We’ve all played against a friend who claimed their bad performance was down to using clubs that hadn’t been ‘broken in yet.’ Question is, is there any truth in this claim? Do golf clubs have a ‘break in’ period and how might you get there faster?
In this article, we’ll do our best to separate fact from fiction. We’ll be diving into the ‘break-in’ debate and seeing if we can’t find an answer to this enigmatic question. We’ll cover some of the claims, whether they have any credence, and how to maintain your clubs for many years to come.
Some of the Claims
So, what are some of the lofty claims made by players in golfing forums online? What can this supposed ‘breaking in’ process achieve? Before answering this article’s titular question, we’ll run through some of the purported benefits of breaking in a new club.
The Face and ‘Strike Bounce”
Some players online claim that when you first buy a golf club, the angle and overall position of its face is likely to be ‘too severe.’ They claim that over time, this angle ‘settles in’ to a more usable position.
This means that after a few games, each successful swing results in a higher lift, longer distance, and better accuracy overall – certainly an exciting prospect.
The ‘Grip Feel’
Other golfers believe that the grip material used for most golf clubs can feel a bit too ‘perfect’ during the first few uses. The theory goes that after a few games, the impression/ dent left by the hands makes the handle far more comfortable to hold.
Most grips are made from softer outer layers so this one at least seems feasible at first glance. Further down this page, however, we explore why this likely isn’t an accurate assessment.
The Loft Angle
Using an aluminum club? Some ‘break in’ theorists believe that your loft/ angle will change over time. Each time you strike the ball, their theory suggests, the impact makes minor changes to the angle of your club’s shaft.
After enough games, this can mean that your flight path from each swing can change significantly. It’s an interesting thought at the very least.
Cut to the Chase – Do Golf Clubs Have a Break in Period?
The likely answer to this question is no – golf clubs don’t have a ‘breaking in’ period. Clubs are designed with very specific lofts and tolerances in mind. If this supposed break in period existed, they’d likely degrade far sooner than they do currently.
If it took a few games to ‘break in’ a new club, surely this would mean that after 20 games, it was time to buy a new set altogether. It’s likely that players simply become more familiar with their equipment over time and explain their improved performance by imagining that their club has changed rather than their skill level.
Explaining the Myth – Signs of Age
While this article takes the position that a ‘break in period’ for clubs doesn’t exist, that doesn’t mean that your clubs won’t change over time. These changes are one possible explanation for the ‘break in’ myth.
Take the claims about club grips, for example, while most grips are unlikely to change significantly after a few games, they can certainly slip and twist over time. It’s possible that players using cheaper clubs notice these changes after just a few months and mistake a damaged handle for one that has been ‘broken in.’
If your club feels significantly different from when you first used it, this is likely a sign of damage/ age rather than it being ‘broken in.’
Ways Golf Clubs Degrade Over Time
For most players, golf clubs represent a significant investment – a high-quality set is far from cheap. To keep your clubs performing well for many years to come, it can help to understand some of the changes that are possible over time.
Changes to the angle and shape of a club’s shaft are particularly noticeable with thinner products or those made from materials like aluminum. With regular use – and in particular with players with an aggressive swing – this piece of metal can bend out of shape over time.
For some players, this new shape is still usable. In most cases, however, it’s necessary to have your club bent back into shape to return it to its day-one state.
Depending on the make and model of club you’re using, your grip can start to degrade far sooner than you’d like. If you have a particularly firm grip when swinging, or if you regularly forget to dry your clubs properly after use, you may find that the outer material on your handle starts to peel and warp away from the shaft.
Fortunately, it’s relatively straightforward to re-grip a club. This can be done at home or with the help of a professional at a golfing store.
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While most premium club heads are designed to be reasonably durable, there’s only so much protection an engineering team can offer. Fact is, the part of your club that strikes the ball after every swing is going to show signs of wear eventually.
Chips, scratches, and other damage can start to impact the way your club performs.
How to Maintain Your Golf Clubs
Wondering how to keep your clubs game-ready for many years to come? Follow the basic practices outlined below.
When not in use, your clubs should be stored in a room that is kept at a moderate or cold temperature. The humidity in this room should also be kept low. Moisture and heat can degrade the solvents and materials of most clubs.
What to do About Rust
Avoiding moisture is the best way to prevent rust. If you do see rust spots on your stainless steel shaft, gently buff them away with some fine grade steel wool and keep your clubs dry in the future.
After every game, wipe down your clubs with a soft cloth to dry them completely. You should do this even if you don’t think you’ve picked up much moisture from the green.
Final Thoughts – Breaking In Golf Clubs
We hope you’ve found the information above helpful. While the ‘breaking in’ period is something of a myth, it’s still worth maintaining your clubs so that they last for many years to come!