There’s been a lot of talk over the years about rust and its effect on the performance of golf equipment, particularly wedges. The thought is, a rusting wedge will be a much more abrasive surface, causing more friction at impact resulting in increased spin. This theory has been put to the test on many occasions, and fortunately, the numbers don’t lie. Here’s everything you’d ever need to know about rust and golf clubs.
Question: What types of golf clubs rust?
Generally speaking, the clubs that tend to rust and oxidize are made of mild carbon steel. Back in the 1990’s Roger Cleveland developed their RTG Wedges, RTG standing for Raw Tour Grind. This type of club didn’t get the thin layer of Chrome around the face. Without the protective Chrome layer, moisture and salt can go to work, and rust can slowly start to appear all over the clubface. Rust is most commonly found on wedges and putters using the raw finish.
Question: Will rust increase the spin rate on my wedges?
No, this is a common myth. Independent studies have proved there are no performance advantages to rust on wedges. In truth, the abrasive nature of rusty wedges actually reduces the effectiveness of the clubs grooves. It decreases the amount of ball to face contact. The studies prove this, rust will not make a major difference in spin rates, if anything, it will reduce it slightly.
Question: How can I prevent / remove rust from my golf clubs?
A ton of factors cause rust to form. Humidity and salt are the largest contributors however. In terms of prevention, the most effective way to prevent rust is to dry your clubs after you play. There are a couple of ways to remove rust from your clubs. If you’re not afraid of getting a little dirty, steel wool coupled with soap and water will do the trick. If you’re looking for an easier method, simply drop your wedges into a container of Coke for 2 hours. The Coke will strip away the rust quickly, so keep an eye on it.
Question: What are the advantages and disadvantages of a rusted wedge?
Chrome is a very shiny metal – and for many players, too shiny. Rusting the wedge will effectively dull the finish and remove the shine. From a feel standpoint, many players state that a raw wedge has a softer feel than a chromed version – which would make sense, as the chrome is a very hard metal. Other than that, some players simply like the look of the rusted finish. The Cobra staple – “Trusty Rusty” wedges were quite popular for this reason.
In terms of disadvantages, rust will eat away at your clubs and more importantly their grooves. Since grooves play the biggest part in imparting spin, over time a rusted wedge will spin less. A raw rusted wedge will not stand the test of time as well as one designed to not to rust. Another disadvantage is the dirty nature of rust – it will get on everything, your other clubs, towels, trunk of your car etc. Finally, raw wedges tend to cost a little more – around $10 in fact, which doesn’t really make sense, considering it doesn’t get the Chrome finish…
Question: How can you speed up the rusting process?
For those of you who love rust on your clubs, there are a couple things you can do to speed up the process. If you don’t have a raw finish already, you have to do some prep work – the best way is to sit your wedges in a Coke bath overnight, to strip the finish off. This may take some experimenting, but it works.
Once this is done, you can help speed up the rust process in two different ways, which are pretty similar. Simply tossing the clubhead in a bath of saltwater overnight, then letting it sit for a day should do a pretty good job. Another method, is a little more complicated, but just as effective. Dampen a towel, cover it in salt, then lay your club on it. Wrap the club and towel in a bag, but leave it open to the air. Re-wrap throughout the day, but don’t wrap the club too tightly – you need air for the oxidation process. Leave it in a dark place overnight. Check it out in the morning.
Do you have any other methods for removing or creating rust on your clubs? What are your thoughts on the rust vs. no rust issue? Share your thoughts in the comments below.