Get Rid of Rust: Golf Club Care for Peak Performance

rusty golf club

Golf clubs are an investment, and like any investment, you want to keep them in top condition. One of the challenges that many golfers face is rust on their clubs. In this article, we’ll explore the causes of rust, how to prevent it, and a step-by-step guide on removing rust from your golf clubs. So, let’s dive in and help you get your clubs looking and performing their best!

Rust Prevention: Tips for Protecting Your Golf Clubs

Before we delve into rust removal, let’s discuss some ways to prevent rust from forming on your clubs in the first place:

  • Proper storage practices: Store your clubs in a cool, dry place away from moisture. Avoid leaving them in your car trunk for extended periods or exposing them to damp environments like basements or garages.
  • Regular cleaning and maintenance: Clean your clubs after each round or practice session. This includes wiping down the shafts, grips, and clubheads to remove any moisture or debris. Get yourself a golf brush and towel.
  • Using protective headcovers: Keep your clubs protected with headcovers, especially for woods and putters. This helps prevent moisture from getting trapped and causing rust.

Identifying Rust: Types and Severity

Before you start the rust removal process, it’s essential to assess the extent of rust on your clubs:

  • Surface rust is a thin layer of rust that forms on the surface of the clubhead. It’s relatively easy to remove and generally doesn’t cause significant damage.
  • Deep rust penetrates deeper into the metal and can be more challenging to remove. It may also cause more severe damage to the clubhead if left untreated.

Inspect your clubs to determine the type and severity of rust. If the rust is extensive or has caused significant damage, consider seeking professional help to restore your clubs.

Gather Necessary Supplies

Before starting the rust removal process, gather the following supplies:

  1. White vinegar or rust remover
  2. Soft-bristle brush or toothbrush
  3. Steel wool or fine-grit sandpaper
  4. Clean cloth or towel
  5. Chrome or metal polish

Remember to wear gloves and eye protection when working with chemicals, as some rust removers can be caustic.

Step-by-Step Rust Removal Process

Now that you’ve gathered your supplies, let’s get started on removing rust from your golf clubs:

Step 1: Initial cleaning

dirty golf club

First, clean your club to remove any dirt, grass, or debris. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the shaft, grip, and clubhead, ensuring that you remove any loose particles. Once the club is clean, dry it thoroughly with a clean towel.

Step 2: Applying rust remover or white vinegar

For surface rust, white vinegar should suffice. Fill a container with enough vinegar to cover the rusted area, and let the clubhead soak for 30 minutes to an hour. If you’re dealing with deep rust or prefer a more potent solution, use a commercial rust remover according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 3: Scrubbing the rust away

After allowing the vinegar or rust remover to work its magic, use a soft-bristle brush or toothbrush to gently scrub the rusted areas. Be sure to work in circular motions, applying light pressure to avoid damaging the clubhead.

If the rust persists after scrubbing with a brush, you can switch to steel wool or fine-grit sandpaper. Gently rub the rusted areas with the steel wool or sandpaper, taking care not to scratch the surrounding surfaces. This should help remove any stubborn rust that the brush couldn’t eliminate.

Step 4: Rinsing and drying

Once you’ve successfully removed the rust, it’s time to rinse the clubhead thoroughly with clean water. Make sure to remove all traces of vinegar or rust remover to prevent any further reactions with the metal. After rinsing, dry the club with a clean cloth or towel, ensuring that no moisture remains.

Step 5: Polishing (optional)

For an added touch of shine and protection, you can apply chrome or metal polish to the clubhead. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific polish you’re using. Typically, this involves applying a small amount of polish to a clean cloth and gently buffing the clubhead in a circular motion. This step not only helps restore the club’s appearance but also provides a protective layer against future rust.

Post-Rust Removal Care and Maintenance

Now that your clubs are rust-free, it’s crucial to establish a proper care routine to prevent rust from returning:

  • Ensure proper storage and protection, as mentioned earlier in the rust prevention tips section.
  • Establish a regular cleaning routine, wiping down your clubs after each use and drying them thoroughly before storing them.
  • Inspect your clubs regularly for any signs of rust or damage, addressing issues promptly to avoid more severe problems down the line.


How can I prevent rust from forming on my golf clubs?

To prevent rust, store your clubs in a cool, dry place, clean them regularly after each use, and use protective headcovers for woods and putters.

What supplies do I need for rust removal from golf clubs?

You’ll need white vinegar or rust remover, a soft-bristle brush or toothbrush, steel wool or fine-grit sandpaper, a clean cloth or towel, and optionally, chrome or metal polish.

How long should I soak my golf clubs in vinegar or rust remover?

Soak your golf clubs in white vinegar for 30 minutes to an hour, or use a commercial rust remover according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Can rust removal damage my clubs if not done properly?

Yes, improper rust removal techniques can cause scratches, damage the finish, or lead to further corrosion. Always follow proper procedures and use the right tools.

How often should I clean and maintain my clubs to prevent rust?

Clean your clubs after each round or practice session, wiping down the shafts, grips, and clubheads to remove moisture or debris. Regularly inspect clubs for signs of rust.

Can all types of golf clubs be treated for rust, or are some materials more prone to rusting?

Most types of golf clubs can be treated for rust, but clubs made of carbon steel are more prone to rusting. Stainless steel and other materials are generally more rust-resistant.

Can rust affect the performance of my golf clubs?

Yes, rust can negatively impact club performance, affecting factors such as weight distribution, balance, and aesthetics. Proper maintenance and rust removal are essential to maintaining optimal performance.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully removed rust from your golf clubs and learned how to keep them in top condition. Remember, proper care and maintenance of your clubs not only enhance their appearance but also contribute to better performance on the course. By following these tips and keeping a close eye on your equipment, you can ensure that your clubs remain rust-free and ready for action. Happy golfing!

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Joe Morelli

Joe Morelli is the founder of TopRankGolf, a passionate golfer with decades of experience playing this amazing sport. He's dedicated to helping golfers learn, improve and enjoy the game of golf.