A great set of golf clubs can last years, despite golf company claims they cannot reinvent the wheel and more than likely the 14 clubs in your bag now are not the cause of your problems. Today's clubs will last years with the proper measures taken to ensure quality and durability. Regular cleanings and an eye for catching nicks and scratches early can keep your clubs in good shape for years, but if you've fallen behind in your maintenance a full refurbishment may be necessary.
Clean Your Clubs
Before you embark on a time consuming and potential total refinish of your clubs, clean them thoroughly. Using a soft cloth and a light soap, gently wipe the club face and head. Using the same soap, take a soft toothbrush and clean the grooves on the face. Use your wire brush to clean the grooves on your irons and wedges.
Warning: Never use steel wool on your driver and fairway wood club heads. It will scratch the crown and face, and be sure to dry the head completely to avoid oxidation. Steel wool bristle club cleaners are great at getting dirt and sand out of iron grooves, but never clean your driver with them.
Let the club dry. If you're worried about refinishing the white lines on the club face, let the club dry after thoroughly cleaning and re-examine whether a touch-up is necessary. Many times the grooves on the driver face are not addressed when cleaning the rest of your clubs, so a comprehensive cleaning will accomplish more than you anticipated.
Refinishing Your Driver
If you determined more than a cleanup is needed, it's time to refinish. Identify the problem areas on your driver. Often scuff marks on the sole, and bruises from skied tee shots need the most attention. Focus your efforts to the sole and the crown.
Begin painting. Begin with the crown, find a color match for the crown, then slowly apply smooth strokes with your paintbrush. It's often easier to reapply a coat across the crown to keep a consistent appearance at address. If you value the look of the club at address, go beyond simply filling in of chip marks.
Detail the sole. Begin by buffing the sole back to its original shine. With your paintbrush, slowly fill in around the detailing of the sole. By sure to quickly remove any spilled paint.
Let the paint dry overnight, then re-examine the work. If you need to cover up more or lightly remove excess paint, do it quickly. Then let the club dry overnight again. The fresh paint will be more susceptible to staining in the first few days after refinish, so keep it out of your bag for a week.
The refurbishing process changes depending on your irons. If you play chrome-forged, carbon steel irons, you may want to rechrome them to bring back the luster of their original state. Most refurbishment jobs target performance, by repairing nicks, scratches and dents.
Rechroming. The rechroming process is extremely difficult and should only be done by professionals. The process involves stripping the chrome, reapplying chrome and painting the head. Materials used in the chroming process are dangerous and this method should be avoided by amateurs.
After rechroming, sharpen the grooves on your irons. Find a groove sharpener that fits your clubs (U grooves or V grooves) and follow the instructions given with the instrument.