Do Golf Clubs Wear Out? 10 Signs that you Need an Upgrade

do golf clubs wear out

Arguably the most important piece of equipment you will use during your golfing life is your golf clubs but do they wear out?  From the first set you buy to the last, your clubs will always be with you on the golf course and therefore you want them to be at their best at all times.

The question is, do golf clubs wear out?  The answer is yes but how do you know when it is time to upgrade your current set of clubs?

The article below will highlight several signs that your golf clubs have worn out and you need to upgrade.  Continue reading below to find out if it is time you invested in a new set of golf clubs.

How Long Do Golf Clubs Last?

You will have three distinct set of clubs in your bag and they are drivers/woods, irons and the putter.  You may have a hybrid club and there are categories of irons, such as wedges but for ease of explanation, we will stick to the three categories above.

Each club can also be split into three different sections and these are the head, shaft and grip.  Each contributes to the overall usability of the golf club and if one aspect of the club has worn out, it will have an impact on the other two.

For example, the shaft and the grip of your driver may be in very good condition but if the head of the driver has worn out, the chances of making a good contact with the ball are severely reduced.

However, modern day clubs last for a lot longer than those of previous decades.  You do not have to look back too far in the history books to find professional players using wooden golf clubs and the head of drivers and clubs were all made of wood.

As technology has advanced so has the development of golf clubs and the modern day clubs are made of much stronger materials than their predecessors.  We know golf clubs still wear out but how long do they last?

To answer this question simply, before we go into more detail, a modern golf club can last from anywhere between three years or a lifetime depending on how often it is used, how well it is cared for and if any repairs have been carried out.  The question is, how do you know if your golf club is worn out and if you need to upgrade?

Signs Which Suggest Your Clubs are Worn Out

The signs to look out for when considering if you need new golf clubs will depend on the type of club you are using, as highlighted above.  The most common golf club in your bag are the irons and we will begin by looking at these.

Signs You Need to Upgrade Your Irons

  1. The Groves have worn – Check the groves of every iron in your bag before and after you play each round as they will wear away over time. If you find you are struggling to get the same amount of spin on the ball as usual, this is a sign the groves are wearing away on your irons.  As a beginner or amateur golfer, you will be hitting the ball in various spots on the iron and this can produce a range of inconsistencies, especially when grooves begin to wear away.  If you are unsure how the grooves should look and if they have worn away, check the iron you use most with the one you use least and you will see the difference.
  2. Irons can bend, especially during practice sessions at the range. Many golf ranges use mats and when the iron contacts the mat, it bends the club.  The more you use the iron and the more it bends, the more chance the loft of the irons will change.  The loft of an iron tends to increase with use and if you are finding your shots are becoming increasingly higher and losing distance, the lofts could have changed.  If you think this is the case, get in touch with a custom fitter who can check for you and if possible, change the lofts or they may recommend you purchase a new club.
  3. When you are swinging your irons, is it difficult to keep the club from twisting in your hands? If this is the case, it could be a problem with the grip.  Check to see if the grip is worn and you can often tell this just from looking at it.  However, you can also compare it with another iron in your bag that you rarely use to see the difference.  Grips are easily replaceable and if the shaft, head and loft of the club is good, you do not need to buy a new iron.

Signs You Need to Upgrade Your Driver

  1. An inconsistent ball flight when using the driver could be to do with your swing but if you have all the fundamentals in place, it could easily be because your driver has worn out. If you have been playing nicely with the driver or hitting the same shots consistently and have not changed anything but find the ball is traveling differently in the air or landing short, this is a sign you may need to upgrade your driver.
  2. Check the face of the driver, are there any signs of stress and wear on it? If so, this can lead to a loss of distance and consistency.  It has been known for a driver face to crack and in some cases, this will not be obvious to the casual eye.  If your driver is not performing, take a close look at the face and if there are signs of stress, it could be time to invest in a new driver.
  3. Some drivers can simply go dead over time from excessive use. If you practice regularly with the driver on the range and also use it a lot on the golf course, this use alone is enough to dampen the effect of the driver over time.  There may be nothing significant in terms of wear showing on the face of the driver but if you are struggling to reach distances you were previously, the driver may have gone dead and lost its power.
  4. Consider how often you use the driver and the stress being placed on the shaft of the club. The driver produces the most force of any club in the bag and this leads to bending of the shaft, especially when playing off rubber driving range mats.  The shaft of a driver is designed to withstand this but over time, they will wear and can lead to inconsistent shots.  However, it is possible to have a replacement shaft fitted rather than buying a new driver if the rest of the club is in good condition.

