How To Clean Golf Clubs: [Our Top Tips For Looking After Your Clubs]
Clean golf clubs not only look great but they actually perform better too.
If you don’t clean your clubs regularly, your golf game will likely suffer as a result. Let’s face it, golf is hard enough, so don’t make it harder by playing with dirt filled grooves.
Since the face of the club is the only part of the club that is touching the ball, it’s essential to remove grass, dirt, and other debris. Even if the club is wet, it can negatively affect your spin and trajectory.
Keep reading to learn how often you should clean your clubs and the best products to make them perform like they are brand new.
How to Clean Golf Clubs
Before getting started, you might wonder why it’s so important to clean your clubs anyway. As a scratch player, I think it’s important for two main reasons; performance and confidence.
First off, golf is a challenging sport already and dirty clubs make it even more difficult. When grooves are filled with dirt, the ball won’t react like normal when it comes off the face. This makes guessing spin tricky and not nearly as consistent.
With wedges and irons, this can lead to shots that don’t spin correctly when they hit the green. You need clean grooves on your wedges to create friction and adequate backspin.
With fairway woods, a dirty club face can also negatively affect spin and widen your shot dispersion. And with putting, it can mean the difference between making a putt vs. missing it.
Performance aside, clean golf clubs yield more confidence too.
You never see a PGA Tour player with a filthy golf club before they hit a shot. Caddies clean clubs not only for performance but to ensure their guy is standing over the ball with confidence.
Think about it, would you feel more confident if you had a huge skymark on your driver that constantly reminds you of your mistake? Or, a driver that looks like you just picked it up from the golf store?
If you want better performance and more confidence on the golf course, here are the best ways to clean your clubs.
During the Round: Use a Golf Club Brush
For starters, cleaning your clubs doesn’t need to be an elaborate process. Every golfer should carry a scrub brush that attaches to your golf bag. Here are some of our favorites on Amazon:
- 2-Pack Golf Club Brush: This simple 2-pack of brushes will make cleaning your clubs easy.
- Caddy Splash Golf Water Brush: This brush is great as a reservoir tube that allows you to squirt water on your grooves. This makes it much easier to dig out debris and
- clean your grooves easier than ever.
During the round, you should clean your irons/wedge grooves with a club brush and/or cleaner that is mounted on the golf cart. Remember, cleaner grooves means more consistent spin rates and hopefully better golf shots.
Post Round: Use Soap and Water
Occasionally, it’s a good idea to do a deep clean of your golf clubs and bag as well. The frequency depends on how often you play; it could mean bi-weekly cleaning for avid golfers or once a month if you don’t get out as often.
For deep cleaning, use a bucket of soapy water and find some extra space to clean your gear. Fill the bucket with warm soapy water and let your irons/wedges (not woods) soak for about ten minutes. This will soften up the debris and make it easier to clean.
Next, remove them from the bucket and clean with your club brush. If you want to go above and beyond, buy the Groove Caddy club cleaner as it’s battery operated.
Finally, dip them into another bucket of water without soap to rinse them clean. After your golf clubs are clean, wipe them down with a towel until dry to avoid rust.
Cleaning Your Driver and Fairway Woods
Your wedge and iron grooves are very important to generate spin. But you shouldn’t have as much dirt in your fairway woods and hopefully none in your driver (or you have a big swing issue to fix).
To clean your woods, dip them in soapy water but skip the hard, bristle brush as it can damage your clubheads. Since woods are made of titanium and other materials, they’re much more prone to scratching. You can use a bristle brush on the grooves but be careful and avoid the driver entirely.
Other Solutions to Clean Golf Clubs
While soap and water is the easiest way to clean clubs, there are other solutions including:
- Vinegar: This is best for polishing your clubs instead of just cleaning.
- WD-40: This handy solution does a ton around the house and can help clean your clubs too. WD-40 can help remove rust and even prevent it from happening in the future.
- Coca-Cola: Believe it or not, a 2-liter bottle of Coke is a good way to clean your clubs too. Check out the below YouTube video explainer.
Golf Club Cleaning Kit
If you prefer to skip the methods above, here are some golf club cleaning kits that have everything you need.
- Club Pur: This golf club cleaning kit comes with a four ounce bottle of cleaning solution (which doesn’t sound like much but according to the company should last 200 sprays). It also has a soft-bristled brush, microfiber cleaning cloth, and resealable carrying pouch too.
- Golf-EZ Essentials Kit: This cleaning kit has everything you need to make your clubs shine like new. The retractable brush has two sides (one wire and one nylon) and a groove/spike cleaner tip on the end. It also comes with other accessories like a divot tool, ball marker, putting alignment aid, and more.
- Club Doctor Complete Care Bundle: Club Doctor makes high-quality products and is the choice we recommend for polishing your clubs (more on that process below). This cleaning kit comes with a grip spray solution, iron polish, and club cleaning solution. A great all-in-one bundle to clean every aspect of your clubs.
