the clubheads.
Do not place your putter and woods into the water to soak.
2. Clean the Grooves
Allow the irons to soak in the foams for 1-2 minutes of soaking time to loosen the grime before removing the clubs one at a time and cleaning the clubhead with the soft-bristled brush (or toothbrush) to clean the muck out of the grooves on the clubface.
Remember that the sole of your clubhead also makes contact with the soil or turf and requires cleaning. This may not have a major impact on the connection between the ball and the clubface but is important for the long-term maintenance and to prevent rust buildup. For the same reason, it would be beneficial to clean out the back of the clubhead especially when there are areas where the muck can build up.
Some of the dirt could harden over time especially if you have missed a cleaning session. Should you still find some muck after cleaning the clubhead with the soft-bristled brush, soak them for a while longer to loosen all the dirt and debris and then clean again with the soft-bristled brush. Avoid using a wire bristled brush as this will scratch the surface of the club leading to additional areas that can influence the impact between ball and clubface.
Another handy trick that can be done either during a game or when cleaning your clubs is to use a golf tee to clean the grooves. Simply run it up and down each groove and then wipe away any residual dirt. This is fast and extremely effective.
This video will give you a quick clean solution if you do not have time for a detailed clean.
3. Rinse and inspect
Rinse the clubhead after cleaning the grooves with the soft-bristled brush and inspect to see if there is more muck that remained behind. Ensure that the water is not splashed onto the shaft.
4. Dry the club
Dry the clubhead with the towel and include the shaft in the drying process just in case some water has splashed onto the shaft during the rinse process. The drying process will remove any muck that may still be loose on the clubface after the cleaning and rinse.
Make sure that the clubhead and the shaft are dried properly and that no damp is on the club before replacing it into your bag.
Cleaning woods is slightly different to the way you clean irons as the heads should never be soaked underwater to protect the finish and shine of the clubhead.
Start the cleaning process by dipping the clubhead in the water for a fraction of a second before removing it and wipe it down with a damp cloth and then drying it properly with a dry cloth.
It would not be out of place to give the grooves on the clubface a quick brush with the soft-bristled brush to remove any muck that could be in the grooves. Once you have done so, inspect the clubface for any debris on the face or muck that could remain the grooves.
Dry the club head and shaft immediately after cleaning and replace it in your bag.
Cleaning the Shafts
Do not neglect your shaft during the cleaning process to avoid issues that may arise at a later stage. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the shafts and then dry it properly with a dry cloth to prevent rust forming.
If you notice rust on the shaft it can be removed quite easily by applying some vinegar onto the shaft and remove any rust residue by rubbing the cloth slowly across the affected area. Ensure that you dry the shaft properly after cleaning away the rust.
How to Clean Golf Club Grips
The grip of your club is the only area where you have contact with the club and will often get dirty from sweat and wear over the years.
A clever idea would be to wipe them quickly after every shot, but this is not always possible. To prevent dirt buildup, you should clean the grips regularly.
Start the process off by using a cloth to wipe some of the foam from the bucket over the grips and gently rub it until clean.
Rinse the grip in water that is not hot to remove any detergent remaining from the cleaning process and dry the grip immediately after the rinse. It would be wise to check the shaft again and remove any water that may have come in contact with the shaft.
Genuine Leather Grips
Refrain from using detergents on genuine leather grips. Simply moisten the towel with warm water and wipe down the grips on a routine basis.
To ensure that your clubs are kept in a tip-top shape follow a maintenance program.
Store the clubs indoors and refrain from leaving them in the trunk of your car, especially in extremely hot locations to prevent the weakening of the glues on the grip. Prevent rust from forming by drying your clubs before storing.
Use a towel to wipe down the clubfaces and grips that are purpose made for golf with a reinforced eyehole and fancy wicking fibers.
To get the longest use of your driver and woods, use headcovers to protect them from damage.
Irons may benefit slightly less from having headcovers as they are less prone to damage.
Putters will benefit more as the face of the putter should be protected to prevent any damage.
Follow a regular cleaning program to keep your clubs in perfect shape.
Inspect the grips for shiny areas, worn areas or cracks.
Inspect the shafts for dents, nicks or splits in the shafts.
The benefits of cleaning your clubs are self-evident and it is important to not only protect your investment but ensure that you also perform at your best potential.
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.