The off season is a great time for cleaning your clubs and doing other repairs and maintenance on your equipment. It’s also a great time to take inventory of what you have, what you don’t have and what you’ll probably need to replace for next season.
When it comes to cleaning your clubs, you have two basic choices. Have someone else do it for you, say, the pro shop–or, do it yourself. While there are a lot of things I recommend that the pro shop do, cleaning my clubs is something I like to do myself. Not only does make me feel good afterwards–newly cleaned clubs look great–but it also gives me some quiet time to inspect my clubs slowly and closely, which is something I totally overlook during playing season.
If you want to clean your clubs yourself, grab a few things and get to work. You’ll need a bucket, some clean clothes, a tooth brush or something similar, some mild dishwater soap and some elbow grease.
For your irons:
Important Tip: Do NOT submerge your club heads into the bucket of water above the ferrules!!!
For newer golfers, the ferrules are those black rings where the club meets the shaft.
Okay, here we go. Put some warm water into the bucket, along with a dab of soap. Don’t use very hot water. Hot water can loosen your ferrules. Also, you only need enough water to cover the heads of your irons…not the ferrules!
Put your irons, club face down, into the bucket and let them sit for a bit. When you’re ready, take one out and using the old toothbrush, give the grooves a nice washing. Technically, cleaning the grooves is the most important part of the whole cleaning process. You need and want those grooves to be clean so they can do what they need to do when they impact the ball.
After you get the grooves cleaned out, run your brush over the sole of the club and get rid of any dirt or debris that might be hanging on there. Once you’ve finished this step, you’ll need to rinse the heads with clean water. A garden hose works well for this.
Use your clean cloth to wipe and dry the club heads. Make sure they are dry. You can also run your cloth up the shaft to wipe it down to. Do not put your clubs back into the bag wet.
For your Woods:
Never submerge persimmon woods into water! Many people suggest that you never submerge metal woods into water either. Doing this tends to fade their shine, or so I’ve been told.
My advice, and what I do, is simply use a wet cloth on my persimmon woods to wipe them down and then I immediately dry them off. I use the same old toothbrush I used on the irons to clean out the grooves on my woods (and, again, this is the real reason you’re cleaning in the first place) and then I wipe them down again.
Cleaning your grips:
Unless you have a unique set of grips, the following works pretty well. If you have special grips, do what the vendor suggests for cleaning them. For the rest of us–
Put some warm water in sink and add some dishsoap. You’re going to need suds (and lots of ’em) so give the soap bottle a good squeeze. When you have a small mountain of suds, turn off the water. Dampen a cloth and wringe it out. Then get some suds on the cloth. Use the cloth and suds to wipe away any dirt, oil, etc from the grip. Turn the water on, hold the grip under the water to rinse, then dry the grip off. Do your clubs one at a time and make sure they are dry before putting them back into the bag.
If you find a really hard place to clean, try some Windex on it. Wipe and rinse as before.
This is also a great time to check the worthiness of your grips. If you have some (or all) that have seen better days, think about replacing them before the season opens.