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Leather Putter Grip, Special Care/Cleaning?


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#1 North Butte

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 09:03 AM

The putter I've been using the last few months is a 60's vintage Acushnet Bullseye Flange with a grip that seems to be the original. It's leather and, while I don't have a picture of mine, it's the type in this photo I found in an eBay listing.

Posted Image

Same shape, same texture pattern except mine doesn't look brown or tan. It's dark gray with a distinct blue-ish tint in direct sunlight. Not sure how it developed that tint but I'm pretty sure it's the same grip.

Mine is missing the end cap so you can see the "nail" or whatever it is on the butt end of the grip.

Here's my question. For a 50+ year old putter the grip on mine is in great shape. Not slick, not really worn to any significant extent. Which seems amazing. I'd just as soon keep it in playable shape as long as possible.

Is there anything different I should do to this grip as compared to a normal Pingman rubber grip? I just wipe it off with a damp towel after each round, let it air dry for a few minutes then put it back in the bag. Does leather require special cleaning or care from time to time?

I occasionally scrub down my rubber grips with a nylon brush and dish soap but so far I've limited the putter grip to just water.

P.S. Given the age and condition of the grip it's probably stupid to ask it if needs special care because obviously it's pretty darned durable!

Everything has its drawbacks, as the man said when his mother-in-law died, and they came down upon him for the funeral expenses.

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#2 PALS-SSA

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 09:22 AM

That looks like a rubber grip.  The area where there should be a bell collar looks molded to the textured area.  

If it is indeed leather, look for a product called Blackrock Leather n Rich.  It's a cleaner/conditioner that also has wax in it that allows you to retain some tackiness.  Put it on, let it sit, and brush to a nice finish with a shoe polishing brush.  Older leather may take 2-3 treatments.  I've brought back a few leather items from the dead with this stuff.  

Bear in mind that if the leather is cracked or peeling, it may be beyond repair.  But this stuff does wonders.

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#3 BigBod

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 09:25 AM

I don't know if you can still get it but I always used to use Mars oil... always liked Mars products, very good. Found this: https://www.ardmoor....-neutral-jrmclc

Edited by BigBod, 14 May 2018 - 09:26 AM.


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#4 North Butte

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 09:38 AM

I did wonder if it could be a rubber grip. That would explain it being in pretty great shape after several decades.

Here's another picture I dredged up from eBay. Mine has this sort of deal at the butt end of the grip.

Posted Image

You can kind of see the "nail" under where the end cap went. If that putter were rolled over you'd see the leather/rubber/whatever wrap tapers down to a point on the underside.
Everything has its drawbacks, as the man said when his mother-in-law died, and they came down upon him for the funeral expenses.

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#5 North Butte

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 05:26 AM

Hereís a picture of the grip on my putter that Iím asking about.

Attached File  732EE6C4-DF94-445B-A8BE-ECA2472B3DE2.jpeg   55.83K   9 downloadsAttached File  D6E1996B-1B69-4362-9009-072A20BB75F3.jpeg   33.73K   11 downloadsAttached File  9C0E7333-A0CD-43CA-A096-002FB67708BC.jpeg   59.05K   10 downloads

Everything has its drawbacks, as the man said when his mother-in-law died, and they came down upon him for the funeral expenses.

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#6 Davewn

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 09:16 AM

View PostNorth Butte, on 15 May 2018 - 05:26 AM, said:


Definitely a leather grip and looks to be in pretty decent shape.  A reconditioning method I discovered on another site and have used successfully:  first clean the leather- I use mineral spirits on an old towel.  Saddle soap is another option if you want to use something milder.  Then slather the grip in Vaseline and wipe it off after 24 hours- the grip will soften and feel more supple.  Specialized leather conditioners like Lexol are a popular option as well.
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#7 Fellaheen51

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 10:35 AM

Would agree with Dave, definitely appears to be leather, the bell collar is a tell.  Have a Bullseye with what looks to be the same grip.  As mentioned, there are several methodologies for leather restoration.  All suitable.  I've always used saddle soap first to give the grip a thorough cleaning.  (Once used mineral spirits and it removed some of the dye used in staining the leather.)  Let dry thoroughly.  Fan of Lexol as its cheap, easy to find (auto supply stores), and works.  Apply a heavy coating with a rag and let dry overnight.  Wipe and reapply.  Grips that I thought were goners were very nicely reconditioned.
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#8 Swingingk

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 10:49 PM

I too agree with the excellent advice above.  The spirits work well for that greasy goop buildup but you do need to go easy or it will damage colors as Fella mentioned.  Also it seems to open up the pores a bit on shined up ones like yours, which really helps the conditioner absorb better.  Your grip looks more hard and shiney than dirty so I'd go easy with the solvents.  Maybe a quick wipe or two to see what it takes off.  Try not to let too much soak into the punched pattern in the wraps.

I've found that Neatsfoot Oil works very well for conditioning dryed out leather.  Apply liberally and leave it soak in for an hour before wiping off.  Repeat the process as many times as it requires to soften things up.  Neatsfoot really gives the leather that even-stickier-when-wet property too.

Good luck and keep us posted!  

I was just thinking...  you know you have the sickness when you're excited to hear about some other guys dried out putter grip, and check back daily to hear any news.  Haha!  Thank you GolfWRX for helping to feed my obsession.


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#9 North Butte

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 06:13 AM

Thanks for all the advice, guys.

I don’t think it really needs any strong cleaning like when a solvent. I am pretty picky about dirty grips and it feels OK t me. Slightly slick but not at all dirty feeling.

Something milder like saddle soap may be best. My reason for asking was mostly concern about keeping it in good shape going forward. The simplest thing may be Lexol, I see that for sale everywhere and it ought to be safe enough.
Everything has its drawbacks, as the man said when his mother-in-law died, and they came down upon him for the funeral expenses.

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#10 North Butte

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 07:04 PM

I put a couple drops of mineral spirits on a towel and gave one wipe to a small spot of leather near the end of the grip, right up against the end cap.

Attached File  571A0962-EF66-45C5-845B-CA496333905A.jpeg   67.11K   7 downloads

I think it actually bleached out some of the dye from the leather rather than removing any dirt. It became a light blue color that doesnít seem like how Iíd have imagined the grip to look when new.

I also think the spot I wiped feels a little dry.

So anyway maybe just once in a great while clean it with saddle soap and otherwise wipe it with a wet cloth after each round as Iíve been doing. The grip is basically doing fine and probably doesnít even need any further intervention.

Yeah, I know Iím being silly about an old putter I got for free!

Edited by North Butte, 16 May 2018 - 07:06 PM.

Everything has its drawbacks, as the man said when his mother-in-law died, and they came down upon him for the funeral expenses.

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#11 lawsonman

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 07:07 AM

I wouldn't touch that grip with harsh chemicals. A little good quality leather cleaner along with a conditioner will work fine.
Welcome to where dumb opinions are better than no opinion. :)

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