Now just wait a second. Are you one of those guys that just tosses their golf clubs in the garage or worse, any only look back at them when it's time to play again?
If you are, it could be a big mistake. Maybe it's your way of hastening how soon you can get those new clubs from the pro shop, but they don't come cheap, do they?
With average care, irons can be in good working order even a decade after use, allowing you to save up and purchase that elite set at the right time.
If you are one of the lucky few that can play golf year-round thanks to favorable weather, you might have never even had to put your clubs in cold storage, otherwise called long-term storage.
In these cases, it is critical that you store them well for the long haul so that when spring comes around they are in good working order and ready for a round once more.
Preparing Your Clubs For Storage
For the most part, we will be focusing on long-term storage of clubs, since this is most often when things can go wrong and cause your clubs to get damaged.
Think of this preparatory phase of maintaining the current state of your clubs. For this reason, the first step is:
Visually Inspect Your Clubs
Most hobby golfers won't be able to get a new set every 2 or 3 years, and for this reason, it makes sense to ensure that yours is in solid working order for at least that long.
The first step is visually inspecting your clubs. Those that appear in good condition now, if stored properly, will maintain their condition and come out back looking the same.
However, if you see signs of rusting or pitting developing, you might be required to take further action before putting them away for the winter.
On that note, it's not just the clubheads that we are referring to, as things can go wrong with the shafts as well. Look for any cracks, dents, or other signs of wear and tear.
Likewise, the rubber grips should also be looked at to ensure they are in good condition. Sometimes grips go before the actual metal parts but luckily are also much easier to remedy.
If you see any issues with the clubheads, shafts, or grips, it might be a good idea to have them repaired or replaced before putting your clubs into storage.
Deep Clean Your Clubs
Know what gives the impression of a sloppy golfer? Having clubs come out of storage with last year's mud, grass, and sand still on them. Not only is it unsightly, but they become caked on almost, becoming a perfect habitat for rust and corrosion-related pitting.
There is no easy way around deep cleaning. You cant get away with just dipping in a nasty bucket of water at the club, as this water won't do much for fending off rust anyway.
Clean soapy water does the job best, along with a soft-bristled brush. The entire bag can be completed in a few short minutes. Afterward, you can wipe dry with a clean cloth, but air drying is still recommended.
Applying a thin layer of oil or vaseline afterward could also be of great help if you live in a humid area. Subsequently, be sure to put back on the head covers for added protection.
Deal With Existing Rust
You don't even need to expose it directly to a source of water for rust to develop. Sometimes moisture is more than enough. And like a bad skin rash, it will spread, and spread some more.
If you see any existing rust on your clubs, it needs to be dealt with immediately.
The first step is to scrape away any surface rust that might have formed using a wire brush or steel wool. You want to get rid of as much of the loose oxidation as possible before moving on to the next step.
Next, apply a layer of WD-40, or any other lubricating oil for that matter. This will help to prevent further rust in the future by keeping moisture away from the metal.
Wiping it down with a clean cloth is recommended to remove any excess oil that might have been left behind.
Some golfers aren't bothered by the rust at all; in fact, saying it's a natural part of a club's lifecycle. This may be true, and in the event that it doesn't affect performance, it may very well reduce the useful life of your club in the future.
For this reason, if you know that you can't afford to replace clubs, or have an expensive set that would hurt to lose, prevention is always better than cure.
Clean Your Golf Bag And Pockets
You could clean and prepare your clubs meticulously for their imminent hibernation, but know what else likes to live in your bag? Insects and termites. Away from the cold, they get cozy and reproduce at an alarming pace, sometimes damaging your clubs in the process. The rubber grips also make a nice home to burrowing pests that like to lay eggs.
For this reason, it's important to thoroughly clean your golf bag before putting it away for the season. The same goes for any pockets or compartments that might be included.
A quick vacuuming should do the trick for getting rid of any insects or larvae. Then you can treat the bag with insecticide to make sure nothing returns while in storage.
Just be careful not to overdo it, as this could damage the materials of your bag, and potentially your clubs as well. A light misting should do the job just fine.
Use The Rain Hood
Acting as a cover to protect clubs from a downpour, the rain hood can function as an everyday and multipurpose cover as well. After securing your clubs in the bag, simply slip the rain hood over the top and cinch it shut.
This will help to protect your clubs from moisture, dust, and pests that might find their way into your storage unit. It's an extra layer of protection that could mean the difference between crisp, new-looking clubs or a set that is in need of some serious TLC.
Now that we've set the groundwork by preparing them for storage, it's time to find some prime real estate, AKA, storage space.
Choose The Right Storage Location
You might not have thought about it before, but where you choose to store your clubs can make all the difference in the world.
For example, storing your clubs in a humid garage is practically asking for rust to develop, no matter how well you clean and oil them beforehand.
However, not all garages are bad. If you have one that is cool and dry, you should be fine leaving there here for a short duration. We do not recommend extending their time here, as even the most well-built ones are hardly temperature controlled.
The same goes for leaving them in the trunk of your car. The extreme changes in temperature, not to mention the bumpy ride, can do some serious damage.
Plus, the rubber grips don't play nice with heated interiors, which can exceed 100 degrees when locked (and sometimes reach as much as 200 degrees).
So if the garage isn't the best place, and the trunk of your car is also a no-no, where does that leave you?
How about inside your comfy home? Whether it be for a short-term stay, or long-term boarding, inside your home is best. This is because most homes are temperature and moisture controlled to prevent all that you want to get away from.
This means no overheating, no rust from moisture, no insects (hopefully), and no mold that grows from humid surroundings.
In the closet, or even under the bed works nicely (no concrete floors though!)
However, if you must store your clubs outside of the house, consider renting a storage unit. Many of these facilities are temperature and humidity balanced as well since people often store valuables and electronics inside.
Just be sure to do your research and read the reviews before settling on one, as not all storage units are created equal. Plus, since you're paying for the service you would expect it to be of a certain standard, right?
Most golf players would have made a fairly reasonable investment in buying clubs that they really like. This may be you as well. And if that's the case, it would hurt to have them deteriorate prematurely.
A little care can allow you to have yours for many years to come.
Always remember to clean them before putting them into storage, and use the clubhead covers. Then, as much as possible, keep them stored in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment.
If mold develops, or rust is so bad that it causes pitting, unfortunately, it is much more difficult to resuscitate them, and you would be better served tossing them and to get a new set.