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How to Clean Golf Club Heads: Iron, Metal, Wood, Shafts, and Grips

A golf bag with freshly cleaned golf clubs on a course

Did you know that by cleaning your golf clubs you can add years to their lifespan? You probably put down a pretty penny for them so you’re wise to treat them like the investment they are. Expert and experienced golfers know that when you treat your equipment right, your equipment treats you right, too. 

Even if not every golfer can afford a new set of clubs, every golfer can at least spare a few minutes to clean the ones they already own. Good upkeep will add to the resale value of your clubs so that when the time comes for you to upgrade, you can cash in your old golf set for top dollar and then put the money towards better clubs.

Let’s talk about how you can keep your golf clubs looking and feeling as good as new. Cleaning your golf clubs will enhance your next golf outing and each one to follow. You will be set to perfect your golf swing and enjoy them for years if you follow these following steps:

Things You Will Need to Clean Golf Clubs

Lucky you! Only six materials are needed and no special golf-cleaning materials are necessary. You probably already own all the materials you will need to correctly clean your golf clubs. 

  1. Bucket
  2. Soft-bristle brush
  3. Dishwashing soap
  4. Warm water
  5. Towel
  6. Cloth

The most important item is the soft-bristle brush. A toothbrush or specialized golf-cleaning brush works as well. If you decide to invest in a specialized brush, there are lots of affordable and high-quality options out there.

The best place to clean your golf clubs is usually on your deck or in your backyard. This way you’ll keep your home clean and your golf clubs can dry quickly out in the sun. 

So pop open a cold drink, gather all your materials, and get started! 

Step One: How to Clean Golf Club Heads

As you know, there are different types of golf clubs so follow the specific cleaning procedure below depending on the type you own. 

How to Clean Irons

dirty golf irons that need to be cleaned
  1. Fill a bucket with water. Make sure to use warm water since hot water may loosen the club head from the shaft and cold water will not soften the debris within the grooves as well. Look for that happy medium. 
  2. Squeeze a few drops of dishwashing soap into the bucket.
  3. Place your dirty golf club heads into the solution, let them soak for 5-10 minutes. This will loosen the dirt from the golf clubs and prepare them for the next step.
  4. One by one, take each golf club out of the bucket and use the soft-bristle brush, golf-cleaning brush, or toothbrush and scrub the entire head until clean. Pay special attention to each groove – if dirt remains in the grooves it will negatively impact your club and potentially your future golf performance. Scrub that iron clean until it shines like your darling’s smile. 
  5. Rinse the golf club heads under cool water.
  6. Dry with a towel. Make sure that both head and the shaft are completely dry to avoid any future rusting.

How to Clean Metal Woods

The cleaning process for metal woods (aka drivers), or fairways differs from the irons because you cannot submerge them in water. Instead follow the process below:

  1. Fill a bucket with warm water and 2-3 drops of dishwashing soap.
  2. Instead of dipping the golf club heads into the water, dip the soft bristle brush, golf-cleaning brush, or toothbrush in the water. Make sure the brush is damp and not sopping wet. Too much water will damage the clubs.
  3. Use this damp brush to scrub the entire head, paying special attention to each of the grooves and removing all dirt.
  4. Dry the golf club head thoroughly before continuing to step 5.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 for each golf club until all are clean and dry.

How to Clean Wooden Clubs

The cleaning process for wooden clubs differs from the irons and the metal woods because the material is usually older and more fragile. Due to this, a brush should not be used to clean a wooden golf club head nor should the club be dunked into a bucket of water. Instead, use a cloth with the steps as follows:

  1. Mix 2-3 drops of dishwashing soap with warm water in a bucket or bowl.
  2. Dip the cloth into the solution.
  3. Use the cloth to gently wipe down the wooden head. 
  4. Dry the club head immediately after cleaning. If you’ve ever left a drink on a wooden table without a coaster then you know that wood and water are like old acquaintances at a high school reunion – they only like each other’s company for very short, infrequent visits. 
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until all golf club heads are clean and dry. 
golf shafts that need to be cleaned

Step Two: How to Clean Golf Club Shafts

You probably don’t even think about cleaning the shaft of your golf club, but loads of dirt and residue can build up here. Use a damp cloth and wipe down the entire shaft of your golf club then pat dry with a towel.

Pro Tip: If your shaft has any rusting, dip a cloth in some vinegar and gently rub any of the areas with rust residue. Continue wiping until the rust disappears. Dry thoroughly once complete.

Step Three: How to Clean Golf Club Grips

Your golf club grips get dirty because of the sweat and oil from your hands. This isn’t your first time holding hands with someone so let’s not pretend like your hands aren’t getting a little sweaty when you play. Look at you, playing in the hot sun and winning all those competitions – of course they get sweaty! Using a damp cloth, wipe down the entire grip, rinse with cool water, then pat dry and you’re good to go.

Pro Tip: Wipe down the grips of your golf clubs after each use to avoid sweat damage.

Keep Your Golf Clubs Clean and Looking New

Not only is cleaning your golf clubs necessary to improve the visual appeal, but also to improve your performance. It is imperative to keep the grooves on your golf clubs clean. Clean grooves allow for maximum control over spin and performance. If you are looking to maximize your performance, make sure the grooves are clear of dirt and other debris.

Remember that a bad swing is a bad swing and no amount of cleaning can fix that. If you’re looking to improve your golf performance, it may be best to learn how to improve your golfing technique.

Now, you may be thinking, how often should you clean your golf clubs? The answer varies from player to player, depends on the quality of your equipment, and depends on your amount of free time or hired assistants. Pros generally have someone clean their clubs after each shot while amateurs may never clean them. Generally it is best to clean them as often as possible.

Happy golfing!

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