Are you in the market for a new set of golf clubs? While most of us won’t be spending anywhere near $76,000 on a new set of clubs as Forbes reported last year, even a more moderately priced set can still add up. A top-of-the-line driver ranges from $300 to $600, a set of irons (usually 3-iron through pitching wedge) ranges from $700 to $1,200, and a top-of-the-line putter may cost as much as $300. Add it all up, and a high-quality set of golf clubs could easily cost over $2,000- and that’s before you figure in the cost of a golf bag, balls and greens fees.
No matter how much you’ve spent on your clubs, you’ll want to protect your financial investment by extending your clubs’ lifespan as much as possible. Yes, some nicks and scratches are inevitable. Any sand, dirt or grit that gets between the ball and the club can cause a scratch. But with regular cleaning and inspection, most long-term damage could be avoided or corrected. Here are some helpful tips:
1. Keep the clubs clean. Carry a towel with you and wipe the clubs after each shot. Doing so will not only help stop dirt and debris from interfering with your shot accuracy, but also help to prevent minor nicks and scratches. Golf Links recommends cleaning your clubs in a bucket of lukewarm water and mild dish soap after every three rounds or at least after each day on the course. Also, wipe down steel shafts with a towel after use. Graphite shafts can scratch easily and should be wiped with water and a soft cloth; do not use soap or other solvents on the shaft; doing so could damage the shaft’s protective layers.
2. Moisture is the enemy. While soapy water is great for cleaning off your heads after a shot, long-term water exposure can cause clubs to rust. If you’re playing a round in the rain, be sure to use a rain cover on your bag to protect the shafts from damage and prevent dampness in the bag interior. Check your clubs regularly for rust. Mild rust can be buffed away with a fine grade steel wool.
3. Do a regular spot check. Even if you haven’t been out on the greens recently, it’s still a good idea to check your clubs every month or so for potential damage incurred during storage. Check the clubs’ heads for dents or scratches. Minor scratches can be corrected away with a stainless or chrome polish. While steel shafts are extremely durable, graphite shafts are prone to damage. If you play frequently, talk to your club’s pro shop about the best wax sealer for your graphite shafts.
4. Protect your clubs when traveling. Most golfers have a trick or two they swear to prevent club damage when traveling. In addition to use a hard carrying case, a few tricks to try include: wrapping clubs individually in bubble wrap with a towel over the top to hold them secure; placing a broom stick or PVC pipe in the bag to act like a “stiff arm” and putting a sock over the irons to hold them together and reduce scratches. TSA agents typically inspect all clubs, so be prepared for the clubs to not make it to your final destination the same way you packed them! If you’re worried about club theft, check with your insurance agent to make sure your clubs are sufficiently protected before your next trip.
5. Store clubs in climate-controlled spaces. Don’t keep your clubs in the car trunk! While it’s tempting to keep the clubs there if you’re playing frequently, they’re much more likely to be damaged. Hit a few bumps in the road and your clubs can be unnecessarily scratched. Worse, in warmer months, the temperature inside your trunk can soar, causing the epoxy in your clubs to break down. Store clubs inside a climate-controlled closet in your house where they’re less likely to be knocked over or damaged.