When the faces of golf clubs are dirty, you lose distance, accuracy, spin, and ball flight control.
You would think that’s enough to get golfers to clean their golf clubs at home and on the golf course. It’s not.
So many players have dirty golf clubs. As a golf pro, I see people throwing shots away simply because they can’t keep up with proper golf club maintenance.
The good news is that it’s not hard to clean your golf clubs and to KEEP them clean. I’ll show you how to clean golf clubs without causing damage.
How to Clean Irons (Wedges & Putters)
Irons and wedges collect the most dirt and debris because they do their work in the dirt…and debrist. So, they’ll take a little work – but not much – to get clean.
Setup and Prepare Your Area
I use the following set up when doing a deep clean on my clubs.. I get a large dry bath towel, a bucket of water, a microfiber cleaning cloth, dish soap, and sometimes a golf club cleaning brush.
First, I fill the bucket of water, adding a few drops of soap. Then take all of the golf irons and wedges and put them into the bucket clubhead down.
Clean Grooves and Clubhead
I generally let the clubs soak for about five minutes before picking the first one out and working on it.
With nearly 30 years in this game, I still find the microfiber cleaning cloth the best for removing dirt from the grooves. Use your thumb to really push the cloth into the grooves and pull out the dirt.
Clean the sole of the iron or wedge as well and then put it back into the bucket.
Do this with each club until they are all clean.
Clean Your Grips
Rinse the rag you have been using for your clubface cleaning and ensure it is wet but not dripping.
While the clubheads are all in the bucket, go through them individually and wipe down each of the grips. When I do this, I rinse the rag often because it usually ends up with oils and dirt on it from the grease and sunscreen we have on our hands when we play.
There are special wipes for club cleaning, but I find them to be unnecessary. The microfiber cloth does the trick, especially if you stay on top of this and do it often.
Once the grips are cleaned, remove all clubs from the bucket and lay them on the large bath towel to dry. Make sure that you do this in the shade; laying them in the direct sunlight is bad for the grips, and they will deteriorate faster.
Pro Tip: While all the clubs are out of the bag, go ahead and clean the bag. Wipe it down with a rag and vacuum out the bottom and the pockets.
How to clean rust
I’ve had good luck using steel wool to remove rust from golf clubs. However, many people like the vinegar and lemon juice solution. It’s often stated to put the golf club in a bucket of vinegar and lemon juice for a few hours, and the rust will disappear.
I like putting it in a small spray bottle and doing a few sprays until the rust starts to come off.
You can choose a method that works for you, but sometimes steel wool takes just a few seconds, and rust comes right off. It saves you the time of soaking for hours.
How to prevent rust
If you want to prevent rust on your golf clubs, it’s as simple as this: never put your clubs away wet!
Whether you are coming in from a round in the rain or you just washed your golf clubs, don’t store them until the clubheads are dry. You’ll have no problem with rust if you do this..
Cleaning The Putter
Putters have highly detailed milled faces and intricacies. Forget about putting your putter in a bucket of water. imply take the wet microfiber cloth and wipe your putter down from time to time.
How to Clean Driver, Fairway Woods & Hybrids
I get nervous watching amateur golfers clean their drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids. These clubs are a bit more delicate (and expensive), let’s make sure not to damage them.
Setup and Prepare Your Area
For fairway woods, hybrids, and drivers, you will not need a bucket to submerge the clubs in; in fact, I advise against it.
For these clubs, a microfiber cloth and access to water is all you should need.
Clean Faces and Sole
Keep your golf club brushes away from the fairway woods, hybrids, and drivers. Some of those brushes are much too harsh and can cause tiny scratches and imperfections. I don’t know about you, but after spending $550 on a driver, I don’t want it scratched up.
The sole of the club should be the dirtiest part, and the microfiber cloth will get the dirt right off.
Some drivers, hybrids, and fairway woods have specialized faces, and the last thing you want to do is cause some kind of damage by cleaning with the wrong material or substance.
Removing Tee Marks and Scuffs
The driver sometimes gets tee marks on the face, which come off easily with soap, water, and your microfiber cloth.
If you want to make these tee marks easier to remove, stop using colored tees. The paint from the tees transfers to the driver’s head, making it harder to get off.
Sometimes you sky one and hit the ball on the top of your driver. You can try using soap and water on this, but most times, sky marks require you to repaint the top of your driver. It’s not a process I recommend because if it’s not done right, it can impact the club’s overall performance (especially weighting and alignment).
How to Clean Golf Grips
I touched on this when going through the steps of how to clean irons and wedges, but here is the basic rundown of how to clean golf grips.
- Never completely submerge your golf grips, as it’s hard to dry them fully after that.
- Put a little dishwashing soap in your microfiber cloth, and then wet the cloth.
- Use the soapy wet rag to scrub down each of the grips.
- Rinse your rag so it’s just water, and wipe all the grips down again.
- Let the grips dry in a cool shady spot so they are not baking in the sun (this can cause them to crack and deteriorate)
- Clean your grips with a golf towel after each round so that deep cleaning them is much easier.
How to clean golf clubs on the course
Cleaning golf clubs at home is a LOT easier if your golf clubs are already relatively clean. The best way to do this is to be properly prepared on the golf course. Having the right golf accessories can also help improve this process.
- After each iron shot, I step on the golf club to use my shoe to remove any excess dirt or sand.
- Before placing the golf club in the bag, I use a damp towel to wipe the face; a golf towel that is large enough to have a wet and a dry area is a good option.
At the end of the round, use a wet towel to wipe down each club and then a dry towel to dry the clubs off before storing; it should take about a minute to do all 14 clubs.
Tips To Make Golf Club Cleaning Easier/More Effective
Here are a few of my best tips to help keep your golf clubs cleaner:
- Get a really big towel to have on the bag; it just makes cleaning all the clubs easier
- Don’t forget to wash the towel after every round or two
- Get into the habit of wiping the club as a “post shot” routine, and there is much less dirt to get out of the grooves
- Stay away from harsh cleaning substances; if you feel like water and soap aren’t enough, think of more natural cleaners like vinegar and lemon
- Never put your clubs away wet; they will rust
- Always let grips dry outside the bag after washing
Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about cleaning golf clubs at home and on the course.
What should I clean my golf clubs with?
The best thing to clean golf clubs with is a little soap and water and a microfiber cloth, do not use harsh or abrasive cleaners as they could ruin the finish on your golf clubs.
What is the easiest way to clean golf clubs?
The easiest way to clean golf clubs is with a damp microfiber towel or cleaning cloth; golf club cleaning brushes that disperse water when they brush can also be a good option for irons and wedges.
How do you clean golf clubs so they look new?
First, clean all golf clubs with soap and water and remove any dirt, sand, or grit that you may see on the clubs. You can then use a specific golf club polish to shine the clubs up, but it is not necessary and should not be used on the face of the club as it could impact ball flight.
How do you clean and make golf clubs shiny again?
Cleaning golf clubs with soap and water will help them look shiny again. If you have traditional steel irons, a little steel wool can also help them shine a bit without having to use any polish. Golf club polish is another option, but it typically doesn’t last long and will dull out.
Final Thoughts on How to Clean Your Golf Clubs
Cleaning golf clubs has become a little more advanced now that golf club materials and finishes have improved.
Be smart about this. If you have a jet-black finish on your clubs and you go at it with a traditional steel brush for irons, it will do some damage.
Sticking with a wet microfiber cloth is by far the way to go!
We hope you’ve gotten value out of our brief tutorial on how to clean golf clubs. Let us know what you think below.