How to Clean Golf Grips and Why You Should be Doing it

When’s the last time you used clean golf grips?

How to Clean Golf Grips

I’m willing to bet that 99% of golfers never ever clean their golf grips. And that’s quite alright. Heck there’s enough things to worry about when preparing yourself for a round of golf, why bother worrying about your grips right? I’d be scared to look into the scientific reasons of why you should have clean golf grips. I bet there are some pretty nasty things on those grips. But this just looks annoying am I right?!

Well let me give you a quick story on why I clean my grips as much as possible and I think you should as well (if you just want the step-by-step guide then scroll down to the bottom, but you’ll miss this cool story)…

5 years ago I was watching my golf coach at the time clean his grips the evening before a match.

I asked him, “What’s the point of that? You just finished up practicing.”

“Sandy, you probably have never cleaned your grips in your life, have you?” he replied.

I thought about it, “Hmmm, ya I clean them once or twice a year.” I said.

“That’s pretty typical”, he said. “Do you want to hear why I clean my grips every single day after a round or practice session?”

“Every day?!” I questioned, “That seems ridiculous. Isn’t that a waste of time?”

“Is comfort and feel on the golf course a waste of time, or a waste of effort?” he answered.

I could see where he was going with this. He ended up telling me a long story about a close friend of his who was an aspiring pro on the PGA Tour of Australasia. This guy was just getting going as a pro back in 2002 and managed to qualify as an alternate for the New Zealand Open that year. It was one of the bigger events on the Tour and he had done well just to be an alternate. He was just a rookie and to get the chance to play in this tournament was a huge opportunity for him. But of course, as an alternate he wasn’t quite sure whether he would make it in. He also hadn’t been playing too great leading up to the event. His confidence was a little bit shot.

This guy had basically given up hope on the tournament. It was the day before play began and there wasn’t a spot for him yet. Until that evening he got the call he was hoping for. One of the players had pulled out with an injury. He was going to play in the tournament! He was excited. No matter how poorly he had been playing, this was a great event to get into and a great chance for him to earn some money. This terrific news only lasted a moment though, because when he looked at the groupings he nearly fainted. For the first two days of the tournament he was going to be playing with none other than Tiger Woods. Tiger, of course had won two major championships earlier that year and was as intimidating as ever.

My coach spoke with his friend that evening and tried to calm him down. He suggested that he just stick to his routine, clean his clubs and prepare mentally.

This player was very anal about having clean clubs because it made them look brand new. He figured that when he looked and felt good on the course, he played better. Funnily enough, this did not include his grips. He had never cleaned them before in his life. My coach told him to try it out for once. By the sounds of it, he had been telling him this for ages, but the guy wouldn’t listen. But at this point his game needed a ‘shake up’, so he gave it a go. He liked everything else being slick and ‘new’ feeling, so why not his grips as well.

He stayed up for an hour that night wiping down his grips and getting rid of the grease, dirt and chemicals on them (there is a lot of gross stuff that can attach itself to your grips). Over the next two days he played some of the best golf of his life alongside the #1  golfer in the world. He made the cut by 1 shot and made some money that weekend. From that point on he cleaned his grips thoroughly after every single round or practice session, so they were clean and ready to go for the next day. He couldn’t believe the ‘stickiness’ of the grips after cleaning them. It was a sensation he couldn’t golf without from that point on.

So, feeling inspired by this story my coach told me, I decided I had to start cleaning my grips too. And I have to say, it is one of the best things I’ve ever done for my game. I actually feel more confident when I have fresh grips. A clean grip is so much ‘stickier’ and fresh. I can’t believe more golfers don’t do this. If you’re cleaning the club heads already, you may as well clean the grips at the same time. Try it out, it really is an amazing thing!

Here is how to clean golf grips:

Step 1 – Buff with Sandpaper or Rubbing Alcohol

If you have rubber grips or rubber corded grips, then use sandpaper and scrub lightly around the entire grip. This will eliminate that glossy look that your grips get after a while. That glossy texture comes from the oils in your hands and will make your grips slippery over time. You can also scrub harder to even out any grooves that may have set in from your grip pressure.

If you have Winn grips or something similar, then you won’t be able to use sandpaper. Instead you can use some rubbing alcohol and a rag or brush to eliminate the oils and dirt on the grips.

Step 2 – Clean with Soap

Fill a sink or bucket with warm water and a small amount of dish soap. Make sure its warm water. Hot water could melt the glue under the grips, and cold water just doesn’t clean as well. Dip each club in the water and scrub down quite firmly with a brush or rag until they look nice and new.

Step 3 – Rinse and Dry

Rinse the grip in some more warm water to get rid of the soap and any leftover oils. Then use a rag or towel to dry off the grips.

Once they are dry, then you’re ready to go!

This is a bit of a process. It may take you some time to clean all of your clubs, especially the first time you do it. But if you did this  once every 4-5 rounds you play, you’re going to have much better feel with every club. When you feel and look better on the course, this improves your confidence, thus improving your scores.

About Sandy Mackay

I love to play golf. But I can't play everyday. So I write instead. I started this site to share share stories, tips and lessons on getting the most from this great game. For more, follow me @golfersforever