Signs You Need to Upgrade Your Putter

  1. The putter is the one club which is likely to last you the longest as it is not used with as much force as they other clubs in your bag. The putter is played using a gentle stroke and this means the face does not wear as quickly as the irons but if you have a soft insert in the putter face, it can wear and has been known to crack over time.  This is a rare occurrence but if you find you are struggling with distance control having previously been playing well, it may be time to check the face and use a different putter as a comparison.
  2. If you are fighting to keep the putter straight when making a putt check the grip. Grips will wear away on putters, especially if you practice a lot.  Always check the grip if you are struggling to keep the putter straight and have the grip replaced if it is showing signs of wear.
  3. If you have a putter which provides exceptional feel, you are more likely to notice smaller instances of wear on the club. Some players like to have a putter which offers exceptional control but if there is even the slightest amount of wear on the face of the putter, it can make all the difference.  If you enjoy having a lot of feel when making putts and that seems to be lacking, check the face because the smallest sign of wear could be a sign you need to invest in a new putter.

Groove Sharpening Tool

If you find the grooves of your irons, especially the wedges, look a bit worn you could try using a groove sharpening tool.  There is nothing illegal about using a groove sharpening tool but you should only use them to try and restore the face of the club, not alter it in any way.

You can use the tool by sliding it in and out of the grooves on your wedges to clean and bring them back to their former glory.  A good quality groove sharpening tool will help to get your wedges back to their best but they are sharp and if you are not careful, you could do more harm to the club than good.

If you are considering using a groove sharpening tool on your irons but are not confident in doing it yourself you could ask your club professional to help you out.

What Golf Clubs Do I Need as A Beginner?

When starting out in any sport, it can be a little confusing as to what equipment you require but golf can be the most confusing.  There are so many golf clubs available, with different designs, colors, sizes and brands that it can be very daunting buying your first set of clubs.

What golf clubs you need as a beginner will be determined by several factors, one of which is budget but regardless of the amount you have to spend, you should not be buying a set of golf clubs aimed at the professional player.

A beginner golfer will find a professional set of golf clubs, even if they are second hand, to be extremely difficult to control.  Clubs designed for professional players offer a great deal of variety in shots and in many cases forgiveness is not high on the list of qualities.  So, as a beginner you should be looking for a set of golf clubs which offers distance and forgiveness.  You want a set of golf clubs which allow you to get the ball in the air easily so you are not fighting to just get the ball off the ground and traveling down the fairway.

The more you enjoy playing golf the more you will want to improve.  You will find some sets of golf clubs labeled as ‘improvement sets’ and this is generally a good place to begin.  However, there are other factors which you must keep in mind when buying a set of clubs as a beginner.

It is tempting to purchase a set of second-hand clubs, especially if you are unsure how often you are going to play golf.  However, if this is the route you decide to take, always inspect the clubs closely before committing to a purchase.  Check each club for signs of wear using the points listed above and if any of the clubs are looking worn out, it is best to look elsewhere.  You do not want to begin your journey as a golfer using a set of clubs which immediately put you at a disadvantage.

Factors to Consider When Buying Golf Clubs as a Beginner

The first thing you must consider when buying golf clubs as a beginner is the length of the shaft.  The length of a golf club is determined by the length of the shaft and the height of the player.  The longer the shaft of the club, the further your hands are away from the ball.

