How to Clean Golf Club Shafts, Grips, and Heads: A Detailed Guide

After every round I play, I make sure that I clean off my clubs. But over the course of a golf season, my clubs get very dirty and gunky.

In order to keep my clubs in tip-top working order so I can play beat my buddies when we play, I make sure to clean my clubs once per season. Usually, this is in December or January–the off-season for playing.

rusty golf club
From Instructables Workshop

how to clean golf clubs And Grips

Identify which type of club you want to clean. For irons, wedges, and putters, water and soap will suffice, just make sure you dry them thoroughly after you’re done. As for woods, metal woods, and drivers, you must be more delicate; use a dampened piece of cloth to wipe the dirt off, but make sure you don’t get the wood wet as that might damage the club.

Cleaning your golf club is essential if you want to keep it functional for as long as possible. And with how much golf clubs cost compared to other sports equipment, you don’t want to ruin yours and keep buying new ones every once in a while.

Cleaning your golf club might sound like a daunting task at first. Still, in this article, we’ll walk together through a step-by-step process to clean your clubs. We will tell you what material is needed, how to clean various parts of your club, and some tips that will prolong the virtual life of your club.

Step 1: Gather The Material Required to Clean Your Golf Club

Before you start cleaning, you have to gather up a bunch of items that will help you clean your golf club effectively. Let me list them down here and note why we’re going to need them in our cleaning process. 

Bucket

While it’s not entirely necessary to have a bucket to clean your golf club, it’ll save you a lot of time, especially if the club is made of iron. Submerging your iron club into the bucket while it’s filled with warm water will make it much easier to scrub out dirt from the club’s head. Have a wet cloth nearby to brush off the clubface.

Warm Water

Warm water is your bread and butter in this process since you’ll need it to clean all parts of the golf club, no matter what kind of material it’s made of. 

Although, you have to make sure that you don’t leave your irons exposed after you get them wet, otherwise they will rust, and you don’t want that to happen.

Soap or Dishwashing Liquid

Make sure you pick a good kind of soap or dishwashing liquid as low-quality ones might damage your golf club rather than clean it.

Also, make sure you don’t ‘over-clean’ the golf club since you might accidentally remove the textures with prolonged exposure to extra-strong soap.

soapy water for cleaning golf clubs
From Wikihow

Towel or Dry Cloth

Keeping your golf club wet isn’t ever a good move. So it’s essential to dry your golf club immediately after you’re done cleaning it, to avoid rusting.

In case your golf club isn’t iron, the cloth you use must be dry to prevent the water from damaging your golf club.

Soft Brush

It’s recommended to get a soft brush or a toothbrush you no longer use to clean the leftover dirt or stains on your golf club. Make sure the brush is soft (made of fine bristles) to prevent scratching or damaging your golf club.

Steel or Chrome Polish (Optional)

You might need steel or chrome polish to polish the head of your golf club, assuming it is iron.

While it isn’t necessary for cleaning the club, it’ll make it look as good as if you’ve just bought it, so it doesn’t really hurt to be a bit fancy. Polishing will add a layer on top of the head or the shaft that prevents oxidation, and by extension, rusting.

Wood Wax (Optional)

Instead, if your club is wooden, you can opt-in for wood wax to keep the wood in good shape, and to make it look shiny and new.

Step 2: Decide What Club Do You Want to Clean?

After you’ve gathered the material required, you have to identify what type of club you want to clean. This step is essential because if you clean woods the same way you clean irons, they’d probably be destroyed and beyond repaired– so don’t do that.

Let me explain how each type is different in their cleaning process:

Irons

Irons are generally easier and straightforward to clean compared to the other golf clubs. These clubs are made entirely out of metal, so don’t worry about getting them in contact with water while washing.

Cleaning Irons

  • Get your bucket and fill it with water mixed with a moderate amount of soap.
  • Submerge the head of the club in the bucket from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the amount of dirt on it.
  • Take it out of the bucket and thoroughly scrub it with your brush.
  • Immediately wash the soap off the iron after your scrubbing; otherwise, it might damage the iron.
  • Dry off the club using your towel or dry cloth to prevent rust from forming. Don’t dry your club by keeping it under sunlight since that might deform and damage it.

Metal Woods

Metal woods like fairway woods are a little different with their cleaning process. Since these are made of wood enclosed by metal plating, you don’t want the water to get to the wood and expand the club.

Cleaning Metal Woods

brushing clean golf club
From WikiHow

  • Fill your bucket with warm water and add a moderate amount of soap to it.
  • Dip your brush into the water a handful of times and scrub your club’s head gently. Try not to get it too wet as that could ruin the club’s wood.
  • Dry your club as fast as possible with a dry cloth. Just like with iron clubs, don’t let metal woods dry in the sunlight as that could deform it.

Woods

While it’s rarer to find them these days, woods, on the other hand, are very fragile in nature. Hence, you must be careful while cleaning your woods. Unlike irons and metal woods, you shouldn’t go around submerging them into soapy water, nor should you brush them.

Cleaning Woods

  • Get a dry cloth and dampen it by dipping it into some warm water.
  • Gently wipe the head of the club to remove any dirt on it.
  • After you’re done cleaning the head, dry it with a towel.

