Hickory Club Maintenance
The shaft is the engine of the golf club and should be properly maintained. If your clubs look dry or scaly they obviously need help. But even if you don’t know how your shafts are finished, take them through this refinishing process and they will surely last a great deal longer than they would without proper care.
First, for best results, do this in coordination with changing your grip. It can be done with the grips on but is best with grips off so you can refinish the entire shaft.
Start with 60 grit sandpaper and that will make light work of removing the old finish. Don’t worry about the colour, just make sure that anything shiny is removed. Then sand lightly with 150 grit sandpaper and finally finish up with steel wool giving them a good buffing.
Next apply 3 or 4 coats of boiled linseed oil. Apply this with your fingers rubbing it into the wood. You should allow 4-5 hours drying time between coats depending on the humidity. If you can dry them outside in the sun you can often cut the drying time in half. These shafts are 80-100 years old and the natural moisture that was present when they were new is long gone! So linseed oil will rehydrate the shafts to a like new condition.
Following the oil, clear shellac is the best primer for your finish. It goes on easily with a brush or cellulose sponge and dries in less than an hour. Other finishes will not work well over the oil so this is an important step. Once the shellac has sealed in the oil then 2 coats of exterior polyurethane can be applied with your fingers to complete the finish. We originally using linseed oil but stopped after seeing an increase in shafts splitting, and cracking in the neck and heel of the woods. Because of the age of the clubs, we think that we have to deal with the wood in a different manner then when it was freshly cured. We do not recommend using any “oils” on the aged dry wood. We are using varnish to seal against moisture and stabilise the wood to stay as long as possible in its current condition. Our understanding is that nothing can be done to “improve” old wood; it can only continue to deteriorate.
Now your clubs are ready for sun, wind, and rain and even getting banged against each other. After you go through this process once with a shaft you will never need to do it again. Put on a fresh coat of polyurethane once or twice a year and they will be good to last another 100 years!
Maintenance of Iron
Maintenance of Iron heads is fairly simple; they need to be kept clean and dry. Always try to dry off moisture immediately. The use of a cleaner and a toothbrush is excellent for the cleaning of the heads. After cleaning apply SILVO Tarnish Guard Metal Polish Wadding, this will stop damp air getting to the Iron and creating rust. If a club develops rust, try a Scotchbrite pad to remove it. Also, 320 grit wet dry sandpaper or finer grit emery should easily remove it, if the Scotchbrite pad is not forceful enough. If you want to use a wire wheel, a fine grade is recommended. There are wheels that have a Scotchbrite like material on them that work very well.
When cleaning is done, Iron heads should be sanded in the direction of the grain of the metal. This is done by going from the heel to the toe, and not vertically, then circular around the hosel, not lengthwise. Also, it should only be done if you get orange/red rust, and not for the normal “grey” oxidation of the metal.