A little golf club maintenance on your sticks will make sure that your expensive purchase is a long-term investment in your game. Don't be fooled into thinking that a quick wipe down of the surface is enough to sustain your clubs; below are actions that every owner should be taking.
Grips - Serious golfers will want to change grips after each golf season, but standard rubber grips can be kept tacky for much longer. Scrub your grips once a month using a soft bristle brush and a dollop of hand soap. If your irons are steel-shafted never let them wait for their scrubbing sitting grip-down in a bucket of water - this encourages rust.
Leather grips should receive more regular care, ideally after each round. The manufacturer includes instructions for care so follow them to extend your grip life. Expect to invest in top-of-the-line leather cleaner. Additionally, work olive oil into the leather grips about once a month to keep that tacky feel. One final step all golfers should take is to avoid leaving your leather-gripped clubs lying in the sun, as this can lead to cracks.
Heads - You can keep your golf club heads - both irons and metal woods - looking like new with regular cleanings during the season. Start by soaking the club heads in order to loosen accumulated dirt in the grooves and the stampings on the sole of the club. Following this, scrub the heads clean with a brush (an old toothbrush can be stored in your bag for this chore) and liquid soap. If the clubs have any surface rust after, sand it away with fine, 0000-graded steel wool. Be aware that coarser material can damage the club head and speed deterioration.
Shafts - Steel shafts want nothing more than a quick wipe of a golf towel every now and then, but today's graphite shafts are where you truly can protect your investment. Each graphite shaft is coated with a thin coating of polyurethane that guards all that fancy high-technology stuff that lies underneath. Without this top layer, there is nothing left to protect those graphite fibers but the snazzy paint job.
If protective coverings are no longer on the shaft, the exposed graphite filaments are prone to wearing, shredding and, ultimately, snapping apart mid-swing. All of that nastiness can be avoided by a monthly routine of keeping the shafts clean with a wet cloth. Stay away from any solvents that can eat away at that critical polyurethane. Finish up the job with furniture wax or even a specially made golf shaft wax.