It’s important to keep your clubs, especially the irons, free of dirt, grass and other debris during a round of golf. And it has nothing to do with appearances.
Unless you top the ball or hit it thin, you’re bound to get some crud on the clubface with most every iron shot. If you hit the next shot with the same club without removing the grime, you could cost yourself strokes.
The grooves on a club have a specific purpose: to grab the ball’s surface and impart backspin. If the grooves are full of dirt or grass, the ball will spin less, fly father, then bounce and roll rather than skipping and stopping upon landing. It’s the same effect as a “flyer lie” in the rough.
Water on the clubface creates the exact same problem. After making your practice swings on wet or dewy grass, wipe the clubface with a towel.
Brushes made specifically for golf clubs – both irons and woods -- are inexpensive and well worth a few bucks. You can also use a sharp tee or pitch mark repair tool to clean your grooves. Finally, always keep a towel handy just for your clubs. You probably don’t want to wipe dirt, grass and pesticides on your face.