Most golfers probably wouldn't be able to tell you that USGA rules allow that "a towel or handkerchief may be wrapped around the grip" of a golf club during play, but most could tell you they wouldn't want to play a round of golf without one or more trusty towels hooked to or tucked into their golf bags. Although clubs and balls are usually the stars of the golf equipment show, the lowly golf towel has found an indispensable place in the hearts and bags of a lot of golfers.
The primary use of a towel for many seasoned golfers is cleaning a dirty club. Dirty clubs make for bad shots. While a club brush or the point of a golf tee can help to remove clumps and caked dirt from a club head and grooves, nothing does a job of thoroughly cleaning a club while on the course quite like a damp towel. Some experienced golfers use a towel for just that purpose after every shot, regardless of weather, to keep each club in top condition. A damp towel is just as useful for cleaning balls when a ball washer isn't nearby. Some golfers are turning to microfiber towels for such cleaning jobs because of the material's ability to hold water longer.
Golfers use dry towels for absorbing moisture and drying objects such as their ball, clubs and hands. If the green is wet, it's common for a golfer to dry the ball off with a towel after putting out. If playing on a wet or dew-covered fairway, drying clubs between shots can help reduce the risk of them getting rusty. On a hot day, a towel serves as a way to remove the sweat from hands and face before taking a shot, and also to wipe down the grip of the club. Some golfers feel that a dry wipe-down can enhance the stickiness of the grip, which improves their grip on the club.
Carrying and Storage
Most golfers hang their towels on a hook or ring located near the top of their golf bag. Standard golf bags have hooks or rings for this specific purpose. Golfers who want to have more than one towel, perhaps one wet and one dry, can carry towels in a bag compartment, or use separate towel holders that clip to a golf bag or hook onto a belt loop.
Some golfers simply don't like to carry golf towels, despite the benefits a towel can provide, and it's their prerogative to golf without one. Towels aren't required. If you should find yourself on a course without a towel, but in need of one, ball-washing stations are common throughout most courses and often appear near the tee box of each hole. These stations usually include some sort of towels for drying washed balls, and they can serve a variety of other golf towel purposes in a pinch.