ST. GEORGE- Golfers follow a simple credo: drive for show, putter for dough.

A golf foursome at Southgate Golf Club prepare to putt, April 6, 2022 | Photo by Vin Cappiello, St. George News

But those who don’t take care of their equipment are unlikely to appreciate either.

From beginners to weekend warriors and amateurs to pros, the proper selection, cleaning and maintenance of golf clubs are essential facets of the game. And it could be the difference between keeping the ball in the fairway or the drive in the rough.

“Something that’s simple and can’t be done is cleaning your clubs,” says Tyler Dalton, assistant golf pro at Southgate Golf Club in St. George. “I don’t think enough people have a wet golf towel when they go to play. A damp towel makes cleaning the grooves easier.

Although a putter does not take the same beating as irons, drivers and hybrids, it still requires proper cleaning. The greens feature short grass, often dusted with fertilizer, which transfers easily to this essential piece of equipment. Regardless of whether a shot is perfect or whether it is a “chunk” or a “duff”, grass clippings and dirt or sand from fairways, roughs and bunkers will stick in front of the club.

This can become problematic if not resolved – immediately.

“The grooves on the club are there to create lift on the golf ball and spin the golf ball,” said Dalton, who shot a 59 on the par 71 course at Southgate a few years ago. “Without these being cleaned, using a damp towel and possibly a wire brush to remove any dirt, sand, rocks or mud on them, the golf club will not perform as it is designed to perform. .”

Washington City’s Richard Reeder says oversized clubheads and graphite shafts are two major changes he’s witnessed while playing golf for nearly 40 years, April 7, 2022 | Photo courtesy of Kelly Reeder, St. George News

Washington City’s Richard Reeder has been golfing for nearly 40 years. He said he used the links up to four times a week and echoed Dalton’s sentiments regarding club upkeep.

“It’s important to keep your clubface grooves clean because clogged grooves can impede distance and not allow you to have spin on your shots,” said Reeder, who boasts golf personal bests of 29 for nine holes and 64 for 18 holes. “It can also create steering control issues, causing an unintended hook or slice”

According to the American Golf Association, official rules governing golf equipment were first established in 1909 with the determination that golf clubs should “compose a single shaft and a head which does not contain any mechanical device, such as springs”. Two years later, a rule of “conformity” took shape and included in this decision the following regarding the design of golf clubs: “The golf club head must be constructed in such a way that the length of the head from the back of the heel to the toe will be larger than the width from the face to the back of the head.

In 1931, the USGA ruled that “concavity in the clubface is no longer permitted…clubfaces shall not embody a degree of concavity or more than one angle of loft”.

Wooden clubheads were first mentioned in USGA rules in 1932, and in 1938 the “14-club rule” was introduced, setting the maximum number of clubs a player may have at 14. use during a standard round of golf. Few significant changes governing club design transpired until 1964, when the USGA provided clear definitions of iron, wood, and putter.

“There’s so much science, so much technology in a golf club that people don’t realize it’s not just a flat-faced club,” Dalton said.

In fact, the USGA timeline reveals 1992 as the year inserts were allowed on the back of the clubhead, and over the past 30 years rules have continued to develop regarding the spring, the groove and angle.

Regardless of their skill level, Dalton said golfers should base their club and general equipment selections on a few very simple considerations.

“I don’t think you have to go out and buy a set of thousand dollar clubs,” he said. “Depending on the level you are at, you will find the price that suits you. But every aspect will have an effect on your golf game.

Southgate Golf Club Assistant Pro Travis Dalton demonstrates proper golf club cleaning technique, which involves a damp cloth and sometimes a scrub brush, April 6, 2022 | Photo by Vin Cappiello, St. George News

“If you’re going to play a few times a week, spend the time, research, get a custom fit at one of our local stores… If you play once or twice a year, a set you picked up at a sale garage or grandma and grandpa’s house will probably be fine.

Reeder said he’s seen significant changes in gameplay and equipment design, all of which impact accuracy and length.

“The use of different materials in the clubs is the biggest change,” he said. “I started with real wood fairway woods. Over the years I’ve used graphite shafts because they’re easier on my bad shoulder than iron shafts.

“The big-head drivers were a huge advantage. They are more forgiving and provide more distance off the tee than traditional sized heads. The use of titanium and other materials has improved the strokes and scores of many golfers.

Proper footwear is also essential, Dalton said. Since many golfers produce tremendous force, especially off the tee or out of the rough, they need to have a safe and reliable foundation.

“There’s a reason golfers wear golf shoes; it’s about the grip or tread at the bottom of the shoe,” Dalton said. “The trend in today’s market is moving from what is considered a toe or hard toe to a soft toe shoe or even just a harder soled ‘grippy’ bottom.”

Equipment customization comes in many ways, from monogrammed golf bags and club covers to shirts adorned with company logos and hats that advertise favorite brands.

Dalton said there’s another simple but fun part of choosing equipment that some golfers take rather seriously.

“Having a ball marker is important,” said Dalton, who uses six quarterbacks that represent his parents, wife and children. “Anything that gives you a good mojo is a good thing in golf.”

Plus, golf bag essentials, especially when temperatures rise in southern Utah, include sunscreen, a hat, and water. Dalton said he applies sunscreen before hitting the course, and if he has to reapply it during a game, he uses a spray instead of lotion so his golf grip isn’t affected.

And when it comes to suddenly changing weather conditions, Dalton reminds golfers to “use good judgment.” The old joke about raising a golf club into the air like some kind of lightning rod is not a good idea.

“A golf club is a conductor,” he said. “To err on the side of caution.

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