Welcome to another edition of the Fully Equipped mailbag, an interactive GOLF.com series in which our resident dimplehead (a.k.a., GOLF’s managing editor of equipment, Jonathan Wall) fields your hard-hitting gear questions.
How long can I go before replacing my current set of grips? — Ryan Lockwood
With golfers all over the country returning to the course, this feels like a good week to answer a softball gear question. Before you start logging regular rounds, take a quick look at your grips. That means every single one of them, including the putter.
Do they have a sheen or look worn in spots? The eye test is generally a good place to start when assessing the state of your rubber handles. If significant wear exists, or if you’re noticing the grip is starting to slip in your hands on humid or rainy days — this is one of the worst feelings in the world — it’s time for a fresh set. But like a set of tires, you don’t want to replace them when they’re completely bald and fraying.
Several years back, Golf Pride conducted a study that revealed a set of worn, two-year-old grips can cost a golfer 3-4 shots, on average, over the course of a round. Marinate on those numbers for a moment and you begin to see the importance of keeping up with the tread on your grips.
Heat, dirt, and oils from your hands are biggest culprits when it comes to the natural degradation of a grip. As the grip starts to wear down, bad habits start to creep in that can lead to poor shots and a lack of confidence. One way to combat the wear and tear is to wash your grips with soapy water after every couple of rounds to remove the dirt and oil accumulation, but even that won’t keep you from eventually replacing them.
So how often should you really be changing out your grips? If you’re a tour pro, it’s every six weeks to two months based on conditions and usage. Unless you’re logging near-daily rounds, that would excessive and unnecessary for the average recreational golfer. On average, a set of grips is good for 40 rounds — one practice session counts as one round — which means golfers who play regularly should be doing a yearly replacement.
We’ve covered how to regrip your own clubs; it’s a simple process that can be done at home, provided you have the right tools. With grips ranging between $5 to $9 (per grip), it remains one of the most inexpensive ways to tune up your gear. And if you don’t have the tools to do it yourself? Be sure to factor in $2 to $3 per grip to have a club tech perform the task.
Now go give your grips a once-over before heading to the course.