Regripping Your Own Clubs
By klangdon on 8/20/07
Regripping is an essential part of owning golf clubs. How often should you regrip? That depends on how often you play or in my case how many hours you spend walking around your house with a lob wedge in hand (it helps me think). Most material I have seen recommends regripping every 25-50 rounds. Some studies have shown that golfers playing with worn grips show improvement of 3-4 strokes after regripping. A couple of hours in the garage is definitely worth 3-4 strokes.
My improvised vise grip
Cutting off the old
Widdlin' away the old tape
Beautiful clean shaft
Applying the tape
Ready to roll
Why Do It Yourself?The obvious reason is that you can save a little coin. Most pro shops will charge you about $5-$10 per club. A whole set usually can be regripped for about $90. DIY the total price tag comes out to something closer to $50.
More importantly, I think regripping can is another emotional outlet for those of us addicted to the game of golf. A valuable time to understand and bond with our equipment. It is akin to the skiier waxing his skiis or the biker adjusting his derailer.
Before we get our hands dirty, a disclaimer, I have never worked in a pro shop nor have I ever even seen someone replace a golf grip prior to my own effort. Some of you might run in fear from my lack of experience, but hopefully others will relish the chance to understand the process from someone with a perspective simliar to their own.
Choosing the Right GripsThere are two sizes associated with grips. The internal shaft diameter and the external size. The external size comes in 3-4 different flavors from small to jumbo. Choose the external size based on your hand size and the feel you like. Most grip companies have charts that correspond external grip size to glove sizes.
The internal size is based on the diameter of your shaft at the base or butt. You can get this from your club manufacturers specification sheet, for example I found mine here: Adams Golf Specifications. If you can't find similar data for your own clubs or just want to be 100% certain, cut off your old grip and measure the diameter at the end of your shaft.
Tools and KitThe project is going to require the following items:
Remove the Old GripYou can decide for yourself if you want to clamp the club down or just hold it yourself. If you are clamping, just remember that those shafts are hollow and don't tighten it too much. Before you remove the old grip I found it useful to mark where I wanted the final grip logo to line up against the shaft. You don't want to find later that your closing your club face just because the logo or grip marking is a little off center. Use a utility knife to just shred the heck out of the old grip and pull it off the shaft. You can buy all kinds of crazy tools that inject solvent under old grips, but I found that this step was pretty simple. You just have to be willing to hack away...
Remove The Old TapeThis is by far the toughest step. I tried all kinds of tactics to get this grimy stuff off and what worked best was just running the utility knife down the shaft, countless times. If you want you can buy a tape removal tool. It is just a rounded blade that is used in the same manor. Neither tool is suggested when replacing grips on graphite shafts. In this case your going to want to resort to a brush from your wife's cleaning closet.
Once you have most of the tape cut away, work at it with a rag and some solvent/thinner. You need a clean surface to put the new tape on, so don't give up until you see your reflection in that shaft. You will also want to dig into the hollow butt end of the shaft and remove any tape in there. As you will see later, the excess is folded inside.
Applying The New TapeRemove ONE side of the tape. It doesn't seem to matter which one, at least not with the tape I purchased. Carefully place it lengthwise along the shaft with about a 1/2 inch of it extending past the butt. Then slowly press the tape around the shaft. It will overlay, so you will need to press one side first. Then peel back only part of the remaining paper back, so that you can press the other side around on top of the first. Smooth out the tape as best possible before removing the paper completely. Fold the 1/2" of tape that extends past the butt into the shaft end.
Shovin' On The New GripThis part gets messy, so you will want to make sure you have something under where you are working and some towels close on hand. Pour your solvent over the the grip tape and make sure its completely covered. While covering the small hole on the end of the new grip, pour a decent amount of solvent into the other end. Put your hand over the large end and do a quick dance to shake that stuff all over the inside of the grip.
Once everything is soaked in solvent, you need to slide this thing on. Make sure the logo is lined up where you want it. Then put the bottom lip of the grip on first and wiggle it around until you get the whole thing over the butt of the club. As quick as possible, slide the grip down the shaft until you feel the back of it hit the butt. Line up the logo with the mark you made from the old grip. Then make sure everything is looking good and wipe away any extra solvent.
