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Who likes getting new shoes? We all do, don't we? Surely? The look, the feel, the smell of the leather, or whatever? Yes, of course we do.
With golfers, that's true with knobs on, or should I say, "with cleats on"?
Golf shoes are different because they come with spikes (cleats) that help to give grip to the golfer when, for instance, he or she is perched precariously at a forty-five degree angle on a river bank trying to hack a ball in the general direction of the flag with a sand wedge. Just one of the joys of this marvellous game.
A new pair of golf shoes should come with the cleats already in. Probably there will be a bag of spares and a little metal tool for tightening and loosening the cleats, which screw into the sole of the shoe. The cleats, if already in place, will almost certainly need tightening, and the small tool provided will do this perfectly well. In fact I always take my cleats out and dip the screw part in Vaseline before re-inserting and tightening them, as this helps to stop the screw rusting and getting stuck.
You see, the shoes should last a lot longer than a set of spikes, which will get worn over time, especially the soft spikes that many use these days. This is where the Masters Cleat Wrench comes in handy.
Why We Need Something Better
That little tool that might have come with the shoes was fine when the shoes and the cleats were new. But now, after umpteen rounds of golf through all weathers and across all surfaces, the worn cleats will be reluctant to leave their little homes.
Of course you did your best to keep them clean and hopefully the Vaseline, if you used it, has helped, but it still won't be easy. The holes that the tool is supposed to grip will have become packed with mud and bits of grit, which you will probably spend half an hour trying to winkle out before you can even think of removing the cleats.
And even then, if you can't get a good grip you'll find it very difficult to get them out. It could drive you mad - maybe not quite as mad as Lady MacBeth and her damned spot, but mad enough to consider giving up. You need something sturdier to do the job and the Masters Cleat Wrench could be that something.
What It Is
The cleat wrench is not entirely dissimilar to a bradawl, but with a stainless steel ratchet shaft and quite a chunky plastic grip that opens to store the three attachments that come with it.
The three attachments are a regular cleat remover, a cleat gripper (to help especially with worn soft spikes that are difficult to remove), and a Phillips screwdriver head, which might come in handy for more general purposes, such as making repairs on your trolley.
The extra strength in this wrench and the fact that you have a large handle to get hold of mean that you can really "get to grips" with the job. There are lots of little tasks that a golfer needs to do to keep his or her equipment in tip-top condition and the Masters Cleat Wrench makes one job a lot easier.
The wrench is small enough to pack handily in your golf bag and because the heads store away there is no issue with sharp ends damaging the fabric.
Cost and Value
The recommended retail price is £5.99 but they are available on the web for as little as £3.99.
I'm giving it four stars because it is a very handy tool, but in a way it gives you more than you need. In some respects I'd rather have a single-piece cleat remover with a strong shaft and a sturdy grip for less money. I don't need the Phillips head, or the ratchet mechanism, or the storage if it's a single-piece tool. I suppose I also have a suspicion of things that have lots of features, because I see them as more things that could go wrong. So far, I'm very pleased with it, but it was a present and I'm not entirely sure that I would have bought it for myself ahead of a simpler version. Perhaps that's just me and I wouldn't want to talk you out of having one of these.
Masters Cleat Wrench