(Club Doctor Before and After)
Cleaning Golf Grips
While cleaning your grooves and clubheads is important, don’t forget about your grips too. Since your hands are the only part of your body that touches the club, clean grips are very important.
Related: Strong Golf Grip 101
Far too many golfers never clean their grips and rarely replace them which can negatively affect your game. Cleaning your grips is even more important if you play in warm weather as sweat and debris can build up over time.
Luckily, cleaning your golf grips is pretty easy and doesn’t require much time. Here are three ways to clean golf grips.
Soap and Water
According to Golf Pride (one of the most trusted names in golf), the best way to clean your grips is just like your clubs – soap and water.
Here are the instructions from Golf Pride, “Mild dish soap and water, soft scrub brush and a towel. Mix the soap in a bowl of warm water. Dip the scrub brush in the soapy water and scrub the grip on all sides. Rinse soap off the grip and pat dry with a towel and let grips dry before use.”
Do this a few times per year to keep your grips looking good and performing well.
Additionally, you can always buy a grip wipe cleaner too. The Pro Play Grip cleaning wipes on Amazon are a great choice and come with 20 wipes in each package.
Each wipe has a specific cleaning formula to make your grips as tacky as ever. Plus, they come in a resealable container so you can keep them in your car or bag and use them when needed.
Golf Tac Grip Enhancer
If your grips need some more tackiness to them and you aren’t ready to replace them yet, this can of spray can save the day. Golf Tac grip enhancer is a four ounce spray can that will make your grips feel like new in just a few minutes.
This spray will also make it easier to grip the club even in bad weather and not lose control of the club as you swing. I’ve found these are great for warm, humid days and also a favorite among senior golfers battling arthritis.
How to Polish Golf Clubs
Cleaning your clubs is one thing but if you want to make your irons shine (or bring an old set back to life), you will need to use polish.
We suggest using Club Doctor polish as it’s easy to use and works wonders. If you buy the Club Doctor bundle above, it will come with a bottle of iron polish solution. If not, you can buy an individual bottle here.
Here’s how to polish your clubs:
- After following the steps above, make sure your irons are clean and dry. Do not start this process until your clubs are 100% dry.
- With the polishing solution or spray, follow the instructions on the bottle and apply to one club at a time.
- Let the polish solution rest for about a minute and then use a towel to remove the solution. Do not let the polish sit on the club for more than a minute!
Related: Best Golf Clubs for the Money
Top Questions About Cleaning Golf Equipment
Have more questions about cleaning your golf equipment and finding the best products? Keep reading our top questions for even more information.
How do you remove rust from golf clubs?
Rust is a funny topic in the golf world as some clubs are actually meant to rust. Not to mention some golfers actually try to get their clubs to rust because they think it leads to better performance.
Before moving on, it’s important to note that rust won’t add more spin to your golf clubs. A lot of players leave wedges in soapy water overnight so they can wake up to rusty wedges for more greenside spin. Sadly, this myth has been debunked.
The best ways to remove rust include drying your clubs, storing them in a temperature controlled environment or using WD-40.
Does a magic eraser work on golf clubs?
Yes, magic erasers are one of the best cleaning products for your golf clubs. They’re great to clean drivers and woods instead of a bristle brush that could damage the paint. They can even help remove sky marks from the top of the club too.
How often should you clean your golf clubs?
It depends on how often you play/practice, typical weather, and overall commitment to the game. For most golfers, I suggest cleaning them during/after the round with a groove brush cleaner. You can also wipe down the clubheads, grips, and shafts after the round.
Then, once a month do a deep clean on your golf clubs with soap, water, and other supplies mentioned above. The more committed you are to the game, the more frequently you should clean your clubs as it can have a big impact on performance.
Can you use steel wool on golf clubs?
If you have some extra steel wool around the house, this can work to clean your clubs too. Don’t take my word for it, here’s what the company said on their website.
“Cleaning golf clubs is an easy job with S.O.S® steel wool soap pads. The soap is built right in, so all you need to do is wet the pad, rub, and rinse. You’re left with shiny club heads and clean grips in no time! Reusable, versatile and with incredible scrubbing power.”
Can you use toothpaste on golf clubs?
While I’ve personally never used toothpaste on my clubs, fellow golfers in several golf forums said this can work. Toothpaste can help polish your irons and even remove minor paint scratches.
Where should I store my golf clubs?
If you have a long off season thanks to cold, wet weather, it’s best to clean your clubs before putting in storage. The same Golf Pride article from above says, “Store your golf clubs inside to extend the life of your grips. High or low temperatures can break down the rubber, so leaving your clubs outside or in a car trunk is not recommended.”
Remember, clean golf clubs not only look better but optimize performance as well.
This is why caddies are so relentless about cleaning their players’ golf clubs. They know that the smallest difference can lead to much better golf shots.
While cleaning your clubs is important, don’t forget about your grips too. Make sure to clean regularly and replace before they get worn down to not affect your grip and pressure on the club.
How often do you deep clean your golf clubs? What about your grips?
Let us know in the comments below.