Clean those grooves.
Little Things Can Mean A Lot
It would be very hard to write 100 articles a year for this blog if it wasn’t for you guys and ladies sending in your questions for me to consider. So, don’t forget click on the link below and send me whatever you are wondering about in the short game, equipment, or any other golf topic that you’ve been thinking about. I will do my best to give it full coverage, and you’ll win a new EIDOLON wedge.

As I reviewed the questions from readers for today’s column, one from Lee R. asked about a couple of little things that he was wondering about. He’s working hard to get better but says it amazes him how many golfers will just play with a wide array of different balls and never bother to clean the face of their clubs before a shot . . . the little things.

Well, Lee, I’ve always believed that in golf and life, little things can mean a lot. Let’s stick to golf today and I’ll address those two issues and a few others that might change your success on the course.
1. Playing different brands of balls. I’ve written about this before, but there are so many good products out there, with so many different playing characteristics, it can make a huge difference, especially in your short game and putting touch. I’m a firm proponent of finding a ball you like (preferably one that spins a lot) and then sticking to it. That will give you consistent performance and feel for an improved short game.

2. Cleaning your clubface. For consistent performance, you should approach each shot with a “squeaky clean” clubface, particularly on your irons and wedges, where the last shot probably left grass and dirt in the grooves. Grooves are in the news now with the USGA changes to geometry soon to take effect, but a groove that is half-filled with dirt is a spin killer. Keep a moist towel or brush on your bag and wipe off that clubface before or after each shot. It might save you one or two shots a round.

3. Dirty or worn out grips. The least expensive piece of golf equipment is the one most overlooked. If you have been playing your irons, wedges, driver or any club more than a year or so, the grips could very well need replacing. Clubs can last forever . . . grips wear out. Take a little time and inspect them. The two most common wear spots are where the two thumbs lie on the grip. If you see visible wear, replace the grips! And at least every few rounds, take your clubs in to the house and wash them with warm water, a mild cleanser like Comet or Ajax and a soft brush. Your hands and the bottom of your bag get them dirty, and you gradually lose control, so you just grip tighter. Not a very good solution.

4. Worn out spikes. We’re all wearing soft spikes now, and they just don’t last that long, especially if our course has us walking across the parking lot or on cart paths very much. Take a look and replace them if the points are worn back. Unsure footing can cause errant golf shots.

5. Get In The Zone. Most of us play golf much more for social reasons than for the game itself. It’s fun spending a few hours with your buddies, and enjoying life together. But it’s not fun to hack and gouge around the course either. To get the most out of your golf, and have fun, too, develop a routine for “getting in the zone” when you get ready to hit each shot. I’ll write more on this soon, but when you approach your ball and it’s time for golf again, take about 5-10 seconds to forget that story your buddy was just telling, and focus on your shot.
I’m sure there are dozens more little things that could go on this list, so I’ll look to you guys to help complete it for Lee and everyone else here. Chime in guys . . . and ladies . . . and let’s see what all we can come up with.

See you Friday with the next installment of our short game series.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.


[ comments ]
Kickntrue says:
Terry- couldn't agree more on a lot of these, especially number 4. I can't stand how fast these soft spikes wear out. I feel like I need to replace them every 3 or 4 rounds... but what are you doing to do? I think it's funny though that practically every course in America requires softspikes- yet the pros can wear metal. What gives?
10/13/09
 
bducharm says:
It's really funny you mention these things Terry. I have a good friend I play golf with. I asked him recently during a round which wedge he used for a particular shot. He said the one with the cleanest face!!! I looked at his wedges and they were gunked up pretty bad. This guy is a 6 handicap!!!
10/13/09
 
Upstart says:
How often should we regroove our wedges? And do we only regroove the actual wedges or would it benifit to regroove the 5-9i as well?
10/13/09
 
Banker85 says:
i need to replace my spikes really bad but i hear that its not that easy with the little tool in the kit? anyone else have this problem? whats the easiest way besides buying new shoes?

Also worn out gloves for those who wear them should be checked, i can not get a comfortable grip with a hard feeling glove or worn out glove. I have sweaty hands so i have to have one but if i cant fel comfortable holding the club i know the shot will suffer.
10/13/09
 
chief_broom says:
Any truth to the old adage that using sand paper on your club grips when they begin to wear can extend the lifespan?
10/13/09
 
activesense says:
@ jessehunt - what kind of spikes do you have? I use Champ Scorpion Stingers with Q-Lok, the tool that comes with them is very awkward to use so I bought a $5 spike wrench. I don't know if it would work on all brands of spikes, never needed to try a different brand. Hit your local big box golf store and I am sure they have what you need.
10/13/09
 
bducharm says:
@ Upstart - depends on how much you play - I play quite a bit of golf (and hit hundreds of pratice balls per week). I usually replace my wedges every year. In between I make sure that I keep the grooves clean, even cleaning them after a few shots while practicing. Continuing to hit club with dirt in the grooves will compact the dirt and make it tougher to clean.
10/13/09
 
bducharm says:
@ jessehunt - Usually most courses will have a spike wrench for you to use or even do it for you (depending). activesense is correct - if you have a Golfsmith close by where you live, take your shoes there and they may even help you with them.
10/13/09
 
bducharm says:
@ chief_broom - again, it depends on your grips (which materials). I am a corded grip guy - love corded grips. Some of the softer compound grips may get chewed up with sandpaper. The best thing you can do is clean your grips after EVERY practice session or round. They will last MUCH longer that way - kind of like changing your oil in your car!!!
10/13/09
 
Tim Horan says:
There was an article not long ago in Golf Monthly. Using Iron Byron and two four irons one clean and one dirty. The clean club produced greater backspin, lift and as a consequence distance carry but reduced side spin. The dirty club was on average 9 yds shorter and 3-4 yds more widely dispersed. So I would advise clean your clubs especially the grooves after every shot; the tour guys or rather their caddies do it and for one very good reason. It pays!
10/14/09
 
Tim Horan says:
I carry a towel on my bag dampened with white spirit to club faces and grips.
White spirit leaves the grips grease free and slightly tacky.
10/14/09
 
Richatvillage says:
What is White Spirt & where can you get it? Thanks!
10/15/09
 
Banker85 says:
its just a cleaning solevant ace hardware truevalue menards etc.
10/15/09
 
cheymike says:
Its a substitute for turpentine, also called Stoddard solvent. Very common.
10/16/09
 
wedgeguy says:
I would be careful with solvents on today's grips, as you might get a reaction that could liquify the material a little. Ditto with the sandpaper, as it actually removes material. Like I said, a mild abrasive cleane and soft bristle brush is best, as it also gets the dirt in the grip pattern.
10/16/09
 
mikeyg1115 says:
wedge guy, i have heard so many differing opinions about the life span of a driver and golf balls. is there a "life span" on either? and if there is, how long is the life span?
11/19/09
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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