There will be instances in which you may want to save the current grip on a given club. These cases would include if the grip was brand new or if the grip was an OEM model that you could not duplicate. Often the amount of effort required in trying to save an existing grip far outweighs the cost of a new grip; you will find this out as you attempt to remove certain grips. Elastomer (like Winn), leather, cord and older grips will be very difficult, if not impossible, to remove intact and should not even be attempted. Most rubber, synthetic and air cushion grips can be removed and reused if they are in relatively new condition. The older the grip, the less chance there is of removing it in one piece. You will need a grip shooter gun (like the Hireko model MIT029) as part of your tool selection if you are going to attempt to save grips. A grip shooter and a few extra needles will cost in the $60.00 range.
SECURE THE CLUB IN A VISE: Use a vinyl shaft clamp to position the club in a vise so that the back (underside) of the grip is toward the ceiling. Allow approximately 4” of shaft to stick out from between the mouth of the grip and the shaft clamp.
PRIME THE GRIP SHOOTER: Wear goggles or eye protection at all times when working with the grip shooter as solvent can squirt in many directions if the tool slips. The grip shooter will be filled with a solvent such as naphtha or mineral spirits; other solvents tend to destroy the plastic gaskets in the grip shooter, even the grip solvents available through component suppliers like Hireko. Using the trigger, pump the gun a few times until solvent shoots out. (You may want to point this in a garbage can or paint tray as not do damage to any other shop areas.)
INSERT THE NEEDLE INTO THE GRIP: Carefully insert the needle into the back of the grip at a point approximately 2” down from the end of the grip. Slide the need at an angle; when it contacts the shaft gently push it under the grip about 1”. Be careful not to go in at too steep of an angle or apply too much force as you can bend or break the needles and this is not covered under the warranty.
SHOOT SOLVENT INTO THE GRIP: Gently pump the grip shooter trigger. You will see and feel the solvent going into the grip. The solvent will likely cause a “bubble” to form inside the grip. Pump the trigger again. Without removing the grip shooter, carefully use your other hand to compress or message the solvent “bubble” down toward the mouth of the grip. If the solvent comes out of the mouth of the grip, no more solvent is needed and the grip shooter can be removed from the grip. If the solvent does not yet go out of the mouth of the grip, squeeze more solvent under the grip and repeat the process. It may be necessary to re-insert the needle to the place where the solvent has not reached. Sometimes removing a grip with the grip shooter may require multiple insertion points.
REMOVE THE GRIP: Once the solvent has squirted out of the moth of the grip, now is the time to grasp the grip with both hand (a towel over the grip may help), gradually twist or work the grip off the butt end of the shaft until it is off. If you are unable to remove the grip at this point, repeat the previous step in the area the grip is stuck.
EXAMINE THE GRIP: To determine if the grip is re-usable take a look to make sure none of the paint fill on the grip came off during removal. Also, look inside the grip. If you can see tape residue, chances are the grip is not good for reuse as any tape pieces will be felt when/if the grip is re-installed. A sure sign of tape inside the grip is that there is little or no tape left on the shaft.
Never guarantee that you will be able to remove a grip intact. Not all grips will come off easily; some will not come off at all. Also, be very cautious when using a grip shooter. Always keep the needle covered with some type of protector (a cork works well) when not in use. When using the grip shooter pay close attention to how you are holding it and how much pressure you are applying to it. Serious injury can result when grip solvent is shot into your hand instead of into the grip. Make sure no one else is around the work area as solvent could be squirted in their direction.