It will take at least an hour for everything to set. Once it does, you should be golden and ready to shave 3-4 strokes off your game. Although I didn't drop any strokes myself, the new grips felt great.
The process took about 15 minutes per club, but I'm sure there are hundreds of little tricks out there to make this process easier and faster. I would love to see some good comments and suggestions below from others that have discovered the pleasure in doing their own grips.
[ comments ]
Get a hook-style blade for the utility knife. Make one long "incision" up the old grip and peel it back like a banana. Takes 15-20 seconds max. No need to "shred" the old grip.
Lighter fluid is the best solvent to my opinion mineral spirits i haven't tried but will on the next.
Curious, what are people using to get the tape off of graphite shafts? Is steel wool too rough?
Wow, I have read other websites and found some horror stories, so I bought just one grip and tryed it on my 7 iron. Just as you stated and I now can't figure out where these other people had problems. I will finish the rest of the clubs myself. I did find that it took longer then one hour for mine to set up. Maybe because it was very humid out. Thanks for your instructions.
If you buy a kit they provide a rubber sleave to use with a table vise. Keeping the club held in place is key to sliding the grip on all the way and setting it straight.
beisenhauer is right, an investment in the hook utility blades is great and will save you time, took the old grips off in about a minute each. Also invest in the plastic or rubber shaft holder, and a vice, it just makes the process so much easier. Paint thinner was quick and easy to use, also cheaper then the solvents. When you are shaking the solvent in the grip put a tee in the hole on the bottom of the grip, much easier then having the solvent pour out the bottom. Also you must put the grip on when the tape is as wet as possible it makes the grip slide on very easy, when sliding it on, hold the grip on the bottom almost pushing it on with you palm, dont stop sliding it, should be one constant motion.
Marc D says:
I put a tee into the hole at the end of the grip as well. It not only keeps the process clean but creates air pressure inside which I think helps to expand the grip and get the grip on easily. When you take the tee out you'll know right away how much pressure builds up.
I love it, reminds me of retaping my hockey stick when I was younger which helps with the bonding as the Wedgeguy mentioned and what he says is true. I've recently switched from Golf Pride Tour wrap to tour velvet, both are great.
Black and decker makes a workbench/vice combo that works awesome for this. You'll use the workbench all the time for other things too. It's nice because the whole bench top splits in half, and acts as the vice. It is groved, and fits the shaft perfect with no damage.
my only comment is, where is the white alignment line supposed to go? is it supposed to match up with the leading edge of the club face or straight down the club's shaft? this really comes into it if you have an off set...
If I were to try this, I'd go to the local "second hand" golf store and pickup a couple $5 or $10 irons to practice on before trying it on my own clubs. A cheap investment to make sure you don't have to buy a new set of clubs because you crushed your shafts re-gripping them.
Most grips have a logo. If there is not logo, they may have small "registration marks" on the grip at the opening and/or on the butt end. Some grips have both a logo and the registration marks. Use these marks as the key to your alignment.
How do you line them all up and with what?
Place your club in your vice or other clamping device with the toe of the club straight up in the air. Look at the clubface and locate the bottom groove. That bottom groove should be held absolutely vertical. Do not use the top of the clubhead or the bottom of the head for alignment. There are many shapes and angles so will be misleading. For perfect alignment, put the grip on the shaft so that the logo or any registration marks are diectly on top of the shaft and also lined up perfectly with the bottom groove of the clubhead. To make sure, put the club in the playing position and site down the shaft. All the grip markings and the bottom groove should all line up.
Acetone is the best solvent i find. You can even remove your old grips intact by injecting it in under them with a syringe and needle. I was however wondering if you could use a contact adhesive instead of tape.
I have done a number of my own and friends grips. I align grips by using a gripping gig from Golf Smith. Costs more but helps to keep everything straight. I also plug the small hole with my ring finger, pour in the solvent to about 1/6th full in the grip and then tightly cover the top (large) hole in the grip with my thumb and shake it up and down to coat the inside of the grip. I then hold the grip vertically over the tape and remove my finger from the small hole and then remove my thumb and let the solvent in the grip dribble over the tape. This usually coats all of the tape nicely and then I push the grip on and align. I also have one of my kids hold a paint tray under the club to catch any spillage. This process works great for me!
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