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How and why to add lead tape to golf clubs

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Many tour pros apply lead tape to their clubs to alter the weight of the club, how it feels, affect the ball’s trajectory, and to help cure a swing defect.

Despite the increase of weight adjustability features in modern drivers, lead tape’s enduring prominence in today’s game is necessary to note. Here we’ll take a look at the ins and outs of the sticky stuff and how, why and where to add lead tape to your driver, irons, wedges and even putter.

Where to apply lead tape to help your golf game

Lead tape can be applied in a multitude of ways to a golf club, and its function is to increase the swing weight of the club, as a 1-inch strip of lead tape typically weighs about 1 gram. So not only can it help fix a common miss or change shot shape, the added weight can, in theory, help you hit the ball further and straighter.

Driver

Applying lead tape to your driver can help you fix your big miss

Applying lead tape to the big stick in the bag can alter a multitude of different factors. Let’s take a look at where to use an inch of lead tape depending on what your desired goals are/what your primary struggle is with the club.

Reduce a hook or to promote a fade

Add tape to the driver’s toe either outside the driver or beneath the toe, as the tape will slow down the clubhead’s rotation by restricting the release of the toe resulting in the clubface staying open longer.

To stop slicing the ball or promote a draw 

Place a strip of tape on the heel portion of the driver, typically on the bottom of the clubhead. In doing so, the heel will be weighed down by the added weight from the lead tape, allowing the toe to release more.

Higher trajectory and more forgiveness

If you’re struggling with a low ball flight and a lack of forgiveness on your drives, you can apply lead tape to the rear portion of the sole away from the face. This will pull CG (center of gravity) more rearward, resulting in a driver offering higher spin and launch.

Lower ball flight and spin

If you want a more penetrating ball flight off the tee, then apply lead tape on the front portion of the sole near the face. Doing so will reposition the CG low and forward, reducing spin rates while giving you a lower ball flight. 

Increase Swing speed

Placing led tape on the shaft of the club underneath the grip is a practice which Jack Nicklaus and Sergio Garcia have implemented throughout their careers. The method, known as counter-balancing, is said to make the club feel lighter and is designed to help a golfer gain extra swing speed. This has mostly gone out of fashion in favor of counter-balanced shafts and butt weighting, but it’s still on the menu. 

Depending on how big your miss is, use one strip to begin and adjust from there depending on results.

Irons

David Duval lead tape nike irons

C/o: @thejdog1. Applying lead tape to irons can help ball striking and shot shaping

The same general rules will apply when using lead tape with your irons.

Blades

Most pros will apply lead tape directly behind the middle portion of the iron with the added weight designed to help with accuracy. However, based on shot shape, using tape on either the heel or toe is certainly not uncommon.

Cavity Backs

If using cavity back irons, then place the lead tape directly into the cavity in the center of the club. Adjust to heel or toe depending on shot shape desire.

Wedges

Phil Mickelson Wedge Lead Tape

Phil Mickelson is a lover of lead tape and it often features on his clubs

Since you don’t shape your wedge shots, lead tape is applied directly behind the center of the wedge. In doing so, the heavier swing weight can benefit ball flight and ball striking. Some pros believe placing lead tape lower on the club will help increase launch as well. 

Putter

Tiger Woods putter lead tape

Tiger Woods using lead tape on his GSS Scotty Cameron at the 2019 Open Championship

Yes, you can even apply lead tape to your putter, and it’s something 15-time major champion Tiger Woods has done in the past. 

  • Sole of Putter: Placing lead tape on the sole of the putter will help square the putter at impact assisting those who struggle with opening or shutting the putter face.
  • Behind center of clubhead: Tiger often places lead tape in this position when competing on slower greens, with the added weight helping him hit putts hard enough.
  • Shaft: Players will sometimes add tape to the shaft to improve the overall tempo of the stroke.

How to apply the tape

The most important factor in applying lead tape to the club is ensuring the area is clean. Lightly sanding down the area with sandpaper can be beneficial also, to make sure the area is flat. After applying the tape to the desired spot, flatten it out with a golf ball.

lead tape golf

Lead tape remains a popular accessory on the PGA Tour

Is lead tape safe?

Yes, but avoid storing the stuff in your golf bag and use gloves when possible. Always store the tape in a safe and dry location.

Is lead tape legal?

Yes, but it must be placed on the club before the start of a round. The USGA states in Rule 14-3 that “Lead tape may be applied to the head or shaft of the club for the purpose of adding weight (see Decisions 4-1/4 and 4-2/0.5)”

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the benefits of lead tape, and how you can apply it to help your game.


A final word from our friends at @leadtapechronicles about the sticky silver stuff.

“Lead tape on each club serves a purpose. Not every club has the same weight in the set so it is a great way to get a matched feel throughout your set, or help a certain club accomplish a certain tendency with ball flight.”

 

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Tony Dyck

    Dec 14, 2020 at 9:39 am

    Here we go again. Some guy (who should know better) perpetuating this myth that a few grams of lead tape is going to change your shot shape. Expected better from an editor on WRX.

  2. Nihonsei75

    Dec 13, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    A few layers of thick Gorilla tape with nail polish for the edges gives cool color and shaping to contours and cavity options, cut to precision! Can’t add pics 🙁

  3. geohogan

    Dec 12, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    An alternative to lead tape for hollow woods and irons
    is poly stuffing. The kind used to stuff cushions.
    Weighed in advance, a measured amount can be stuffed.(doesnt retain moisture)

    It expands equally when pushed inside the cavity of woods and hollow irons
    to increase weight equally without upsetting center of gravity.

    Can also be used to muffle sound of some irritating sounding clubheads.

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