After a certain amount of wear and tear, putting new grips on your golf clubs can really make a difference in your ability to control your clubs through your swing.
There are two ways to go about regripping your clubs:
- Go to your local pro shop and let the professionals put new grips on your clubs. Choose the type of grips you want installed, and pay the shop for both the grips and for the service.
- Buy the grips you want and install them on your clubs yourself.
Going with the first option might be the more common method, but if you want to save some money on the service, or if you just want to have a fun project to do with your clubs, this guide will teach you what you need to know to be successful with option number two.
The Right Time to Regrip
Before you remove your old grips, it’s important to know when it’s time to update them. Here are a few general rules of thumb when it comes to knowing when new grips are in order:
- If your grips are torn or ripped in any place, you should have them replaced.
- If you can see the imprints of your fingers or thumbs on your grips, you’re overdue.
- If your grips have lost all of the friction they used to have, and have become too slick, you might want to update.
- If you simply don’t like the way your grips feel in your hands, whether they’re too firm or too soft, too thin or too thick — you can always find grips you like better and ditch your old ones.
Grips have a large impact on the functionality of your clubs, but they also have an undeniable, if less tangible, effect on your confidence. That is to say, if you’re thinking about regripping your clubs for any reason, chances are you should regrip your clubs.
What You Need
If you decide to regrip your own clubs, there are a handful of things you’ll need. There are also certain pieces of equipment that will make your job a lot easier, and those items are listed as optional:
- An adult: If you’re a young golfer, it’s great that you want to take care of your equipment. Because changing your grips can involve hazardous materials and dangerous equipment, ask an adult to help you out.
- The new grip(s): Once you’ve decided on the type of grip you want to install on your club, make sure you get the right number of grips for the number of clubs you plan on regripping. You can test and buy grips from your local pro shop.
- A bench vise (optional): If you have access to a bench vise, it’ll really make securing the club while you replace its grip a lot easier. Since not everyone has a vise lying around the garage, you can choose to regrip your clubs without the stability the vise offers.
- A rubber shaft holder (optional): When putting your club’s shaft into the vise, this rubber holder will protect your club from getting damaged.
- A utility knife: Use a utility knife — preferably one with a hooked blade (as opposed to straight) — to cut off the original grip.
- Grip solvent: Grip solvent is the liquid you need to slide and stick the new grip onto the club’s shaft. You can buy “official” grip solvent from places that sell golf equipment, but you can also use household liquids like lighter fluid, paint thinner, or even household glass cleaners.
- Double-sided masking tape: You’ll need this to secure the new grip to the shaft of the club. Make sure it’s double-sided!
- Scissors: In order to cut the grip tape neatly and in the right length, you’ll need a pair of scissors.
- A golf tee (optional): Use this to plug the hole in the bottom of your new grip. That way, when you pour the solvent in, it won’t leak out.
- A bin: Use a trash bin or bucket to collect extra solvent and avoid unnecessary cleanup.
- A rag: Clean the solvent off your hands and grips using an ordinary towel or rag.
Once you’ve gathered everything you need, it’s time to change your grips. Follow these steps for the best results:
Hold the club under your arm and make sure the grip is in front of you and pointing out. The butt of the grip should be farthest away from your body. Using the utility knife, slice the grip away from you. If you’re using a curved blade, this should be pretty simple. If you’re using a straight blade, though, make sure you don’t cut too deeply into the grip — you don’t want to scratch or damage the club’s shaft.
Be careful! Cut away from yourself, and make sure no one else is around you in case the knife slips. Once the grip is split, you should be able to pull it apart and remove it from your club without too much effort.
Remove the current grip tape
Once you get the rubber grip off of the club, you’ll find the old grip tape underneath it. It’s important to apply new tape when regripping your clubs, so make sure you remove this old tape thoroughly. You may have to use the knife to scrape some of it off, but eventually you’ll be able to start peeling the majority of it away.
Once you have the tape completely removed, use some of the solvent and the rag to clean the shaft where the old grip used to be. Dry the shaft completely. When you’re done, you should see nothing but the smooth, dry metal (or graphite) of the shaft.
If you have access to a vise, now is the time to use it. Place the club into the rubber shaft holder and then secure that to the vise. Make sure you don’t apply the vise too tight — you could damage your club’s shaft. Just secure it enough so that the club doesn’t move around.
A good tip here is to set the club in the vise so that the clubface is square (perpendicular to the ground). This way, when you put the new grip on, you can tell exactly what angle you’re working with.
If you don’t have a vise, don’t worry. Everything will work out — it just might take a little more time and effort.
Using your scissors, cut off a piece of your new double-sided tape that’s the same length as the new grip you plan on installing. Then, place the tape length-wise along the end of your club where your new grip will go, letting about half an inch hang over the end of the club’s shaft.
Remove the plastic backing from your new grip tape, and fold the tape around the club’s shaft. Avoid letting any bumps or bubbles remain in the tape. Now, roll the remaining half-inch of tape together and bunch it at the end of the shaft so that the hole there is covered.
Take the new grip and put a tee in the small hole at the end of it. If you don’t have a tee around, cover the hole with your thumb. Hold the new grip vertically so that the wider part (with the blocked hole) is at the bottom. Make sure there is a waste bin underneath where you pour the solvent so you can avoid any unnecessary cleanup.
With your other hand, pour a generous amount of solvent into the new grip. Again, make sure the hole at the bottom of the grip is covered. Put the solvent down, and cover the other end of the new grip, so that both ends are covered. Shake the grip so that the solvent swirls around inside the entire grip.
Next, remove the tee or the thumb blocking the little hole of the grip, and slowly empty the solvent out of the grip and onto the tape on the shaft of your club. Again, make sure there’s something underneath to catch all of the extra solvent. Move the grip holding the solvent up and down the length of the tape, so that when you’re done emptying it, the tape on your club will be pretty thoroughly covered in solvent.
As soon as you pour the solvent onto the grip tape, begin sliding the new grip onto the club’s shaft. With the grip’s brand facing up, squeeze the grip and open the mouth of it (the thinner side of the grip) until you can get it over the end of the shaft. Once you get it on, continue pushing the grip forward onto the shaft with both hands. You’ll notice extra solvent being squeezed out as you push farther down the shaft. When you feel the end of the shaft touch the end of the grip, you’ve slid it as far as you can.
Clean the grip and the shaft of any extra solvent with your rag.
Before the solvent and the tape dry, make sure you do any last-minute alignments. Hold the club gently in your hands, and set up to it like you would if you were setting up to a ball. Look at the grip in relation to the shaft. The brand of the grip should be centered on the top of the grip. Is the grip twisted in places? Is the grip not centered?
If you see any adjustments that need to be made, now is the time to make them. Twist the grip on the shaft until you have the desired position. Soon, the grip will dry, and you’ll have to repeat the whole process to make any changes to the club’s grip.
Once you have the grip just the way you want it, lean the club upright against something sturdy (a wall will do), and give the club at least two hours to dry before using it. This will ensure that your grip dries completely in the correct position.
Regular Golf Club Maintenance
Depending on how often you play golf (or hit the range), regripping your clubs is part of the regular maintenance of your equipment. Just like getting your car’s oil changed regularly helps with its performance, changing your grips about once a year will help your clubs perform to their best level, as well. Plus, you’ll be proud to know that you put those grips on your clubs yourself.