How to Refinish a Golf Club

Most golfers would rather fight than switch a set of good woods -- even though the wood's finish looks like the bottom of a boxcar. If you and your woods fit this description, the answer is a refinishing job.

Tools: small Phillips-head screwdriver, shallow pan, small natural-bristle brush, artists' brush.

Materials: paint and varnish remover, fine steel wool, masking tape, wiping stain, aerosol spray varnish or lacquer, soft cloth, hard wax, black or white metal paint, toothpicks, waterproof glue, epoxy filler.

Time: about 2 hours per wood, over a 2-or 3-day period.

Wash the club thoroughly; remove all the dirt in the cross slots of the sole plate's screws. Use a screwdriver small enough to fit easily into the slots; too big a screwdriver could damage the soft brass screws.

Unscrew and remove the sole plate and soak it in a pan of paint remover for 1 hour. While the sole plate is soaking, work on the woods. After the plate has soaked for 1 hour, polish it with fine steel wool, and set it aside.

Protect the string windings and plastic insert plates of the woods with masking tape. Carefully coat the wooden head of the club with paint remover, using a clean natural-bristle brush. Let the remover work for 10 minutes, and then wipe it away with fine steel wool. This treatment should take off the old finish; if not, repeat.

Lightly buff the wood with fine steel wool. If you want the wood stained, apply a coat of wiping stain with a clean natural-bristle brush, and then wipe it off with a soft cloth. Bring the old woods with you when you buy stain that has to match; the degree of darkness depends on how many coats you apply and how long you leave each coat on before wiping it off. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for appropriate darkness.

When you've achieved the stain color you want, let the woods dry for 1 to 2 days. Then, very gently, buff the wood with fine steel wool. Clean the wood with a soft cloth and then spray it with clear varnish or lacquer from a spray can; use a dull or high-gloss finish, as desired. Let the finish dry completely.

When the varnish or lacquer has dried, very lightly buff the finish with fine steel wool and wipe the surface with a clean soft cloth. Then spray the wood again.

If you want a solid enamel finish on the wood, substitute dull or gloss enamel for the stain.

Let the finish dry for 2 full days. Then rub the wood with several coats of hard wax and buff it until it's smooth and shiny.

To restore the sole plate, carefully fill in the recessed lettering on the plate with black or white metal enamel, using an artists' brush. Wipe off excess enamel as you work. Let the enamel dry completely. When the enamel is dry, coat the sole plate with one or two applications of clear varnish or lacquer. Let the finish dry completely; then screw the sole plate back onto the wood.

If the screws are stripped and won't tighten, fill the holes with toothpicks and waterproof glue. Break up the toothpicks, fill the screw holes, and add a few drops of glue. Trim the toothpicks flush with the bottom of the wood. Work the screws halfway into the glued toothpicks and let the glue dry; then drive in the screws.

Use an epoxy filler to fill holes and dings in the wood. Do not use wood filler or steel wool; the weight of this material could change the swing weight of the club. Buy the epoxy filler at a golf supply store.

Whether your golf clubs need regripping or refinishing -- or both -- you can do it yourself. Keep your golf game and clubs at their best with this article's help.

For tips on caring for and repairing other types of sports equipment, try the following links: