If you've had your irons or golf wedges for a while, or if you've bought a some clubs second hand, you might notice that the grooves on the golf clubs are worn.
It's all part of normal wear and tear, but as the grooves get worn, you're going to lose the ability to put as much spin on the golf ball and this will affect distance and control.
But hold on! Before you decide to to splash your cash on a new set of irons or wedges, let’s talk about groove sharpeners and if they’re the solution for your worn-down grooves.
What Is A Golf Club Groove Sharpener?
A groove sharpener is a small golf tool that sharpens, cleans, and extends the iron or wedge grooves so that they are sharp and close to their original state.
There are commercially available groove sharpeners, as well as some do it yourself options.
Do Groove Sharpeners Work?
The short answer is yes, they do.
When you carefully guide the groover sharpener back and forth in the indents of the grooves’ edges, they will reform and sharpen. This will increase the golf club's spin potential when you hit a golf ball.
The friction created by the grooves is necessary to create spin, and the depth and sharpness of your grooves will have a direct impact on the amount of spin you will get.
A groove sharpener is going to work best on forged golf club which is made from softer steel.
How To Use A Golf Club Groove Sharpener?
There are usually specific instructions included with each golf club groove sharpener. Follow those instructions correctly to make sure you're using the right part of the groove sharpener for the type of grooves on your golf club. The original grooves could be square grooves, V grooves or U shaped grooves depending on the manufacturer of the golf clubs you have.
Here are some basics to keep in mind when sharpening golf club grooves:
- Before groove sharpening, thoroughly clean the club's surface to get rid of any dirt
- At a straight angle, insert the groove sharpener in the grooves
- Slide the sharpener back and forth within the grooves slowly and consistently
- Ensure that the sharpener is straight and that the original groove shape is preserved
Watch this video on YouTube for a visual reference on how to use groove sharpeners.
Is It Legal To Sharpen Grooves?
Yes, a groove sharpener is legal to use. BUT there is a fine line which you could cross and make your clubs or wedges non conforming.
Manufacturing standards allow for a maximum depth and sharpness of grooves.
Golf clubs are manufactured with the maximum allowance in mind. If you modify the club and it exceeds the rules' allowances, the club will be illegal.
But if the grooves on the golf club are really dull and need sharpening, then restoring the grooves to their original sharpness is legal, you just might not know if you've made the club too effective!
How Often Should You Sharpen Your Wedges?
You should only really sharpen grooves when your wedges noticeably lose their spin.
Sharpening your grooves is a tricky thing to do and you shouldn't try and do it often. When you notice that there is a significant dulling that leads to a loss of friction between the club and the ball, that's the time you should consider sharpening the grooves.
During these times, you should make sure that you are just restoring the sharpness and groove size to its original state, not trying to over sharpen the grooves and potentially ruin the golf club.
Tips and Tricks When Using Groove Sharpeners
When sharpening grooves on your wedges in particular, you will notice an even greater difference in spin and accuracy.
Take note of these tips when you’re sharpening the grooves in your wedges:
- Sharpen the grooves only when you are sure that it is needed and the club face is not creating satisfactory friction and spin.
- As you use the groove sharpener, make sure that you do so slowly and steadily, so that you don't damage the golf club and the heel and toe of the face next to the grooves.
- Make sure that your groove sharpener is of good quality and that it fits the grooves precisely. A cheap tool will result in poor results, and using the wrong part of the tool could actually make the grooves worse!
Ideas For A Homemade Groove Sharpener
There are a lot of affordable choices where you can buy professionally-made groove sharpeners. But did you know that you could make one yourself?
There are many golfers that have created their homemade tool that works just as well and did the job.
One of the most common Do-It-Yourself versions of a homemade groove sharpener is using a flathead screwdriver.
There are other golfers who’ve used nail files to help straighten up the grooves. Although the nail file is softer than a screwdriver, it can still bring the same results.
Sometimes a nail file is a better alternative because it stops you from overdoing the sharpening. Remember when you pick a homemade tool, do so with caution.
It's worth pointing out that tools that aren't specifically developed for refining golf club grooves have a greater margin of error.
Groove sharpeners aren’t that expensive, so purchasing one may be the best way to ensure the sharpening gets done accurately.
Recommended Iron Groove Sharpener
The number one recommended is the GrooVex Golf High Precision Carbide Groove Sharpener.
With its versatility, toughness, and easy-to-use features, it is suitable for any of the irons or wedges in your bag.
It has a variety of length settings and is the best option for you to sharpen the grooves and not overdo them.
Recommended Wedge Groove Sharpener
For wedge sharpening, our recommendation is the HIRFOM Groove Sharpener. Its 6-blade design can sharpen both U and V grooves, and it has a comfortable and durable handle.
This is also a more affordable choice.
Sharpening your golf grooves can make a big difference in your game as long as you don’t overdo it. Follow this guide to to make golf groove sharpeners work for you.
Should I Sharpen The Grooves On My Irons?
Yes, the sharp grooves will give an increased spin rate, which can increase your chances of scoring.
Are Golf Club Groove Sharpeners Legal?
Yes, it they are. But there are certain conditions you must meet such as depth, spacing, width, symmetry, and consistency so don't make your clubs illegal by accident.
How Do I Know If My Iron Grooves Are Worn Out?
The fingernail test is one of the best ways to find out. Use your fingernail and run it along the face of the wedge, when you feel roughness and irregularities, that’s when you know.