If you dig out your golf clubs after a long, cold winter to find that they are rusty, don’t panic. There are a number of ways you can get rid of rust, and have your clubs looking as good as new. Here’s how to clean rusty golf clubs.
If it seems to be just a light sprinkling of surface rust, you might be able to get rid of it with some steel wool. By lightly scrubbing it over the affected areas, you can quickly remove rust and restore your club’s shine.
However, be careful not to scrub too hard with steel wool, as it might scratch the surface and cause further damage. If the rust is too deep-set for the steel wool to deal with it, you’re better off moving on to other methods.
Soap and Water
For most rusty golf clubs, a simple mixture of soap and warm (not too hot) water will offer a simple solution that comes at no further risk to your clubs.
Fill a bucket with warm water, and add either some dish soap or liquid soap. Then, soak your clubs for five minutes or so. Finally, grab a cloth and wipe away the rust.
If the rust has burrowed into the grooves of your club, you could grab a toothbrush. The bristles will reach right down into the grooves, and should be able to brush all of the rust away.
Hopefully, the soap, water, and brushes will be enough to remove rust from your golf clubs. If not, it’s time to bring out the big guns.
That’s right – you can use America’s favorite soft drink to remove rust from your golf clubs. More of a Pepsi person? No problem. Any sort of cola will work (as long as it contains phosphoric acid).
Fill a container with a few liters of cola – enough so that you can at least submerge the heads of your golf clubs.
To get the maximum cleaning effects of coke, you’ll want to soak your clubs in it for roughly 24 hours. After that time, remove your clubs and dry them with a microfiber cloth. This should get rid of most of the rust, but there may be some remnants left over, in which case you should grab a scratch-free scrubber.
If it’s the shafts that are rusty, you can soak some towels in your cola concoction, and then wrap them around your shafts. Leave them for 24 hours, then wipe them down and rinse them off with water.
When you’re done, pour yourself a nice glass of coca-cola, and toast to your newly-cleaned clubs.
Vinegar and Lemon Juice
Alternatively, if you’ve got some vinegar or lemon juice kicking about, you can use their acidity to quickly tackle the rust on your clubs.
Fill a small container with vinegar or lemon juice and submerge your clubheads – an hour or two should be enough. Then scrub away the rust with a cloth and/or a brush.
If none of the above solutions work, then it might be time to pop down to your hardware to pick up some industrial rust remover. These contain harsh chemicals that can be very damaging to the metal if used incorrectly, so make sure you read the instructions specific to each product carefully.
But if nothing seems to work, including industrial rust removers, then there may be nothing else that can be done. You could take your clubs to a specialist golf store and ask them to assess the damage, but the likelihood is that the rust is so deep-set that a repair simply isn’t possible.
Perhaps it’s just your shafts that are affected. In which case, you could have the clubs re-shafted, which would be cheaper than buying a new set outright. Otherwise, it’s probably time to bite the bullet and buy some new clubs.
How to Prevent Golf Clubs From Rusting
It’s all well and good cleaning rust from your clubs, but it would be far better to prevent them from rusting in the first place. Here are some tips to keep your clubs looking their best all year round.
- After playing a shot with your club, dry it off with a towel before putting it back in your bag. This probably won’t be necessary on dry sunny days, but if you’re playing in the rain, or on a dew-covered course, then you should be aware that moisture will quickly gather on your club, which eventually leads to rust.
- When you get home from your round of golf, check the condition of your clubs. Clean off the mud and dry off the moisture. If you’ve been caught in some particularly heavy rain, it’s a good idea to remove all your clubs from your bag and let everything dry separately.
- Always store your clubs in a cool, dry place. Humidity is a one-way ticket to rusty clubs, so avoid anywhere that gets too hot. Basements and garages are usually the best places to store golf clubs. Never leave them in the trunk of your car.
- Throughout the off-season or any period of time when you are not frequently playing, periodically check the condition of your clubs. If they’re damp, dry them off and move them to a new location.
Any golf club that is made from metal is prone to rust, but fortunately, there are a number of easy, fast, and effective ways of getting rid of it. Start with some steel wool, and if that’s not enough, try some soap and water. And if that doesn’t work, crack open a couple of cans of coke and watch the magic happen.
But the best way to deal with rust is to prevent it from happening in the first place. By keeping your clubs clean and dry, they’ll last a heck of a lot longer.
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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.