My Golf Instructor

Maintaining your Equipment
Properly Maintain your Golf Clubs and Equipment

Keep those grooves on your irons cleanClean those Iron Grooves

For anyone that plays competitive sports, keeping their equipment in good shape is a must. Just as tennis players switch racquets when they break strings or baseball players put on a new batting glove when theirs rips or gets worn, golfers should also keep things fresh and in good working order. I'd have to say though that for the majority of students that come across the lesson tee, the thought of cleaning their clubs or changing their grips never crosses their mind. Most golfers buy clubs, think of them as indestructible and maintenance free and go on about their way playing round after round with no thought of how their equipment might be affecting their ball flight.

On the other side of the extreme is tour players. When working at the Midwest Golf Lab a premium golf club fitting and assembling center, I got a taste of just how anal players at the top of their game can be about their equipment. Players such as PGA and Champions Tour player Trevor Dodds would routinely visit the lab every couple of weeks and go back into the fitting center to check the lofts and lies on their clubs. Now grant it, these guys are hitting thousands of balls a week and with a powerful descending blow so their clubs are bound to move a bit out of loft and even wear down faster on the grooves than the average Joe.

Take the Time to Maintain Your Equipment Properly

Clean those Club Grooves

Although most of us don't need to worry about actually wearing the grooves down on our clubs or having the loft and lie change on us, we do need to keep grooves clean to get maximum spin and control and fresh grips to prevent the club face from changing positions as we swing. On top of that we need to make sure our glove isn't getting slick, our spikes aren't wearing out and our ball is clean and free of cuts or abrasions.

Without clean grooves it's pretty much impossible to spin the ball. You need to have the grooves on your club face working with the dimples on the golf ball to impart maximum spin and control on the ball. Having a big clump of mud on the face doesn't help either as it can easily send your ball off-line. Be sure to clean your grooves after every shot. It is as simple as keeping a damp towel with you and making sure to wipe the face quickly before putting the club back in your bag. For hard to get dirt deep in the grooves simply use a tee to scrape it out.

Clean your Grips and Change as Needed

As far as grips go, it never amazes me anymore to pull out a club from a student's bag only to find their grips are as slick as oil. I almost expect it now unless they have a brand new set of clubs. The problem with slick grips is movement. The club can easily move in a player's hands causing the club face to shift. As a result, they will return to the ball with a totally different face angle than with which they started, making misses totally unpredictable. Be sure to keep your grips clean and tacky by wiping them down with a damp cloth. For really dirty grips you can use window cleaner or dish soap. I scrub mine with a tooth brush and liquid dish soap. Just make sure to rinse off whatever cleanser you put on with cool or warm water (avoid hot water so you won't loosen the glue underneath) and dry thoroughly. As a general rule if you play a couple times a week, change your grips at least every 6 months. If you play less than that you may be able to stretch it a year. Not only will it give you more traction, they will have a softer more comfortable feel and it feels like you've got brand new clubs!

Make Sure your Golf Glove is in Good Condition

You will need to buy a new glove for two reasons. First you will need to change your glove as soon as it starts to wear out with holes so you won't get blisters. For the most part if you have a good grip and maintain an even pressure throughout your swing, you shouldn't rip, tear or wear out your glove. However, many good players with sound grips will tend to eventually wear out their glove on the heel pad of their left hand (for right handers). As soon as you see it starting to rip or tear or even stretch out too much be sure to replace it with a fresh one. The second reason would be when it starts to get slick. Just like you need tacky grips to be able to hold onto the club, you need a fresh tacky glove.

Replace your Golf Spikes as Needed

Whether or not golf spikes (soft spikes) are a necessity is debatable. My answer to most students when they ask this question is "no, unless you have poor balance or are on the side of a wet slippery hill!" With that being said, I along with most professionals, but not all, wear them for the extra security. From time to time we all make swings which are out of balance and having that extra hold on the ground really does help. If you wear them and they do help you, just make sure to keep an eye on wear and tear and replace spikes as they lose their ability to provide a good grip on the ground.

Use a Golf Ball that is Clean and in Good Condition

Lastly, inspect your ball anytime you can pick it up (on the green after you've marked or between holes) to make sure you haven't cut or scraped the ball. A cart path bounce or a good bashing against a tree can alter the cover and again affect your ability to spin and control the ball. Just as you wipe down your grooves to get them clear of any dirt make sure to do the same with the dimples on your golf ball. Again, keep that damp towel handy and whenever you get a chance wipe down your ball to keep it as clean as possible.

Following the suggestions above will make you your own best caddy and help you to keep your equipment primed like the best players in the world. It's a challenging game so don't sabotage yourself by slacking with equipment maintenance!

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
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