If you’re like most golfers you’re always looking for an edge to beat your buddies and shoot lower scores. Whether it’s buying the newest driver (that you may or may not need), upgrading your irons to hunt flags or adding to your accessories, you’re always looking for ways to improve.
That’s what you need to have to get really good at this game – the attitude of whatever it takes. Because let’s face it, so many golfers play the game for years or decades and never reach their potential.
While we cover all kinds of topics to shoot lower scores on The Left Rough, I wanted to bring in a trusty (and cheap) tool to help your game – lead tape.
Maybe you’ve heard of it or maybe you haven’t. If not, you could be missing out as it’s one of the lowest cost ways to change your game seemingly overnight.
This is one of the most effective ways to tweak your clubs and increase performance without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on new clubs. Keep reading to learn more about lead tape and how you can use it to improve your game.
What is Lead Tape?
So what is lead tape used for anyways? It’s used in all types of sports to increase performance in one way or another including golf, tennis, pickle ball and others.
For decades, this stuff has helped golfers and other athletes make adjustments quickly when they need a little extra help. It can help impact, distance, shot shape, and ball flight, depending on the location of the tape itself.
But if you’ve never heard of it, it’s likely because it’s not nearly as popular among amateur golfers as it once was. Since manufacturers like Titleist, TaylorMade and others have adjustable clubs, players can skip the tape and use a club tool instead to change up performance.
But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still use it for a quick fix in several areas of your game.
What You Need to Know About Lead Golf Tape
Lead tape can be applied pretty much anywhere you want. From the clubhead, in the cavity of your irons, directly on the shaft, or even underneath your grip.
The point of lead tape is to increase the swing weight of a club by adding weight. In theory, it can help you hit it further and straighter than a lighter club. Plus, you can apply it in several ways based on your miss and desired shot shape.
While it will help tame a miss, it will not create miracles and help you drop 20 strokes from your game (need an eraser for that). Don’t forget, this great sport is based on solid fundamentals (such as grip, stance, takeaway, downswing) not on quick fixes.
Here’s a breakdown of how to use lead tape on golf clubs:
Lead Tape on Driver and Fairway Woods
Arguably the most important club in the bag is the driver aka the big stick. Unfortunately, it’s also the weapon that most amateur golfers struggle with the most as well.
Since it has the lowest amount of loft and is the longest in the bag, it’s the hardest to keep it on the course when you’re swinging poorly. Luckily, golf lead tape can help you find more fairways and keep it in play.
If you’re suffering from a slice and changing the settings on your driver isn’t helping, lead tape could help straighten things out. Apply it to the heel of the club on the sole (aka the bottom of the club). This will make the heel substantially heavier and should make it easier to rotate your arms and square up the toe at impact.
Conversely, if you’re suffering from a hook, you can do the opposite to help you hit the driver straighter. Instead of adding tape to the heel, you want to add it underneath the toe of the golf club. This will help you square up at impact and hopefully turn your hook into a nice power draw that creates a ton of top spin and goes forever.
Finally, you can also add tape to the middle part of the sole. This is a “neutral” position and is meant to add more weight to it and change up the center of gravity (COG) for increased distance.
The more towards the back of the driver will also help you launch it slightly higher as well. Paired with increasing loft, you can make a lot of adjustments without buying any new gear.
Remember, the more strips that you add, the heavier it’ll feel. If you don’t have a big miss in either direction, opt for one piece to start.
If you have a big hook or slice with your driver, add more tape until you get the desired results. The same process applies to fairway woods but you’ll likely use less as they are generally easier to control.
Irons and Wedges
Next up is applying lead tape to irons and wedges. It can help you add extra weight in the right areas and help with your accuracy and short game performance.
For irons, it depends on if you have a more forgiving cavity back or a blade style. If you’re playing blades, you’ll put it directly on the iron (most pros use it across the middle of the blade). Or, you can have it more towards the heel or toe based on your current shot shape.
If you’re playing a cavity back, you’ll stick the tape into the cavity in the center of the club. You can also add more to the toe or heel too.
For wedges, you want to apply on the thick part directly behind the center of the club. This will help with ball flight and overall ball striking. Since you don’t work the ball in either direction, don’t put it on the toe or heel.
