Unkept grips lead to an unlived game
A golfer’s swing is directly related to his grip as it is the only portion of the club that touches the golfer’s hand. Harvey Penick, the American Golf coach, once said that ‘the game of golf revolves around good fundamentals of address and grip. So if you have a bad grip, don’t go looking for a good swing.’
So, it is safe to say that the condition of the grip dictates your game; which leads to a well-thought, but the oft-ignored question – How to Clean Golf Club Grips?
Cleaning the grips is a regular part of the golf equipment maintenance. It not only helps keep the grips looking new but also enhances its overall usability. Body oils, dirt, mud can substantially damage the grip. If you need to hold the grip tighter due to slippage, then it’s time to clean them and save some money on getting a new one.
The following steps will ensure that your grips remain ever-performing.
Carefully assess the issues with your grip. The most common problem with the grip is the cuts and abrasions on the opening of the grip. Some grips collect air-bubbles rendering it unusable even after a thorough wash. In such cases, it is better to replace the grip. If the grip is in good condition, without any torn sides, then it is good to clean them up.
Following are the signs of grip wear-and-tear:
- Glowing or Shiny Patches
- Hardening or smoothening of the Grip surface
- Faded spots on the grip
What things can get accumulated on your grip? They can be-
- Oils from our hands
- Sunscreen residue
- Food scraps
- Puddle remains
Cleaning apparatus that you would need:
- Simple bucket or Bathroom/Kitchen sink
- Lukewarm water
- Washing Liquid
- Dry Towel
- Cleaning brush or old toothbrush
Cleaning Soft or Genuine Leather Grips
Soft grips need gentler washing compared to synthetic grips. Care should be taken about soap and detergents. Soap is naturally acidic, corrosive, and contains fatty acids that can reduce the life of the grip. The following steps need to be undertaken for cleaning these grips:
- Use a clean, dry towel to wipe the grip from top to bottom
- Squeeze dry a towel, immersed water, and gently clean the grips. Caution: Do not use rubbing alcohol or detergent solution to clean the grips. Neither should a brush be used as rubbing it will destroy the soft surface
- After cleaning the grip, blow it dry
Cleaning Rubber-Based Grips
Rubber-based grips are sturdy compared to porous grips; hence, it can be cleaned using good quality cleaning brushes. Rubber grips have pores on the surface, which become slippery due to the accumulation of dirt, sweat, and other contaminants, almost leading to the destruction of the grip if left uncleaned.
Cleaning golf grips in a bucket of water:
Rubber based grips can collect loose dirt on the hollow stripes or the edges. Use a brush to remove the dirt and sand from the surface lightly. If a rubbing brush is not available, an old toothbrush, nylon brush or a tee peg can be used instead. This will ensure that the dirt from the grooves of the club is cleaned out.
- Put some detergent or dish soap in warm water and prepare a lather solution, preferably in a bucket. Dip a clean towel in the solution and squeeze it dry
- Use the towel to wipe the Rubber grip thoroughly. Caution – Don’t immerse the grip in the detergent solution
- After wiping with the towel, rinse the grips gently to remove any soapy residue
Alternatively, you can clean them in your kitchen sink by the following method:
- Insert a stopper in your sink and fill it with water. Spurt a little dishwashing detergent and create a good lather
- Take some the lather or suds on a kitchen towel and gently rub the grips
- Rinse the grips under flowing cold or warm tap water. Caution: Don’t let the water spill on the shaft (if you have not removed the grips while cleaning). Don’t use hot water as they may destroy the glue underneath the grips that keep them attached to the shaft
Using Custom Wipes
Custom wipes are available which are specially prepared for cleaning all types of golf grips – soft, porous and synthetic rubber. The wipes can be effectively used to dry the grip fast, so it can be used for a quick cleaning before the game. These wipes are easy to carry around in the golf club and are recommended for on-course cleaning during the game.
Useful solvents are now commercially available to help clean the grips. These solvents dissolve mold and other contaminants like sweat and dirt found on the grip. Cleaning golf grips with solvents ensures the elimination of all contaminants and oily residue that is left even after washing with dish soap.
Many of these solvents are available as sprays which can be easily carried and used during the game. One bottle of such a solvent is enough to clean an entire set of grips in 10 minutes. Commercially available solvents have detailed instructions on the product which need to be followed by its user.
There are numerous possibilities of a game going wrong. However, an unclean grip should not be one of the reasons. Studies have shown that slick and muddy grips can alter the club speed and performance by 11%. A costly pair of clubs may be rendered ineffective by an unclean grip. Hence, we all affirm to the adage – Cleaning is a practice and not a project!