Introduction: Regrip Golf Clubs
Golf club grips are a big part of the performance of your golf clubs and seeing that they're the interface between your hands and your clubs, they wear out at a rate much higher than the rest of your club. On a general rule of thumb, it's a good idea to replace your club grips once a year. If you find yourself playing and practicing multiple times a week however, you may need to regrip your clubs as often as 2-3 times a year. Many hackers out there (no judgments, I'm one too!) may have never regripped their clubs in years of occasional play, but you will absolutely see a difference after doing so - whether it's less impact on your hands, more consistent striking, a more comfortable grip, or more sticking and less slipping in your hands (nothing worse than having a club go flying out of your hands!).
Many pro-shops and sporting goods stores will regrip your clubs for you, but often charge $3-5 per club plus the price of the grips themselves. With only a few supplies (many of them you may already have at home) and a set of new grips (these are available at many online stores for varying prices), you can regrip your entire set of clubs at home in 60-90 minutes and save yourself some cash and time.
Here's what you'll need:
Mineral Spirits (or other solvent)
Paint Tray or Bucket
Tape (preferably grip tape, but any double sided tape will do)
Hooked Blade for Utility/Exacto Knife
Vise Clamp (or similar)
Rubber or Foam Shaft Protector (more on this later)
Latex or Rubber Gloves (optional, depending on type of solvent used)
Step 1: Remove Old Grips & Tape
Depending on how old your current grips are and how much use they've seen, this process may be the most time consuming of all the steps in this tutorial. First, holding your club shaft about halfway up the length, you want to take your utility knife with the hooked blade and insert it just under the top edge of your existing grips. Holding your knife at a 45° angle relative to the shaft (you'll be passing the blade along the shaft, rather than pushing directly into it) slide the blade along the length of the grips while moving the knife away from your hand holding the club (aka toward your body). You may need to flip the club over and repeat this process on the other side. Be particularly careful when doing this on graphite shafts and be sure your blade is only slicing through the rubber grip. Once you're all the way through butt of the grip, you should be able to pull this right off. Now the tedious part begins...
You'll want to remove as much of the old grip tape as possible from the shaft before applying the new tape. You may be able to peel some of this off easily by hand, but if the tape is quite old you may need to use some other tactics. One method is to take a shop towel, coat it in mineral spirits, and wrap it around the stubborn tape. Leave this in place for a few minutes while you remove grips from other clubs, and when you return to it much of the tape will be easily wiped off. If it still wont come off, you can take a dull blade (like a worn down chisel or flat-head screwdriver) and lightly scrape at the remaining tape while being very careful not to harm the shaft. You don't have to remove every slight piece of tape, but this won't (or shouldn't) be the last time you replace grips on these clubs so this annoying tape will build up over time. Once this has been completed on all of the clubs you'll be regripping, it's time to prep your space for the next step.
Step 2: Discussion of Supplies
Before we get directly to installing the new grips, I want to discuss some of the options you have with the supplies you can use for this process. Feel free to gloss over this if you want to get right to the regripping.
First, let's discuss your solvent. There are many products on the market specifically for regripping clubs, and they aren't necessarily priced any differently than solvents that you may find at a hardware store. The concept here is that after applying the tape to your club shafts, you coat them with a solvent that will lubricate them while you install the new grips. Once the solvent sets/evaporates, the tape will return to its sticky texture and your clubs will be playable. Thus, you can use many types of solvents for this process (paint thinner, alcohol, nail polish remover, lighter fluid, etc). I prefer to use mineral spirits for this process, as it is a little less abrasive and puts off less fumes than some of the products listed above. I found a kind of "environmentally-friendly" mineral spirits at my hardware store a few years ago that is odorless, non-flammable and can be handled without gloves. You can see the brand in the pictures above if you care to.
Now, on to the grip tape. Once again, there is tape specifically designed for regripping golf clubs and it isn't any more expensive than any other double-sided tape you can find. This grip tape is manufactured and packaged in a way that allows for easy application. For the purpose of this guide, I'll be explaining the steps to apply this specific type of tape, but you can use double-sided masking tape or even clear double-sided scotch tape - you'll just need to put it on a little differently. I've used all three kinds and the only difference that I notice is in how the tape is applied to the club - they will all adhere the grips equally well to the clubs with no issues.
