This post is a little different but an example of what to expect on my blog. While I could write about technology or development related topics all day, I have many other interests and will write about them as well.
Playing golf is one of those interests, and for me a great mix of athletics, a mental workout, and an opportunity to disconnect for half a day.
In this post I’m going to talk about how I change my golf grips.
Sounds exciting, right? I promise, it’s not. It’s exciting to get new golf grips on your golf clubs, but it’s not exciting to change them. I could pay a golf shop to do the work, but to save a little money I generally like to change grips myself.
It’s probably been a year since I put new grips on the clubs, which is probably the bare minimum you should change your grips - and also way too infrequent for me considering how often I use them.
Anyway, I thought I’d outline the tools and steps I use to change my grips.
There are a few things you need if you want to change your golf club grips on your own. I’ve changed them without all of these things before, but this list makes your life a little easier. There are more tools available, so I’d consider this list the bare minimum.
The first thing you need is grip tape solution. I purchase the Brampton HF-100 solution because it’s in a spray bottle, which also means it’s simple to apply and reduces the mess. The first time I put grips on I use a bottle of solution that required me to pour the solution on the grip. It was very messy and a waste of solution.
The next thing you need is something you can use to cut the old grips off the club. You can use a razor blade if you’d like, but I prefer this hooked razor that allows me to cut the old grip without damaging the club shaft while I move the blade down the grip.
Grip tape provides the base for your grips attachment to the club. I like to get these strips because it’s simple, but you can also order them in rolls.
The grips themselves need to be in the material list, and you’ll want to make sure you get enough of them. I typically order 14 with the idea that I have 13 clubs in my set, and the +1 is in case something goes wrong.
As for the grips, I use Golf Pride New Decade MCC. I like them because they handle moisture - like sweat - better than other grips I’ve tried. I also feel like the embedded cord helps witih stickiness, and finally I like the color scheme and how it helps me align my grip when I hold the club.
While it’s entirely possible to change golf club grips without a clamp, I don’t recommend it. This vise clamp is the perfect size to put at the end of the workbench and use with golf clubs.
And finally, I like to use these golf club rubber vice holders. I clip the holder onto the club and put it into the vise instead of the club shaft directly. This reduces the pressure on the club shaft and provides a better grip on the club for when you undoubtedly have to wrangle the club.
Changing golf grips is pretty straightforward.
The first step is to get the grip setup in the vise.
To do this I attach the rubber vice to the club shaft toward the club-side end where the shaft is thinner. Doing this makes it easier for the vise clamp to put pressure around the rubber vice and hold the club shaft securely.
Next I put the club into the vise clamp with the rubber vice secured into the clamp as shown below. I tighten the vise clamp securely enough so the club doesn’t move around. It’s not shown in the picture, but in the process of this I also align the club face to be vertical. This helps with aligning the grip itself.
Next, it’s time to cut the old grip open. Take the hooked razor blade at the head of the grip and work your way back to the butt of the grip.
Try to keep a straight line where possible because if you’re doing it right then you’re also cutting a line into the grip tape underneath, which will make it easier to get the tape off as well.
With the cut line going down the grip, you can grab the two flaps at the head of the grip and pull it back and off.
By the way, I didn’t really use one hand. I just couldn’t take a picture with no hands. Typically it takes a fair amount of force requiring both hands to rip the old grip off.
Once you rip the grip off you’re left with the old grip tape.
Step 3 is when you take your wife’s hair dryer and use it to heat up the old grip tape. This loosens the glue holding the tape to the club so you can peel it off.
On steel shafts I will heat up the tape the full length and all sides for about 2 minutes before proceeding to Step 4.
On graphite shafts I will combine Step 3 with Step 4, holding the hair dryer in one hand while peeling with the other. I do this because graphite shafts cool off too quickly, so the glue starts to bond before you can get the tape off.
With the grip tape warmed up and the glue loosening, find a seam (or make your own), and carefully lift up one side of the tape.
What I like to do at this point is pull one side as far down the seam as I can. If it looks like I can’t go very far then I start pulling up the other side of the seam. I tried to get a picture of this.
My goal is to pull the entire grip tape off as one piece. Combining Steps 3 and 4 make this much more likely to happen, but steel shafts get too hot to the touch to do this reliably.
Once you’re done with removing the old tape, it’s time to do everything in reverse to put the new grip back on.
Now take the grip tape and wrap it around the club shaft. I think the only important thing to do here is to try to keep it straight and minimize bubbles and creases. You’ll also want to leave about a 1/4” overlap at the butt of the club.
To be fair, I did a terrible job preventing bubles and creases when I took these photos. Probably because I was more worried about the camera than I was my grip.
Once you have it lined up, start wrapping around.
As you wrap around, try to prevent those bubbles and creases.
Once you have it mostly wrapped, you can remove the paper protection - be careful, you’re exposing the sticky grip tape now.
The last thing I do is use the paper protection to flatten the creases and seam as much as possible. I use it to press around the club shaft all the way down the grip tape.
Once this is done we’re ready to get the glue out. I spray anywher from 3-5 times down the length of the grip tape, depending on how accurate I am.
I also spray into the grip itself 2-3 times before starting Step 6.
There typically isn’t a lot of time between Step 5 and Step 6. Once I get the solvent on the tape and into the grip, I move quickly to get it onto the club shaft. I probably don’t need to move as quickly as I do, but the first time I tried to change my own grips I waited too long and couldn’t get a grip onto the club shaft because the solution had started to dry. I had to take it off and start over.
Anyway, if you’ve done all the above steps then now you take the grip and slide it on.
I didn’t take a picture of my technique to get the grip started, but this can be tricky if you’ve never done it. So what I do is start with the butt of the grip pointing toward the ground at a slight angle away from vertical. The mouth of the grip is at the end of the club shaft, and as I start to apply pressure to move the grip onto the club shaft, I start to bring the butt of the grip to horizontal.
At that point it’s just a matter of sliding the grip all the way down the club shaft. Make sure the butt end of the grip is flush with the butt end of the club shaft. I confirm this by putting pressure on the club end of the shaft as I push the grip on (think like an accordion). Be careful doing this graphite or flex shafts.
Once the grip is all the way on I spend a moment aligning it. Assuming you set the club face to vertical, it should be relatively easy to align the grip.
Most grips have some alignment aids, so I’ll start with those. Golf Pride New Decade MCC’s have little marks at the head and butt of the grip to denote the top of the grip. I’ll make sure these are vertical first.
Next I’ll take my eye to club level and confirm that the grip isn’t twisted and that the top is in alignment and what I’d expect to see when looking at the club face. I’ll continue to make small adjustmenets until it looks right.
And that’s it. The club has been re-gripped. Take it off the vise grip and give it a good look down the club shaft. If you’ve done everything right it should be aligned well with the club face.
I’ve heard you don’t need to wait more than a few hours before you can use your newly gripped clubs, but personally I like to wait until next day just to give the solution enough time to bond.