How to Clean Your Golf Clubs Like New

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Key Takeaways

To clean your golf clubs like new:

  • Fill a bucket with warm water and a small amount of dish soap.
  • Submerge the club heads and let them soak for a few minutes.
  • Use a soft brush to scrub the club heads, focusing on the grooves.
  • Rinse the club heads thoroughly with clean water.
  • Dry them with a towel.
  • Optionally, use a metal polish to add shine.

Clean regularly to keep your clubs in top condition and improve performance.

If you are new to golf, you should know that regular upkeep is required to keep your clubs in good shape and ready for the next time you step foot on a golf course. Part of knowing how to clean golf clubs is knowing when you need to clean them.

Some tools and accessories of the trade are bought, and others are found around your home: brushes, towels, picks, and liquid solutions – all viable products. Golfers prefer different methods of cleaning their clubs, so we’re profiling a few of the most popular.

We talk to golfers, and we are golfers. We’ve tried several methods and want to share what we know. 

Keep reading for the details!

When and How Often to Clean Clubs

When you hit a shot, and a divot comes up, chances are your clubface collected some of that dirt and grass as well. When you’re playing in the rain or wet conditions, the likelihood of your regular and hybrid clubs getting dirty is even higher. Sand shots also lead to filled grooves almost every time. The only redeeming factor of golfing in the rain is that your clubs are already wet and require less effort to get them clean.

Whether you are a junior or senior golfer, cleaning and maintaining your clubs are important for your plays. If you aren’t cleaning your golf clubs after each round, with the maximum being after every few rounds, you’re neglecting them. Now we aren’t telling you to go through an intensive process that lasts an hour. But, scraping your clubs off when you notice dirt building up keeps your game going in the right direction.

When you see your grooves filled with dirt, clean them. After a shot where a divot or sand comes up, clean the club. Even if there are no obvious grooves filled with grass and dirt, do yourself a favor and give them all a wash after every few rounds. 

Tools You Can Use

A person using a brush to clean the clubhead of a golf club on faux turf

Club Brush

The most common golf club cleaning tool is a brush. Almost every golfer carries one of these and they connect directly to your bag. Most brushes have two sets of bristles, one hard and the other soft. Both sides have a specific purpose and can be used together for the cleanest golf clubs around.

The harder bristles dig into the grooves, removing any debris stuck in them. For times when you have a lot of dirt and grass, especially when it’s dried out, you need to use the hard bristles on your golf club. If the dirt is not coming out, applying some liquid – water, solution, and even saliva is the easiest solution while out on the course.

Soft bristles are used less often since they cannot dig dirt out but are an essential piece of knowing how to clean golf clubs. Soft brushes are most effective at removing the dirt dug up by hard bristles. When you wipe the dirt off with a towel or your fingers, it puts the dirt back where it came from. Use these bristles as a delicate method of getting all dirt out of your grooves.

A golfer using a brush to clean a clubhead of a golf club while on the golf course

Why a Brush Is Safe

Golf brushes will not damage the clubface thanks to the materials they are made from. Irons are made from strong, forged metals and woods and drivers have titanium faces. These materials are stronger than any material used in the production of golf brushes. If these materials were swapped you might see the damage. Golf accessory manufacturers design their products to protect clubs, and brushes are no different. However, some drivers are made of special materials, like TaylorMade’s Stealth Driver, which will require a different kind of brush for cleaning.

Golf Tee

If you do not have a brush, that is perfectly fine. While a brush is the most effective, a golf tee works too. Thanks to the point on the very end of the tee, you can use it to run through the grooves on your clubs. This will remove most dirt from your clubs, but not all. In order to effectively clean your golf clubs, a brush is necessary.

How to Clean Golf Clubs Without a Tool

You will never regain the luster that comes with a new set of clubs. However, you can effectively clean your golf clubs at home and shine them up using your basic soap and water.

  1. Fill a small bucket with lukewarm water
  2. Mix in some dish soap
  3. Allow the clubhead to soak in the water (can do multiple at once). 
  4. It is important to note that the portion of the clubhead that attaches to the shaft should not be submerged in the water as water may get in and worsen the glue inside.
  5. Pull the clubs out one by one and wipe them down with a towel
  6. After using the towel to remove built-up dirt, leave them to dry or use a separate towel for this
  7. Make sure they are dry before putting them back in your bag

Some other quick notes:

  • You should use a brush, if you have one, between taking a club out of the water and wiping them down. 
  • A microfiber towel is the best towel for wiping clubs down as it is more effective than a bath or hand towel.
  • This process will make the entire club shine, not just the clubface.

Here is a great video (10 minutes 39 seconds) from Below Par demonstrating how he is cleaning both the club heads and grips in a proper way.

On another note, golf grips can get worn out with constant use so you may want to consider having them regripped instead.

Performance Benefits of Cleaning Golf Clubs

If you want your clubs to perform at their highest level, you need to know how to clean your golf clubs. Knowing and practicing these methods is a sure-fire way to boost your performance and add control, especially when hitting greens. 

When your grooves are full of dirt the club does not work the way it’s supposed to. Instead of a resistance-free impact that produces a backspin and a clean launch, it’s a much messier story. With dirty grooves, the backspin drops immensely. Even worse, your swing speed becomes inconsistent, or the ball flight and direction are unpredictable and harder to control. 

With clean grooves, your ball flight is as consistent as your swing. By not cleaning your clubs, it becomes much harder to predict how each shot will go. Take a look at a dirty golf club. Even the built-up dirt is uneven. In some cases, this trouble is no different than hitting a ball with an open or closed clubface, especially when you consider the errant spin it might cause.

An uncleansed golf club has a lower ball flight with less backspin, I’ve seen that impact when working especially with slower swing speed and ladies golf clubs. These balls can travel a few yards further than a ball hit with a clean club.

Sounds intriguing – it’s not. With the lower ball flight, the descent angle is lower and makes it tough to pick a good landing spot around the green. In this case, you’ll be relying on running the ball up to the green. With clean grooves, you launch the ball high into the green, and with increased backspin, it will stop close to where it lands.

Final Thoughts​

Knowing how and when to clean your golf clubs is extremely important. Not only will it extend the life of your clubs, but it will also ensure that you’re hitting optimal shots. As long as you’re cleaning your golf clubs on a consistent basis you will have effective, shiny clubs for years to come.


Photo of author

Jacob Jensen

My name is Jacob, a self-diagnosed equipment and golf enthusiast. I've been golfing since I was 15. Golf has always been my passion. I'm a bit of a golf equipment nerd and I've been that way since the moment I picked up a club for the first time. As someone who's been on both sides of the game, I know what it takes to be a good golfer. Of course, you need good equipment, but you also need to know how to use it. I hope sharing my experience with you will help you improve your game.

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