By Joel Tadman
Joel Tadman talks you through the tips and tricks you need to get your clubs, bag, trolley and everything else ready for that first round of golf after lockdown lifts.
Your Ultimate Lockdown Gear MOT - Get Ready For Golf!
With talk of golf courses opening sooner rather than later and the R&A releasing a plan of how golf can be played safely, NOW is the time to get your clubs, bag, trolley and all other golfing paraphernalia ready for when the moment arrives.
We’ve outlined some top tips and tricks you can do at home to ensure every item you rely on for a round of golf is primed and ready. Let’s face it, with lockdown still in full flow, you’ve got no excuse and it will put you in the best position to play some good golf once the courses re-open. Be prepared or prepare to fail, as they say...
1. Clean your clubs
This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many golfers simply don’t do it. Dirt on the face or in the grooves can effect the starting direction, speed and spin of your shots and therefore be detrimental to the result. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve hit the perfect shot, only for the ball to come up short.
So give your iron and wedge faces a good clean with a wire brush to remove dirt from the grooves and then a cloth and warm soapy water ready for their long-awaiting return to the course.
2. Care for your electric trolley
You’ve been ignoring the fact your trolley has been transporting dirt or veering to one side for long enough. So give the wheels a proper clean and sort the tracking of the front wheel if required.
Your trolley battery will also need some TLC. When not in use, Motocaddy say Lithium batteries should ideally be left in a half-charged state – so charge it for an hour and a half if you haven’t charged it since you last played. Failing that, storing it fully charged is the next best option. Remember to charge it on a dry, non-carpeted surface.
3. Reinvigorate your grips
Over time, dirt and sweat builds up in the tiny channels on your grips that provide the traction we need to maintain control of the club.
Giving your grips a good scrub with a cloth and warm soapy water will remove this and also reinvigorate the rubber, providing that soft, tacky feel you got when they were new. It’s a lovely feeling, so don’t give up on your grips just yet.
4. Remove unnecessary items
Your bag has undoubtedly accumulated some items over the previous weeks and months that you no longer need. It is important to remove them, as extra weight will make carrying more physically demanding or drain more life from your trolley battery.
Get rid of those old balls you found in the rough, that driver wrench you never use and maybe that emergency jumper stuffed in the bottom that has never seen the light of day. It all adds up in the end.
5. Clean your shoes/laces
Take the time you have now to ensure your golf shoes are "properly" clean including laces, cleats etc and nourished with leather cream if it’s a leather shoe. If you want to go even further, remove the laces and run them through your fingers in warm, soapy water.
It’s the care and attention you put in now that will ensure they’re looking their best for as long as possible. Just make sure you remember how to thread the laces back in!
6. Mark up your balls
Being punctual when golf returns will be key. Your playing partners won’t thank you for any delay in getting off the first because you need to mark your ball with your favourite design.
Spend five minutes at home with a sharpie marking a good dozen or so, so you’re ready to roll as soon as you arrive on the tee.
7. Prepare your return outfit
When we eventually get back out on the course, we want to be looking the part. So set aside your go-to outfit, perhaps it comprises your lucky polo shirt, most stylish hat or your most comfortable pair of shoes. Don’t make the mistake of wearing them to practice in the garden on lockdown, only to find them smelly in your wash bag when you really need them.
8. Categorize your gloves
This might sound a little drastic but if you don’t already, you should probably think about having different styles and conditions of gloves for different purposes. This also applies to your shoe collection and ball stash.
Back to gloves though, less expensive, synthetic gloves are good for the winter because they are hard wearing. Older, worn-out leather gloves are best kept for practice while newer gloves should be reserved for social rounds. Only slide on a brand new leather glove for an important match or competition. Any gloves with holes in belong in the bin!
This tactic will ensure you get the maximum use out of all of your gloves and that you get the best feel and performance when you really need it. Separate them in plastic sandwich bags inside your bag so they don’t get mixed up and to keep them dry if your bag isn't waterproof.
9. Stock up on essential items
There are certain items every golfer needs aside from the obvious balls, tees, marker etc. A spare laser battery will get you out of trouble should your current laser battery fail you mid round.
Perhaps consider a first aid kit of sorts with plasters for untimely blisters, lip balm, sun cream, allergy tablets etc. Also think about carrying a rules book if the app doesn’t tickle your fancy.
10. Nail your home course strategy
Perhaps the reason you’ve been struggling to post a score in the monthly medal is because your strategy is all wrong. Really think about the club selections off the tee that will get you in the least trouble and keep a double-bogey or worse off the card.
Consider the correct side to miss greens on and where the best place would be to putt from on certain greens that have caught you out in the past. It’s this type of preparation that the tour pros will do every week that can be the different between a good and bad score after all 18 holes.
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Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf.
During these enjoyable years he has had some money-can't-buy experiences, like interviewing Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy one-on-one and covering the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.
One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 87 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 4.7.
Joel's current What's In The Bag?
Driver: TaylorMade SIM2, 9°
Fairway wood: Titleist TSi3, 15°
Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18°
Irons: TaylorMade P770, 4-PW
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 50°, 54° and 58°
Putter: Evnroll ER2V
Ball: 2021 Titleist Pro V1x