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How to Clean Rust Off Golf Clubs + MORE Maintenance Tips

Over time, your golf clubs will start to rust. Also, for golfers who hadn’t played for years, rust is a common discovery in their clubs. Fret not, because, with a few steps, you can breathe new life to your rusty golf clubs. For this post, we will help you identify what’s causing the rust on your clubs, how to clean rust off golf clubs, and how to prevent it in the future.

Common golf club damages

At some point, every golfer has experienced problems with their golf clubs. The following are some of the most common issues:

*Rusting. Since all clubheads are made of metal, it will rust over time. Still, you can remove the rust to lengthen the lifespan of your equipment.

*Worn-out grooves. After countless matches, the grooves of your golf club will be worn out and flattened. This is a sign that the club has reached the end of its lifespan. The absence of the groove means there’s a smaller sweet spot to the club.

*Very shiny edges. This is common among wedges. Some golfers prefer dulling the edges of their wedge to remove the excessive shine.

Why do golf clubs get rust?

how to clean rust off golf clubs
Photo Credits: GolfWRX

Take note that it’s quite normal for clubs to have rust over time, much so for irons. Due to oxidation and exposure to outdoor elements, corrosion will take place. So why is your golf club mired with rust? The following reasons could be the culprit:

*You let the moisture dry on it

Moisture is the leading cause of rust. As rain, wet grass, and soil get in contact with the metal clubhead, your club is exposed to rusting. This will progress if you don’t wipe it off after the game. Also, rusting paired with salt particles in coastal areas will cause intense rusting.

*You don’t store it well

If you’re wiping your club every game yet it still formed rust, the storage area may be the problem. A humid area will cause iron to rust, thus the vulnerability of your golf clubs

*You store it then forget it

As much as your storage space might be ideal, your clubs can still have rust if you don’t check it from time to time. Fluctuations in temperatures and the humidity level will affect the susceptibility of your clubs to corrosion.

Does rust affect the performance of a golf club?

Take note that excessive rust will eat away a portion of your golf clubs. This includes the grooves and the edges. So if the corrosion is already advanced, we can say that the rust will affect the performance of the club. For rusted wedges, the ball to face contact will be poor.

However, some players like rusting the edges of their clubs if they find it too shiny. However, it’s only a minimal amount of rust, just enough to dull the finish of the iron.

Should you throw away a rusted golf club?

Not yet! Unless your golf club is crumbling or breaking into pieces, you can still salvage it from corrosion. Again, this depends on how much rust we’re talking about. If your clubs have been in storage for decades and filled with rust, you may want to consider purchasing a new set.

Nevertheless, for casual golfers, removing the rust can still produce a decent club. Below, we discussed simple steps on how to remove this abrasive problem.

Steps on how to clean rust off golf clubs

If your golf club is still usable, you can use the following steps to wash off the rust and regain its look, at least with less rust.

Materials you need:

-Dry and wet sandpaper
-Steel wool
-Hard-bristled toothbrush
-Polishing tool (rags will also do)
-White vinegar
-A large amount of elbow grease
-Metal polish


Step 1. Pour the vinegar into the bucket

The vinegar should be enough to cover the entire clubhead when dipped into the bucket. We recommend that you perform this procedure outdoors. The first reason is the mess and the other is the stink of vinegar.

Step 2. Start scrubbing

While the clubhead is dipped into the vinegar, cup your hand to splash some vinegar to the shaft. Do this only if your shaft is made of iron as well. If not, just work on the clubhead.

After that, get your fine steel wool and rub the steel shaft. You can also rub the back of the club, but don’t use the steel wool on the grooves. Dip the wool into the vinegar from time to time to re-apply the liquid to the parts of the club with rust.

Step 3. Sand the deeply rusted parts

If there are deeply rusted areas, you can use wet sandpaper to scrub it off. You can also sand the grooves mildly while preventing from damaging it.

You can also apply elbow grease to wash away the rust. Don’t hold back with this application. Apply lavishly until the rust is gone.

Step 4. Brush the grooves

After you’re done removing the rust on the clubhead and steel shaft, you have to do a little more deep-cleaning on the grooves. Just dip the toothbrush on the vinegar and scrub the grooves with it. Through this, you can remove the rust between the grooves without causing extensive damage.

