Golf clubs today are really an investment. More than just financially, also an investment in your game. Iron sets can cost over $2000 or more. Wood sets $1700. Drivers alone can cost in excess of $1000. At the time of purchase there is not much said about how to care for your new clubs. A quality set of clubs properly cared for can last a lifetime. The first rule in keeping your clubs in new condition is DON’T TAKE OUT YOUR FRUSTRATIONS ON YOUR CLUBS! That may sound humorous, but I’ve repaired many more clubs damaged due to temper tantrums than were caused by normal play. For the majority of golfers, care and maintenance starts with a regular inspection of your equipment. What do you check? How long does it take? How often is maintenance needed? Total time shouldn’t take more that 5 or 10 minutes. Ideally, you should inspect our clubs prior to and after each round. But not being able to do that check at least once a month. If during your inspection you find problems, get them repaired by a qualified professional before you use the club(s) again. This can save you money in the long run. Start your inspection by checking your grips for wear and tear. Grips usually wear along the top edge where the thumb rest. Grip material can get hard and glossy with age and may be slippery. Sometimes this can be repaired and will be explained more fully later. Next, check the shafts for rust, creases, or bends. Check for loose heads. Look at the ferrules (the plastic piece that the shaft goes into before the club head.) if they are unseated form the hosel it could be an indication of other problems. Check the heads for gouges, cracks, rust, etc. for graphite shafts check for scratches, wear marks and fibers peeling away. If you are one of the select few that still use real wood Woods, inspect the finish. Chips in the finish, loose whipping, damaged or loose inserts or soleplates can drastically reduce the life of your club. If you have problems or questions be sure to consult your golf professional. Regular cleaning goes a long way toward keeping your clubs new. There are clubs that offer cleaning service. Unfortunately most of us don’t play at a facility that has this service, so we have to clean our own clubs. I know golfers that clean their clubs after every round. I also know golfers whose clubs only see water when they play in the rain.
Cleaning club heads is the part of club care & maintenance with which golfers are most familiar. Start with a bucket of water. Let the clubs soak in lukewarm water with the heads down for a few minutes. Then take a medium stiff nylon bristle brush and scrub the grooves and stamping and basically the whole head. Scrubbing with the lines of the grooves makes it easier to clean all the dirt out of the grooves. If you have stubborn dirt and stains, you can use a mild abrasive such as soft soap or barkeeper’s friend brand cleaner. When complete rinse the head with clean water and towel dry. If the head has any minor surface rust, you can lightly rub it out with a fine grade steel wool. Use at least 000 but preferably 0000. Using a coarser grade can cause scratches in the finish of the head. Household steel wool is usually 00 grade and too coarse to use on our clubs.
After drying you can apply a stainless or chrome polish. If you use a polish of any type, be sure to follow manufacturer’s directions fully. These cleaning procedures are applicable to both metal woods and irons. It is not recommended to soak wooded club heads. Any heads made from wood should be washed with water and immediately towel dried. After the heads are dry, you can apply one or more coats of a good furniture wax such as Johnson’s paste wax. While we are talking about wooden heads, it should be noted that if you play on rainy or wet days, extra care should be taken with our wooded club heads. They will need to be kept dry. Towed dry after every shot and never put wooden clubs into head covers! Water and humidity can ruin the wood quickly if there are any spots where the finish is bare. This is easily spotted during our routine inspection. Cleaning your clubs is simple. It not only can make your clubs look better, it can help our game. Dirty clubs can cause ”flier” lies so your shots are harder to control. Clean grooves will put more spin on the ball therefore helping to hold more greens.
The next area we will talk about is shafts. First, we will discuss steel shafts. Steel shafts are far and above the easiest and least time consuming pieces of golf equipment to maintain with regular care. Most of the time a quick wipe with towel will keep them clean. If there is light surface rust, rub with 000 or 0000 grade steel wool. Again, anything coarser will cause scratches. If there is any heavy rusting or pitting contact your golf professional. After cleaning it is a good idea to apply a good chrome polish or even a car wax.
Graphite shafts: Graphite shafts need more care that any other piece in your bag. Graphite by nature has a dull appearance. Manufacturers paint each shaft and put a silkscreen logo or name on them. The next step is to put a coat of polyurethane over the paint to seal them. Normal usage of your equipment, bags being moved, clubs taken and returned, clubs banging around during a round and even in your trunk can wear through the polyurethane layer. After the polyurethane layer is gone the paint will go quickly. After the paint is gone it will not be long before the graphite fibers themselves will be damaged. If the fibers are worn and cut the chances increase greatly that the shaft will break. This can also void any warranty that the manufacturer offers. If that’s not reason enough, graphite is very expensive to be replacing unnecessarily. Besides the longneck head covers, what can be done to prolong the life of your graphite shafts? While you may not need to clean and polish your steel shafts very often, graphite should be regularly cleaned and sealed. I recommend that you clean your graphite shafts with water only. Using solvents can breakdown the polyurethane layer; abrasives can scratch and wear through to the graphite and may contain harmful solvents. Before you use any product on your clubs be sure of what it will do. After cleaning and drying apply one or more coats of a good furniture wax or specialty shaft wax. This should be done at least once a month. Another way of protecting your clubs is choosing the right bag. I recommend the OGIO bag with the silencer club protection system. (photo) A unique custom design top with high grade polymer membranes to hold clubs in place and engineered molded bottom with flex grab teeth that lock clubs in place. Brilliant and you might not have to poly the shafts as much. With regular care your clubs can last for many years to come.