Wedges, Drivers, and Putters 

Since wedges and putters are made primarily of metal, it’s perfectly fine to treat them the same way as irons. 

As for drivers, you should refer back to the metal woods section, since it’s the closest category to put them under.

Step 3: clean your golf clubs

Now that we’re done with how to clean each type let’s address how to clean other parts of the golf club.

Cleaning the Shaft 

Shafts are also prone to dirt from time to time, and you should be giving equal amounts of attention to them when you’re cleaning your club.

Depending on the type of club, shafts are built from different materials. On the one hand, irons typically have metal shafts, while on the other hand, metal woods and woods often come with graphite shafts.

Cleaning Metal Shafts

Like their head counterparts, metal shafts are generally easier to clean compared to graphite shafts. You can clean it the same way you cleaned the iron heads, except you don’t have to submerge the whole club in the water this time, but you can use water to rinse it or brush the dirt out of it. Then, of course, dry it with a towel.

You can also use metal wax to prevent the shaft from rusting and make it generally look better. 

Cleaning Graphite Shafts

As for graphite shafts, they’re much more delicate in nature, since they’re made of polyurethane coating. This polyurethane coating can’t withstand soaps or detergents, so it’s best if you use a damp or wet cloth and wipe it down gently, then dry it smoothly with a towel. 

Just like the woods, you can use wood wax on graphite shafts.

If your golf club shaft is damaged in some form or the other, it’s highly recommended that you replace it, since it can significantly hinder your performance. For more information on how to replace a golf club shaft, check out this video.

Cleaning the Grip 

brushing clean golf club grip
From Instructables Workshop

Going up the golf club, we finally reach the grip. Grips can accumulate a lot of dirt from your hands, so it’s fair to try to clean them from time to time.

You can clean your grip by rinsing it with water and scrubbing it with a brush. Make sure that you don’t use hot water because that could damage the grip. After that, dry it and make sure no water has reached the shaft. 

how to remove rust from golf club shafts

It’s only a myth that rust can improve your spin. Trust me, you don’t want your club to rust. In fact, rust could be one of the most annoying obstacles you could hit with most metal equipment, but fear not, there is hope still! 

You can remove rust off of the head or shaft of the club by pouring some vinegar on a piece of cloth. By rubbing the area affected with rust, the vinegar, with its acidic nature, removes the rust.

Of course, if you own a stainless steel or graphite club, this wouldn’t bother you at all. 

Step 4: getting my golf clubs to shine again

After all, this is done, you can further protect your clubs by polishing them. Depending on the type of the club to be polished, you can use steel or chrome polish for iron heads, wood wax for all parts of woods, or metal wax for iron shafts.

Simply, apply the polish on the club, wait a minute or two, then wipe it with a clean cloth. Not only will this protect your club from rust, but it’ll also make it look shiny and stylish.

Step 5: After-Cleaning Tips to Prolong Your Club’s Life

You’ve now attained your goal of cleaning that pesky little golf club, so what now?

Well, you can always try to keep it clean and safe. Here are a couple of tips to help you do just that:

Keep Your Golf Club Dry

I can’t stress this enough, this is one of the most helpful tips I can offer! Leaving your golf club wet is the first thing you do when you want to ruin your club for good. 

Dry it off after every round you play. And use your towel you carry with you to clean it off after every shot you hit.

Always try to keep your golf clubs dry at all times, and something that can help you is the next point.

Get Yourself a Golf Towel

Owning this fancy accessory isn’t a must for golfers, but golf towels can go a long way with you in keeping your golf club dry and rust-free. And it doesn’t have to be a small ‘golf towel’ either, any towel can suffice.

Look for Wear Signs on Your Grip Regularly

After excessive use, the grip will loosen up. This will be annoying since it’ll negatively affect your aim.

What you should do is regularly check if your grip is worn out. And if so, it’s probably about time to change grips. Changing grips can be a big project, but totally doable if you take your time.

Check on the Shaft from Time to Time

Every once in a while, you should check to see if the shaft is bent, dented, or broken in any way. The shaft must stay healthy for your golf club to be effective and without any deformities.

Use Headcovers for Your Clubs’ Heads

When you keep all your clubs together in one bag, a lot of rattling and jostling can happen, and that can damage the heads of the more fragile clubs. Headcovers deal with just that.

Headcovers protect your woods’ and drivers’ heads and shafts from the jostling that could happen while you’re moving quickly or in a golf cart. So, if you’re interested in keeping your woods and your drivers safe, give headcovers a look.

Clean Your Clubs Regularly

This might be too obvious to mention, but give your clubs one of those good ol’ scrubs this article mentioned at least every few rounds.

Not only will this prolong your clubs’ life, but by removing dirt from the heads and having a better grip, your accuracy might improve!

Know how to clean Your golf clubs

And that’s about it! Cleaning your golf club every once in a while isn’t something that requires too much maintenance, but it’s definitely worth the (small) hassle. 

Submerge your irons in water and wash as you like. They’re durable and can withstand the force (although be mindful about it). You only have to take extra care with woods because of how fragile they are, so use a damp cloth to clean them rather than submerging them in water.

So, whether you play weekly or monthly, keeping your clubs clean will save you both effort and money in the long run.

If you have any remarks or questions, please do let me know in the comments!

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