How to Restore and Clean Used Golf Clubs

Whether you’re picking up a used set of clubs at a garage sale or have an old beat-up set already, there are several ways to bring life back into used golf clubs. In this article, we cover several methods of cleaning, restoring, and refinishing old and used golf clubs.

How to Remove Rust

Cobra Trusty Rusty Wedge

Leaving you’re club outside or even storing it in unfavorable conditions can result in rust. Contrary to popular belief, a little rust is not the end of the world. For some used clubs, especially wedges, some rust may even be beneficial. Made famous by Cobra’s Trusty Rusty wedges, rust can actually increase the friction on the surface of a wedge and increase spin.

If you are trying to make the clubs look newer, there can be several strategies for removing the rust that has built up.

Soap and Water

This can be a good place to start for most clubs. With a simple mixture of soap and water, you do not need to worry about damaging the club. After a brief soak, use a small brush like a toothbrush to try and remove any rust. This works best if the rust buildup is not extreme.


If the soap and water mixture doesn’t work then its time to move to harsher chemicals. Coca-Cola has the ability to dissolve rust, but can also damage the club if left exposed for long periods of time. It is best to soak the club in Coca-Cola for only a few minutes at a time. Again, use a small brush to scrape clean the rust.

Vinegar and Lemon Juice

Similar to Coca-Cola, the acidity of Vinegar and Lemon Juice works to break down and remove rust. A quick soak can easily loosen surface rust and allow your club to be cleaned using a brush.

Rust Remover

If none of the other solutions, you can go to a hardware or auto parts store and purchase industrial rust remover. This is a harsh chemical that can damage club finishes, plastics, and other materials. Be sure to only get the rust remover on the surface you want to clean. Also, follow the instructions specified by the specific product you use.

Steel Wool and Wire Brushes

Steel wool and wire brushes can be helpful in removing surface rust. However, used improperly these products can damage the surface of a golf club. Be sure to use a wire brush made of a material less strong than the material of your club. Likewise, starting off with ultra-fine steel wool will ensure you do not scratch or damage your clubs.

Pitting Corrosion

Often, surface rust can lead to further corrosion. The most damaging is called pitting corrosion. This is localized corrosion that results in holes or divets in the metal surface. While it is possible to remove the rust from the surface of these divets, it is very difficult to repair them.

How to Restore Grooves


Wedges and irons can have their grooves professionally regrooved. This service ranges in price but usually is around $20 per club. This is the best way to restore a wedge to its original performance. However, it relies on slightly increasing the size of the grooves each time and can only be done o many times.

Sharpen Grooves

Groove sharpeners are available for sale in many golf shops and online. These tools can sharpen the edges of your grooves. However, they are not a substitute for getting your grooves fully regrooved and cannot bring a wedge back to its original performance.

How to Refinish Clubs

Professional Refinishing

Once your club is clean, you may want to give it a fresh new finish. Professional club finishing can be expensive. You can expect to pay around $50 per club to get them professionally refinished. This can be a fun way to bring life back into a beloved or special set. However, the cost can be price prohibitive.


This may sound strange but a thin coat of wax on a golf club can prevent it from rusting. Wax is obviously slippery, which makes it unwise to put on places where you want friction, like a wedge face. However, it is very helpful in protecting the finish on shafts and golf heads.


If you’ve gone through all the work above then it is probably time to regrip your clubs as well. New grips can bring old clubs back to life. It is highly recommended to replace your grips consistently.


  1. How To Treat Rust on Golf Irons – One Stop Golfing
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  2. Dirt and Rust: How to Clean Your Golf Clubs - Honest Golferuk
    […] They are typically made of stainless steel or other metals, and have bristles that are tough enough to remove build-up but won’t damage the surface of your clubs. When using a wire brush, it’s important to be gentle. You don’t want to damage the finish on your clubs or scratch the metal. Start by brushing in a circular motion and then switch to back-and-forth motions. Work slowly and carefully until you’ve removed all the build-up. […]

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