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Regripping Your Own Clubs
By kickntrue on 1/14/10
By Kevin Langdon, ClubSG Contributor


The Tools


My improvised vise grip


Cutting off the old


Widdlin' away the old tape


Beautiful clean shaft


Applying the tape


Ready to roll
Regripping is an essential part of owning golf clubs. How often should you regrip? That depends on how often you play or in my case how many hours you spend walking around your house with a lob wedge in hand (it helps me think). Most material I have seen recommends regripping every 25-50 rounds. Some studies have shown that golfers playing with worn grips show improvement of 3-4 strokes after regripping. A couple of hours in the garage is definately worth 3-4 strokes.

Why Do It Yourself?

Well, one obvious reason is that you can save a little coin. Most pro shops will charge you about $5-$10 per club. A whole set usually can be regripped for about $90. DIY the total price tag comes out to something closer to $50.

More importantly, I think regripping can is another emotional outlet for those of us addicted to the game of golf. A valuable time to understand and bond with our equipment. It is akin to the skiier waxing his skiis or the biker adjusting his derailer.

Before we get our hands dirty, a disclaimer, I have never worked in a pro shop nor have I ever even seen someone replace a golf grip prior to my own effort. Some of you might run in fear from my lack of experience, but hopefully others will relish the chance to understand the process from someone with a perspective similar to their own.

Choosing the Right Grips

There are two sizes associated with grips. The internal shaft diameter and the external size. The external size comes in 3-4 different flavors from small to jumbo. Choose the external size based on your hand size and the feel you like. Most grip companies have charts that correspond external grip size to glove sizes.

The internal size is based on the diameter of your shaft at the base or butt. You can get this from your club manufacturers specification sheet, for example I found mine here: Adams Golf Specifications. If you can't find similar data for your own clubs or just want to be 100% certain, cut off your old grip and measure the diameter at the end of your shaft.

Tools and Kit

The project is going to require the following items:
  • utility knife
  • two sided grip tape
  • solvent (golf grip solvent, mineral spirits, or odorless paint thinner)
  • new grip
  • rag
  • adequate space with television or radio for background PGA action
And if you want to spend a little bit more of the cash your saving, the following are nice-to-haves: Most of these items will come in nice regripping kits that contain 13 grips, a rubber shaft holder, and two sided tape, all for @ $50 (Kit on Amazon). You can also buy special "golf grip solvents" online, but your probably better off just using a product from your hardware store. Odorless paint thinner or mineral spirits are most common and I did read about some that use camping fuel. Most people are going to tell you that you need a table vise grip. I initially used some quick wood clamps I have laying around in my garage. But in the end I found it actually easier to just hold the shaft myself, as I needed to move it around a lot throughout the process.

Remove the Old Grip

You can decide for yourself if you want to clamp the club down or just hold it yourself. If you are clamping, just remember that those shafts are hollow and don't tighten it too much. Before you remove the old grip I found it useful to mark where I wanted the final grip logo to line up against the shaft. You don't want to find later that your closing your club face just because the logo or grip marking is a little off center. Use a utility knife to just shred the heck out of the old grip and pull it off the shaft. You can buy all kinds of crazy tools that inject solvent under old grips, but I found that this step was pretty simple. You just have to be willing to hack away...

Remove The Old Tape

This is by far the toughest step. I tried all kinds of tactics to get this grimy stuff off and what worked best was just running the utility knife down the shaft, countless times. If you want you can buy a tape removal tool. It is just a rounded blade that is used in the same manor. Neither tool is suggested when replacing grips on graphite shafts. In this case your going to want to resort to a brush from your wife's cleaning closet.

Once you have most of the tape cut away, work at it with a rag and some solvent/thinner. You need a clean surface to put the new tape on, so don't give up until you see your reflection in that shaft. You will also want to dig into the hollow butt end of the shaft and remove any tape in there. As you will see later, the excess is folded inside.

Applying The New Tape

Remove ONE side of the tape. It doesn't seem to matter which one, at least not with the tape I purchased. Carefully place it lengthwise along the shaft with about a 1/2 inch of it extending past the butt. Then slowly press the tape around the shaft. It will overlay, so you will need to press one side first. Then peel back only part of the remaining paper back, so that you can press the other side around on top of the first. Smooth out the tape as best possible before removing the paper completely. Fold the 1/2" of tape that extends past the butt into the shaft end.

Shovin' On The New Grip

This part gets messy, so you will want to make sure you have something under where you are working and some towels close on hand. Pour your solvent over the the grip tape and make sure its completely covered. While covering the small hole on the end of the new grip, pour a decent amount of solvent into the other end. Put your hand over the large end and do a quick dance to shake that stuff all over the inside of the grip.

Once everything is soaked in solvent, you need to slide this thing on. Make sure the logo is lined up where you want it. Then put the bottom lip of the grip on first and wiggle it around until you get the whole thing over the butt of the club. As quick as possible, slide the grip down the shaft until you feel the back of it hit the butt. Line up the logo with the mark you made from the old grip. Then make sure everything is lookin' good and wipe away any extra solvent.

It will take at least an hour for everything to set. Once it does, you should be golden and ready to shave 3-4 strokes off your game. Although I didn't drop any strokes myself, the new grips felt great.

The process took about 15 minutes per club, but I'm sure there are hundreds of little tricks out there to make this process easier and faster. I would love to see some good comments and suggestions below from others that have discovered the pleasure in doing their own grips.


[ comments ]
carl.godlove says:
Love your humor - I suggest a minor improvement to the process (the pros all seem to do this): squirt the solvent into the grip first, toss it around to coat the inside of the grip, then turn it vertically, butt end down and uncover the butt end hole and top hole. The solvent will run out of the grip in a stream that you can move over the taped shaft to saturate the tape. Carl Godlove
1/17/10
 
martin1956 says:
I've done 3 sets of irons in my time, and a putter and a driver. I won't be doing another driver though, the language in the house was awful I was driven to absolute distraction, nearly tears of frustration, and that was just trying to get the first half inch over the "wider" graphite end. Putters and irons no problem, but the next time I need to do the driver I will definitely get a pro to do it!
1/17/10
 
srcla10 says:
I have regripped several times now and I really do like doing it. It has added another level of fun to the game. I was also able to add some length to the clubs as I need +2" in length to fit me. Several golf sites offer extension plugs that can be epoxied to the butt end of the club. This makes any older clubs you might find really fun to play too. I now have a set of 1970's Wilson Ultra-lite Tour forged irons that are a real hoot to play and I have used 3 different manufacturer's grips on them for grins over the las few years I have had them.

I also have done drivers, fairway woods and hybrids with graphite shafts and can appreciate the frustration they can provide. However, mixing the solvent in the grip as stated above will help with slipping them over the shaft. Having the shaft properly gripped into a shaft vise makes it not too difficult.
1/18/10
 
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