The recommended length differs for men and women but the only way to ensure you have the correct length club for you is by attending a custom fitting.  If you do not want to do that, you can head into a golf store and ask for some advice about the best length of club for you.

The next thing you will need to consider when purchasing a set of golf clubs as a beginner if the loft of the clubs.  As a beginner, you should be aiming for a club with a higher loft as this will help you to get the ball off the ground.  Lower lofted drivers for example require more skill to hit than higher lofted drivers.

Also, a higher lofted club produces less spin and this encourages a straighter ball flight.  As a beginner player, hitting the ball straight is key.

The final factor to consider when buying a set of golf clubs as a beginner is the head of the club, especially the driver.  As a beginner, your club head speed is likely to be slower than a more experienced golfer and that means you should be buying a driver with a lighter head.  This will increase club head velocity and make it easier to generate the club head speed required to hit the ball down the fairway.

Do Better Golf Clubs Make A Difference?

In most cases in life, if you can afford to buy the more expensive model of an item, be it a car or computer for example, you will do it and why not?  You know how to drive a car and you can use a computer so getting the best product you can will only make those tasks easier and more fun.

The same does apply to golf clubs in some respect but it is not as simple as that.

As highlighted above, you do not want to go out and buy the most expensive golf clubs money can get in the hope it is going to improve your game because it will not.  You will end up using a set of clubs which have been designed for experienced golfers and may find you struggle to even get the ball off the ground and that’s the last thing you want.

However, if you are serious about playing golf, you do want to try and invest in the best quality set of golf clubs you can afford which are suitable to your level.  As we already know from the information above, golf clubs do wear out.  Therefore, you want to invest in a set of clubs which are going to last you for as long as possible or until you improve significantly enough to warrant buying a new set of clubs.

Which Golf Clubs Should You Buy?

To save some money when starting out, you do not need to but a full set of 14 golf clubs.  You could begin with nine clubs in your set including the following:

Driver, Fairway Wood/Hybrid, 6 to 9 irons, Pitching Wedge, Sand Wedge and Putter.

The first thing you will notice in the list of golf clubs is the irons only begin at the 5 iron but why is that?  Irons 6, 7, 8 and 9 are the easiest irons to use for beginner and improver players.  The higher the number on the iron, the easier it is to get the ball into the air.  You will use the mid-irons, which are 6 and 7 from the fairway and rough for longer approach shots to the green and the 8 and 9 iron for shorter approach shots to the green, when you want to send the ball higher into the air.

As you begin to play regularly, you will get a feel of which irons you prefer to use and can start planning where to leave the ball on the fairway so you can use your favorite clubs.  As you improve, you can add additional irons to your golf bag.

The driver will be used off the tee on par-4 and par-5 holes but what about when you are left with a long second shot from the fairway?   This is where the fairway wood or hybrid club comes into play.  The hybrid golf club has been designed to replace the long irons (which you will not have in your bag initially) as they are easier to hit.  As opposed to the irons, the hybrid club is designed to skim across the top of the turf and is great for use on the fairway but you will need to use an iron if plying a shot from the rough.

When investing in your first set of golf clubs you will need both a pitching wedge and a sand wedge.  Why do you need both?  The pitching wedge is used to apply loft to the ball when it is close to the green and stop the ball quickly when it lands on the green.  The design of the pitching wedge allows it to get under the ball and achieve a lot of height in a very short distance.

The sand wedge is required when you need to escape from the bunker and you will need to get used to using it when you first start out.  The sand wedge is designed to help you cut the club through the top layer of sand and lift the ball out without the club becoming trapped.

The final club you will require in a beginner set of golf clubs is the putter.  This is one club you simply cannot do without and you will probably use it more than any other club in your bag.  There are many variations and designs available and clearly you should avoid something that looks like it has just come from a crazy golf course.

You want a putter that is well balanced and preferably one which has alignment aids (lines) on the top of the putter head as this will help you when lining up a putt.

Remember that even if you purchase a top of the range set of clubs, they will wear out so always protect and clean your clubs to keep them in top condition for as long as possible.