Winter is coming! And for many of us up here in the Northern Hemisphere that means it’s time to put away our golfin’ gear until the spring. “But Scratch,” you may ask,” how do I properly store my gear so it isn’t damaged by the cold, the damp, or the dinosaurs?” Well hypothetical Rock Head, I can’t help you out with dinosaurs, but I can help you protect your golf clubs from the cold and damp of winter. Just follow my easy steps for properly storin’ your golf gear during the winter:
Decide Where You’re Going To Store Your Gear.
DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT store your clubs in your trunk. Not only can is the trunk not climate controlled, but leaving your clubs in there is just asking for them to be stolen. Don’t store your clubs in the garage either. Moisture and cold temperatures can damage your grips, cause shafts to become brittle, and even break down the epoxy securing the club head to the shaft. There are two great places to store your clubs: a climate-controlled storage unit or a closet or corner inside your house. Both locations are nice and warm and there’s less of a chance that your clubs will be damaged.
I’d also recommend storing your golf cart in a climate-controlled storage unit rather than your garage. Freezing temperatures can damage the batteries and humidity can cause rust and mildew. If you decide you don’t want a climate-controlled storage unit for your golf equipment, you can still protect the batteries by having a charge hooked up to the battery overnight to keep them from freezing.
Give Your Clubs A Good Cleaning
Before putting your clubs away, you’ll want to make sure that you’re also not storing all of the past year’s dirt and grass. Mud and grass can impact how a club strikes a golf ball, which means not taking the time to clean mud and grass off of your clubs could affect your game. And don’t think those cleaning buckets at the course are going to cut it. Those are probably contaminated with fertilizer and over time can create surface rust on your clubs. Here’s how to properly clean your clubs before storing them:
1. Soak them. Fill a bucket with a little warm soapy water. Your standard dish soap will work just fine. Put your irons in the water making sure it only covers the head by about 2 inches. Let them soak to loosen the dirt. Don’t soak your woods. Just wet them with a soapy rag.
2. Scrub the club heads with a soft brush. A toothbrush works great!
3. Wipe down the shafts and grips with that soapy rag.
4. Use your garden hose to wash them off
5. Dry them COMPLETELY before putting them back in the bag.
For milled putters, you might also add baby oil or Vaseline all over before putting on the head cover. This tip will also work on unplated carbon steel wedges to prevent them from pitting and rusting. If you are storing your equipment in an area that might be humid (like a damp basement or live near the ocean), you might even want to put chrome cleaner or wipe the golf steel shafts with 000 steel wool from pitting and rusting too.
Take this time to remove the oil and dirt from your hands off the grips while you are at it unless you planned on re-gripping at the beginning of next golf season. Again, mild soap and water and a soft bristled brush will work on all rubber grips, while rubbing alcohol on a clean rag will clean the surface on synthetics grips like Winn and SuperStroke.
Don’t Forget To Clean Your Golf Accessories Too!
All your golf gear needs a little bit of love. Start with your bag. Give it a wipe down with a warm, soapy rag and then let it dry completely. If it’s taknig a while to dry, blast it with a hair dryer on low. Then clean out the pockets. You’ll probably be amazed at what clutter has accumulated in those pockets all year.
Wash down that golf cart too just like you would your car. When it comes to cleaning your golf cart, the tires need special attention as well. “[W]e always suggest using a wax or tire shine for your tires, especially in [climates] where it is hot and dry,” advises Apex Golf Carts, which is based in Lake Forest, Calif. “[Proper cleaning] will prevent dry rot from settling in your tires.”
Decided if it’s time to put your golf gloves out to pasture. If not, it’s time to clean them! Wash them with soap and cold water. I just fill up my bathroom sink for this. The lay the gloves flat and allow to air dry for a few hours. Put the gloves back on your hands to stretch them out. Then take the gloves back off, flatten them out, and store them somewhere they will be easy to remember where you put them.
The Final Steps
When you’ve finally got all your gear clean and dry, it’s time to take inventory. How has your gear held up this year? Is there a better club you could have used instead of what you’ve got? The holiday season is almost here and with it comes holiday sales. November and December is the best time of year to replace old clubs and stock on golf balls.
Finally ready to put the golf clubs and golf bag away? Grab that rain hood. It might seem strange, but your rain hood will also offer protection during the off season. It will keep the spiders, mice, or bugs from making a home in your bag as well as stopping the dust and moist air. It’s one final layer of protection.
How do you store your gear Rock Heads? Let me know in the comments below!