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How to Clean Golf Clubs Properly

First Published: June 25, 2021
Last updated: August 24, 2021
how to clean golf clubs

When you buy a set of golf clubs, they are shiny. After playing a round of golf, they are less shiny. As you continue to play and enjoy the fabulous game that is golf, dirt and grass build up in the grooves of your clubs. The laziest of players never bother to clean them. The players that are on top of things and want their clubs to perform to their potential clean them after every round, and sometimes every shot.

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 your golf clubs.

Some tools and accessories of the trade are bought, others are found around your home. Brushes, towels, picks, 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, we are golfers. We’ve tried a handful of methods and want to share what we know. 

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 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.

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

how to clean golf clubs

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.

Golf club cleaning with brush

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 driver 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 damage. Golf accessory manufacturers design their products to protect clubs, and brushes are no different.

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.

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 into 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 backspin and a clean launch, it’s a much messier story. With dirty grooves 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. 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, 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 how 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.

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