Since I’m still waiting impatiently for my strained wrist tendon to heal, I’ve had extra time to do some golf maintenance while sidelined. Not saying I didn’t try to get a couple rounds in, even through cold weather and frigid winds. But since my average score this year is about a 96, I figure it’s best to rest a bit before continuing on to the next five states. Clearly I’ve gotten a little antsy to get back into golfing, as I’ve strayed from reviewing courses and written other golf related posts lately. But they’re fun and I’m still riding the pine here, so I’ll make another one.
Unsolicited golf advice is about as desirable as someone pooping in the cup. There are other annoying fouls golfers commit, such as not raking sand traps, leaving sunflower seeds on the green and unhooking golf bags from the golf cart causing them to crash to the pavement when someone steps on the gas. But getting swing tips you didn’t ask for, especially after a particularly bad shot that may or may not have ricocheted off a bar-b-que and through a pane of glass, is pretty irritating. “Came way over the top there.” “Try closing your stance.” “Your grip looks a little weak.” “Have a beer, you’ll play better drunk.” Well, that last one actually is a good idea some days. I don’t know enough about the golf swing to make an on-the-spot diagnosis from seeing your swing for a split second. But I do know a trick that, depending on how badly it’s needed, can shave one to several strokes off your score. Regrip your clubs.
Whether you just got a new set of irons with sandpaper for grips or maybe are just getting geared up for a 5th straight season of golf on the same frayed handles, regripping is a quick and easy way to make golf that much more enjoyable. After all, the only contact you have with the club is on the grip. Luckily there are many choices these days. If you like old-school Lamkin grips, they have those in any color you wish. Golf Pride makes a variety of styles. I have always preferred Winn. Since moving to the desert and having the late-round sweat in my palms cost me at least a few shots, I prefer their Dri-Tac grips on my woods and irons. But I still love the tacky, cushy feel of their softer grips for my wedges. It gives a better touch for more delicate lobs and chips and I love the copper-yellow color look on my rusting wedges. Choose whatever you like best, but if you want to save a few bucks on the install, be a man. Do it yourself.
STEP 1 – You need a suitable workspace. At the very least you’ll need at least a 3.5″ bench vise that’s securely fastened to a stable surface.
STEP 1a – Always make sure you have good music playing, especially when regripping an entire set of golf clubs. I have found the Foo Fighters to be the band of choice for this process.
STEP 2 – The right tools make everything go much smoother. Not to mention you lessen the risk of damaging the complex graphite shaft of your brand new $400 Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme. A standard box cutter will do, and you can pick up a hooked blade for a couple dollars at the hardware store.
STEP 3 – Place a rubber vise clamp about halfway up the shaft of the club. I like to position the shaft so that the clubhead faces up, so that later when installing the new grip, the top will line up with what you’ll see when addressing the ball.
STEP 4 – Remove the old grip, or what’s left of it. Start by placing the hook underneath the bottom of the grip and with a smooth motion pull back until you’ve sliced through the length of the club. The grip will peel right off like a banana.
STEP 5 – Shave off the used grip tape. I like the tool pictured, which is literally sold under the name “Manual Grip Tape Remover”. Just keep the edge angled and with short, firm strokes moving toward the top of the shaft, the tape should come off. Some clubs take a little longer to strip than others. Be patient and don’t get frustrated, especially with a graphite shaft. Those can be a bit fragile.
STEP 6 – Place the double-sided grip tape on the club. Leave a little bit extra that hangs off the edge. I usually use about half the length of the tip of my index finger as a guide, if that makes any sense.
STEP 7 – After the tape is wrapped around the shaft, bunch the rest of it into a wad and stuff it into the opening at the top. This adds a bit of extra adhesion.
STEPS 8 and 9 – Place a finger over the small hole at the end of the new grip and spray in about 3-4 squirts of the grip glue. Cover up the other end and give it a quick shake. Next turn the grip over and let the solution run along the length of the tape. You want good coverage of the tape to make sliding the grip on much smoother. Don’t worry about the bottom side, the glue will run down to get coverage underneath. Physics.
STEP 10 – Line up the top of the grip (on Winn’s there is a notch that indicates this) with the top of the club and slide it on. Sometimes, especially on drivers I’ve noticed, it can be hard to get the mouth of grip onto the shaft, don’t force it, you risk tearing the grip. Just keep working it until it slides on. The wet glue acts as a lube before it dries so if you continue to have problems, add a bit more and that should be it.
STEP 11 – Wipe down any excess glue from the shaft and grip. Stand the club upright against a wall or other spot and let dry for a few hours. Overnight is preferable. Less than six is far too soon. You’d be launching naked clubs all over the links.
See, it’s not that hard. I learned this process in my days as a cart boy at the lovely Round Hill Country Club in Alamo. You should have a much easier time starting out than I did. My teacher was Old Man Al from the golf shop and it was hard to really pay attention when Def Leppard was always on the CD player. You get this excellently documented blog post, pictures and all. If you’re still a bit nervous, try on a spare club or one you use the least, like the 2-iron you inexplicably still have in your bag.
Next time, assuming my wrist is still crippled, I may try to tackle a reshafting.