Putting With Lead Tape
While it works for all clubs from wedges to drivers, don’t forget that it can help your putting as well. A lot of golfers prefer a heavier putter as it makes it easier to keep the putter on a straight back, straight through path.
If you want to use it on your putter, you can add it to several places including:
- Putter sole: If you’re struggling with closing or opening the face, you can add a few strips underneath on the side in which you aren’t closing. This should help square the putter at impact for a better roll.
- Putter cavity: Depending on the shape of your putter, you can also add it on the blade or the cavity behind the center of the clubhead.
- Putter shaft: Finally, you can also add it to the sole of the putter well. This can help with your tempo and ensure a smooth 1-2 stroke.
Tiger Woods, arguably one of the greatest putters ever, has been spotted using tape on his trusty Scotty Cameron. He’s been known to add extra weight when playing British Open tournaments as the greens are much slower in Europe. This helps with a longer stroke while still keeping the putter head square through impact.
Finally, lead tape has been used by iconic players such as Jack Nicklaus to increase the clubhead’s swingweight. You can use it to act as a counter-balance to the head and possibly gain extra swing speed.
Adding it under the grip can help golfers feel a little more weight near the grip and not make the clubhead feel as heavy. Don’t forget, if you’re looking for extra swing speed, we highly recommend SuperSpeed (check out our full review here).
Where to Buy Lead Tape
If you’re ready to buy some for your game, here are our top two picks:
- Unique Sports 1/2 Inch Wide: This product comes in a 72” roll. A four-inch strip will help add two grams of weight to the club.
- Tourna Lead Tape 2 Roll Pack: The other option is from Tourna and comes with two roles of 1/4 inch tape. Each four inch strip is equal to one gram of additional weight. It is adhesive backed so it should attach easily and last for quite some time.
Do you have more questions about using it? Check out some of the most commonly asked questions and answers below.
Is lead tape legal?
That’s a great question because the game has so many rules it’s hard to remember what’s legal and what isn’t. But the answer is yes, it is legal to use on any and all of your clubs and shafts according to Rule 14-3.
But there is one catch…
You must put it on before the round starts. If you alter your clubs during a round in any way (like adding tape, changing a setting of your driver), you would face a penalty for doing so. If you’re with your buddies on a casual Saturday 8am golf round it doesn’t matter but always make adjustments before the round begins.
How do you get lead tape to stick to a club head?
Getting it to stick to your clubs is key so make sure you clean the club first. Once it’s fully dried, add the lead tape and press down in the middle and over the edges. Do this several times to make sure it’ll stick effectively.
Where do you put lead tape on a driver’s head?
There is no correct answer here, you get to decide where to put the tape!
Here’s a little cheat sheet of where you put it and how it will affect the overall performance:
- On the back of your driver = higher spinning and higher launching
- On the middle front of your driver = lowers center of gravity
- Toward the toe = prevents hooks
- Toward the heel = prevents slice
How heavy is lead tape?
There are several types you can buy. In general, the two main ones are 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch. One inch of half inch wide tape weight .5 grams. While the 1/4 wide only weighs .25 grams.
Is lead tape safe?
In general, yes, it is safe. As long as you aren’t interacting with it on a daily basis, you should be fine. One recommendation – don’t store it in your golf bag.
This will make it more likely to come into contact with other items (like a golf ball) and potentially rub off (and avoid lead poisoning). Finally, always wear gloves when using and store it in a safe, dry location.
Lead tape for golf is an effective way to improve your game by altering the weight of your clubs and shaft. But don’t forget, lead tape is a band-aid fix and suggest to always look at addressing the big issues like grip, stance, and alignment to create a consistent swing. As Earl Woods said, “I’ve talked to many professional teachers. They agree that all swing faults can be traced back to the setup.”
This has been around for a very long time and while not as popular as it once was, it’s still definitely a tool for savvy golfers. Paired with new adjustable tech, you can use this cheap tool to adjust the weight and improve your performance from tee to green.
When using, make sure to start slow and test it out at the range or the putting green. Don’t go overboard and add 3-4 pieces before testing the performance.
Instead, add one piece for the club you want to fix, hit some balls, and notice your results. Then keep tweaking as needed.
Hopefully this inexpensive tool will help your golf swing gain more confidence and shoot lower scores.