Does it really help your game if you clean your golf clubs after each round?

July 31, 2019

I can still hear the voice of my former high school golf coach, back in 1995:

“If your clubs aren’t clean, you don’t play.”

It was team policy, back in those halcyon days in Southwest Michigan, to scrub your irons and buff your driver-heads before boarding the bus for a competition. I imagine back then our coach saw it unbecoming to meet a rival school with divots dangling from our wedges.

It’s not particularly difficult to clean your clubs. Grab a bucket, fill it with soap and warm water, snag an old toothbrush or a scrub brush, plus one towel. You can figure it out from there. But why bother? As most golfers no doubt know, there are benefits to cleaning your clubs that go beyond aesthetics. It starts with performance. You don’t want to risk your clubs acquiring rust, or that exterior polish being somehow compromised. And you’d like a to hit a wedge shot with at least some spin, right? If you’ve ever seen how pros are able to get their shots to check up on putting surfaces, the benefits are apparent. That can’t happen if your grooves are caked with dirt. One expert also says there are benefits to spotless sticks that extend beyond a spinning iron shot.

“While there’s the obvious performance issues related to cleaning the clubs — especially the grooves with the wedges — there’s a psychological element as well,” says GOLF Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs. “It’s important to leave the last round or practice session in the proper perspective, learning from the mistakes and building upon the successes. Cleaning the clubs, organizing the bag, et cetera., presents a fresh opportunity the next time you play or practice and serves to wipe the slate clean in addition to the clubs.”

Love that advice. Have a bad round? Wipe it clean while scrubbing your clubs in the process. And one last thing: don’t forget your grips. Giving those babies a wipe-down to remove the sweat and sunscreen will help them last longer, and they’ll just feel softer in your hands the next time you tee up.

After all, nothing feels better than a fresh start.