Step 5. Clean the handle

Once the clubhead and shaft have been cleaned, you shouldn’t forget the handle. Just mix the vinegar with a small amount of dish soap. After that, use the toothbrush to remove dirt from the handle. Once done, rinse the whole club with clean water. Make sure that no residue is left.

Step 6. Wipe and dry

After washing, wipe your club with a clean rag. After that, let it bask under the sun for an hour to make sure that it’s bone-dry. Drying the club properly is important before doing the next step.

Step 7. Buff it

If you have a cat or a dog, you may have a Dremel. You can use the bit to polish the clubhead and shaft for added shine. Just apply a small amount of metal polish and finish it off with the Dremel.

If a Dremel isn’t handy, just buff the club manually using a clean piece of rag. After that, your club will look better and ready for the golf course.

Photo Credits:

How to prevent rust on your golf clubs

-Avoid two things: humidity and salt

Salt and moisture are the enemies if your golf club. These two elements combined can rust any iron faster than moisture alone. So if you’re located in a coastal neighborhood, always wipe your golf club clean. It also pays to wash it with clean water and dry it well to remove salt particles that came from the air.

-Keep it dry and clean

Also, after each game, wipe your golf clubs from grip to sole. This way, soil, grass, and moisture won’t be left sitting on your equipment. As much as wiping alone doesn’t stop rusting, it prevents premature corrosion.

-Consider applying a metal refinisher

You can also consider using a metal refinisher to bring back the luster of your golf clubs. All you need is a generic metal refinisher, Q-tips, and a propane torch or heat gun. However, don’t try this if you haven’t used a refinisher before, much so for expensive clubs.

Additional golf club maintenance tips

Aside from knowing how to clean rust off golf clubs, you should also learn how to maintain your clubs. This way, you can prevent corrosion and extend the lifespan of your equipment.

*Use head covers

Woods and drivers have very delicate parts that need to be covered. Aside from protecting it from outdoor elements, woods will benefit from the cushioning effect of headcovers.

Take note that jostling the clubs in the bag and into your car will cause abrasions in the clubhead. This isn’t really a big deal for irons, but quite an issue for hybrid clubs. Even if you’re at the golf course, placing head covers to your clubs when not in use is a good choice.

*Use your golf towel

Golf towels are made for one big purpose: to keep your equipment dry and clean. It has an excellent absorbent characteristic that will help dry a golf club in just a few wipes.

With that, you should bring about three to four towels for a whole match. Unless you want soil, grass, and moisture all tossed into your golf bag, wiping the clubhead will save you from the mess.

*Clean the grips too!

Many golfers often neglect the grips, thinking that the clubhead is the only important part. Take note that the grip is in contact with your hands and plays a big role in your matches. If you left it sitting soiled and dirty, you’re bound to spend more bucks for a replacement.

If your club grip is damaged, have it re-gripped in a shop. You can also do it at home if you have the materials and skills. 

*Keep it in the bag

Most golf bags have a stiff base that prevents the clubs from being crushed. So as much as possible, store your clubs inside and avoid tossing it individually at the trunk of your car.

Also, you should sort your clubs on the compartments of the golf bag. Put irons together and sort drivers and wedges accordingly. That way, you can easily find a specific club during the game instead of perusing through it like a bucket of flowers.

*Store it on the right place

Aside from using a golf bag, you should also place the club-filled bag in the right place. Keeping your clubs at the trunk of your car is a no-no. Although it’s convenient for next week’s matches, the excessive heat will cause damages to your drivers.

Also, hot cars will cause the grip to melt and the glue to come off. 

*Inspect each club regularly

Although your clubs look good, you should still perform routine inspections on it. This way, you can spot signs of rusting and other damages. Also, routine checks like this will help you keep your clubs in tip-top shape, especially if you’re always being invited on matches.

*Act upon the first sign of rust

The moment you see spots of rust, act right away to remove it. Use the procedure we discussed above so the corrosion won’t advance to other parts of the club.

Final words

Knowing how to clean rust off golf clubs will save you a large sum of money from buying a new set. Aside from that, you’ll learn how to maintain your equipment and what to do when you notice signs of damages. Aside from playing, you should also know how to keep your clubs in game quality. Do you have something else to add? Ping us below in the comment section!