If you are in a market where golf has not been allowed during the lockdown, we are sure you are going "stir crazy" like we us! We are getting lots of questions about what you can do during your time away from the course. In this post we'll focus a bit little on the equipment side of that equation. Great technique can be undone by out of 'spec' equipment: not holding greens, inconsistent yardage, inconsistent misses (left or right). All of these can also be explained by equipment issues.
We would suggest getting familiar with your set. Now you might say that "hey, it's my set. I know my clubs". But we'd like you to do a set Assessment/Inspection -- some of which we do in the shop.
1) Remove all your clubs from your bag. Make a list of what you have from the longest club to the shortest. (e.g. D,3fw, 19*hy, 4,5,6,etc.)
[img:hand written table]
While you are at it, why not empty all the compartments and pockets. You'll be surprised in what you might find! If anything like ours, you might find an old ball marker that you thought you lost! Broken tees, ripped gloves, a smashed candy bar. We also found plenty of score cards - how about putting all those scores into your handicap software (plug: if you don't have one, the grint is awesome)
Once all your clubs are out, let's start with cleaning the clubs. Get a plastic mug or buck and put some dish detergent in it and a two (3) rags, a soft bristle brush.
a) Grips: Dip one of the rag in your soapy water and lets wipe down your grips. This will remove all the "gunk" that's built up on them. One of the reasons that grips breakdown is that the oils/salt from your skin permeates the grips and hastens their detioriation. Keep the second rag ready with clean, non-soapy water, and remove the soap. Now just let the set the club aside and let the grips dry
b)Club Heads: You can use that same bucket of water and place each club (shaft down) into the bucket. Depending on how dirty your heads are you might need to leave them in there for about 5 mins or longer! If the buildup is light you can just the same soapy rag to wash them. Your goal is to get all the dirt out of the grooves. If the rag doesn't do it, use the brush and push out the dirt but pushing/dragging along in-line with the grooves. Once washed, use the clean water rag to wipe down, the use a the dry rag to dry them.
c)Shaft: A light wipe down down with the dry rag should be sufficient.
3) Voila your clubs are cleaned and ready for speccheck inspection!
a) Grips: Let's start our inspection by looking the grips first. Inspect both ends and see if any rips/tear or cracks are starting to appear. If there rips, it's time for replacement. If cracks are starting, the rips will happen soon. You might think that because you aren't playing that the grips are getting old/worn. But this isn't true. In fact, grips with higher elastomer content tend to break down just by being out in the air. If no rips or tears, lets see if there are any "shiny areas", this means that your salt/age has broken through the top layer and a good portion of the grip "tackiness" will be gone. Lastly, let's look for any indentations where you hold the clubs - if you are seeing these the grips are done 100% and are probably don't conform to the grips standards from the USGA. It's also a good time to talk with us or your instructor on your actual grip technique.
Rank the condition for each club: 1 No glossiness, tears,
cracks 2-showing signs of wear but no visible cracks/tears;
3-Showing significant wear, cracks, tears, indentations, shiny
b)Heads: Looks do a basic groove check. If you've ever done a fitting session with us, you might remember the role of grooves. If you said "to generate spin", you are in the majority; but wrong. Spin is generated by friction between the ball and club face. When you face gets worn out, the depth of the grooves gets reduced and can't hold/trap the same amount of water, dirt, grass. That means the friction generated is reduced and thus the spin. This has a direct impact on distancecontrol So how can you inspect the groove depth? Visually, look for consistency of depth from side to side. Use your nail and drag it across each groove. Look for "folding" edges of inside edges. It's more important on the bottom 3-4 grooves. Also a good time to see if you can identify where the face is getting worn - heal/center/toe. Share this with us or your instructor!
Rank the condition for each club: 1-Little signs of wear or
consistent depts between groves or across grove 2-Depth varies
but can still get most of a nail in there ;)
Shows wear and some inconsistencies across/between grooves
3-some groove sections have no depts or show signs of folding
(this is how we check groove depth!)
c)Shafts: Let's look up and down the shaft and see if any rust spots, cracks. Also time to look your ferrules. That's the little plastic piece that some clubs have that covers the joint where the head and shaft meet. It should be pushed up against the club hosel. If not, it could just be a cosmetic issue or it could be that the shaft is pulling out.
Rank the condition for each club: 1- no rust or cracks, ferrule
is tight against club head 2-some rust and ferrule snug against
club head 3-rust/cracks or ferrule can be moved up/down or rotated or
is separated from the club head.
Now in our shop we also measure each heads loft, lie, length consistency, swing weight and total weights. But doing these takes additional specialised equipment.
Now let's look at your list of clubs/rankings: 3's mean replacement or repair immediately. 2's are fine but likely will turn to 3's after about 6 more months of play. If you have any 3's on the shaft or heads, you should see your club professional asap!
We can usually do all all of the above in about 40 min and give you report. If you have any 3's it might be useful to use this time to get an order in so that once things open up, we can repair or replace as quickly as possible.