40 Things You Need To Know About Your Equipment
If your gear has idly been sitting in the closet since the first snowfall, or if you’ve been enjoying year-round golf but failing to pay the attention your golf clubs deserve, then now’s the time to give your set a serious once-over and look for ways to improve its performance.
A visit with a professional clubfitter is always the best medicine, but a few of our home remedies might keep your gear from a trip to the infirmary, from the shoes on your feet to the driver in your hand. So get your set out and follow these simple tips to ensure that your clubs are ready, willing and able to give you the best shot of playing to your potential, whether it’s this week or when the first thaw hits.
1. Make Your Mark
One of the most important accessories you should carry in your golf bag is a permanent marker (like a Sharpie®). Even more important is using that marker to make a recognizable identifying mark on your golf balls—all of them. Being able to quickly identify your ball is an often-overlooked responsibility and one to which more recreational players should adhere. It’s in the Rules, after all. Plus, it’s a fun way to personalize your game. Many a Tour pro has honored his or her family, country, etc., with a creative mark.
2. Give Your Grips New Life
If your grips have begun to crack, and/or show serious signs of wear, then it’s time to replace them. Opt for grips of similar diameter and weight, or consult a clubfitter as to what’s best for you. If your grips are crack-free and show just a few signs of wear and a loss of tackiness, start by washing your grips with rinse-free dish soap. (Don’t use hand or body soap—you need a cleaning solution that leaves no oily residue.) Dish soap works best. Then roughen them up a bit with low- or fine-grit sandpaper. This will make them good as new.
3. Shorten That Putter Shaft
Most putting experts agree that at address, your eyes should be over the golf ball and the arms should hang directly underneath the shoulders. This provides the best stance to judge the line and move the putter on the correct path. Most putters, however, are offered with shafts in the 35-inch range, making this setup a near impossibility. Trim your putter shaft to 30 to 32 inches and you’ll be surprised at the results.
4. Iron Check
When looking at a new iron, be realistic about your needs. Regardless of looks or what people say, most golfers have better results with irons that feature at least a moderate degree of offset, simply because they’re easier to square at impact. Sole design also is very important—irons with wider soles have more bounce and will tend to be more forgiving. Irons with narrower soles and less bounce tend to dig more, especially with swings that are somewhat steep. Finally, cavity design and CG location should be a consideration. Irons with larger cavities (and wider soles) tend to have a lower CG, which makes it easier to get the ball airborne consistently.
5. Rust Out
Some wedges are designed to rust. With most irons, however, rust is unsightly and can negatively affect performance. To remove rust, use an old toothbrush and vinegar. Scrub briskly, rinse, then dry. Sure, there are more advanced rust-removal solutions, but the vinegar method should get the job done.