Golf season is about to be in full swing! Whether you’ve just treated yourself a to shiny new set of clubs or are dusting off your trusty irons and wedges, it’s important that you care for them properly to prevent golf club rust so they’ll stay swinging for many more seasons to come.
Why Golf Clubs Rust
Golf clubs are made of all different kinds of metal, varying by brand, style, type and cost. Starter clubs are often made with zinc or aluminum. These are nice because they’re lightweight, but they usually won’t last more than a few years (longer if you take care of them). These substances won’t rust (only iron and iron alloys do that), but they can be reactive to water and oxygen and they can corrode. Steel and stainless steel is usually the next level up. These are strong metals, but they do contain iron and they can be susceptible to rust. There is also maraging metal, which is stainless steel that’s been put through a special hardening process. It’s popular for faceplates in high-performing woods or in low-profile fairway woods and utility irons. It can be vulnerable to rust and corrosion. Finally, there is titanium. Some of the priciest clubs are made with titanium. Pure titanium is incredibly rust and corrosion proof, but pure titanium anything is hard to find. Most titanium golf clubs are actually made with titanium alloys, meaning they’re still potentially susceptible to corrosion.
Of course, you might still technically be able to golf if there is a bit of rust on the face of the club, but it is a common myth that it will increase your spin rate. Despite what pro golfer Bobby Jones once said about the advantage of “a bit” of rust and slight pitting boosting his backspin, independent research has proven there isn’t any performance advantage to having rusty wedges. In fact, it might actually lower the effectiveness of the club grooves and decrease the amount of ball-to-face contact.
The other issue is that once rust develops, it rarely stops at “just a bit.” Rust on the club shaft can be extremely detrimental. In fact, it’s the top cause of golf club breakage.