Lastly, there is the question of how you plan on holding your clubs in place while you apply the new grips. You'll need to use a bit of force when installing grips, so I recommend using something like a bench-top vise to secure your clubs. However you want to be careful not to squeeze the clubs right into a metal vise or you take the chance of damaging the shafts themselves. In the past, I had taken spare foam or rubber and used this as a buffer in between the club shaft and the vise, but came across a pre-made rubber vise clamp on Amazon that securely and safely holds your club shaft in place. You certainly don't need one of these to regrip your clubs but I enjoyed using it for the first time.
Ok, enough of that. Let's get to it!
Step 3: Installing the Grips
Using whatever method you choose to hold your club in place, secure it tightly and grab a paint tray or other receptacle to hold your solvent in. Place this just below the end of your club shaft to store and catch the solvent that drips down during the application process. Take your grip tape and remove it from the tape sheet. Typical grip tape comes with a piece of paper on both sides of the tape which allow you to properly place the tape before removing the paper backing, exposing the adhesive side. You want to place the tape such that it runs in a straight parallel line along the shaft, extending 1/4" to 1/2" past the butt of the shaft. Place the bottom strip first, remove the paper backing and then place the top strip (reference the pictures above). Once both sides are in place, fold the excess tape on the end of the shaft around and slightly into the core of the shaft.
Grab your fancy new grips and hold them at the bottom with one hand, being sure to press your index finger over the hole at the butt of the grip. Pour a generous amount of solvent directly into the grips (look to fill it about halfway). Cover the open end with your other index finger and shake the grip to fully coat the interior of the grip. After a few seconds of shaking, tilt the grip over the tape on the club shaft and slowly pour the solvent evenly across the tape (make sure to keep the hole on the bottom of the grip covered until the solvent is fully poured out!!). Once the grip is empty, use a finger to make sure that the tape is fully coated with solvent.
You'll want to install the grips fairly quickly here to prevent too much solvent from dripping off of the tape. You may need to slightly bend the open end of the grip to get it to fit over the butt end of your taped shaft. Once the grip is in place at the end of the shaft, try to use one uninterrupted motion to fully slide the grip on. The further up the shaft the grip goes, the more pressure you may need to exert to get it in place. Be sure that you're moving in a straight motion (not off axis relative to the shaft) and not pushing TOO hard. Use your best judgement and do what feels right. As your grips are likely made of rubber/leather, they will be able to stretch a little and you'll know that your grip is on fully when you can no longer push the grip forward, and the end furthest on the shaft will slide back toward you slightly after you let go of it.
With your grip fully in place on the shaft, you'll have about 60 seconds to ensure the proper alignment of the grip before the solvent starts to set. Take the club out of the vise and place the club head in between your shoes so that it's at the proper angle at which you'd look to strike a ball. Holding the head in place with your feet, use both hands to rotate the grips so that the grip logo is in perfect alignment along your shaft relative to the club head. This can be used as a handy reference (pun intended) about where to grip your clubs when on the course.
Finally, take a clean shop towel and wipe off any residual solvent that you may have on your grip or shaft. Cover the bottom of the grip (where the hole is) with the towel and lightly bang it against the floor or your table top to coax any excess solvent out of the grip.
Step 4: Hit the Links!
That's it! Well... repeat this process approximately 10 more times and then THAT will be it! I would recommend letting your newly-gripped clubs sit for a day or so until your solvent fully evaporates, but in theory these clubs should be playable in only a couple of hours. It takes me only about 90 minutes to complete a regripping of all of the clubs in my bag, and once I started regripping my clubs myself I became much more aware of when club grips start to wear down. Clubs that you find yourself using more often (such as your wedges) will have their grips wear out at a faster rate, so being able to regrip them yourself gives you the opportunity to replace them individually as necessary.
Any questions, or suggestions about how you do things differently? Let me know in the comments!
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