Fixing Ball Marks

From the Field

There are many things that happen on a golf course that are out of the hands of the superintendent: weather, wildlife, and irrigation leaks just to name a few. However, there are a few things that you as a golfer could do to help ensure a good playing surface for everyone.

You’ve heard it over and over again: please fix your ball marks! The basis for ball mark repair is for both competitive and agronomic reasons. When your ball lies at rest behind an unrepaired pitch mark in line to the pin position, you have been put at a disadvantage. As a general rule, a ball mark repaired within 10 minutes will heal with a smooth surface within two to three days. An unrepaired ball mark may take as long as three weeks to heal, but the result will be an uneven surface. The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) diagram below illustrates the correct way to repair a ball mark to promote healing and less damage.

Proper Way to Repair a Ball Mark_GCSAA

Replacing divots on the fairway is just as quick and simple. Unless the divot has been blown into a thousand pieces, it can be put back into place to help heal the damaged area. By leaving damaged turf unrepaired, it can become susceptible to disease and/or infestation of weeds, resulting in a lower quality of playing surface. Please replace the divot if possible or fill it in using the bottles of sand/seed provided on your cart. Tamp down the sand with your foot to help smooth over the wound, and reduce speed bumps for fellow golfers and as well as the risk of damage to specialized cutting units used to mow fairways.

Golf course managers and superintendents understand the best practices for growing and maintaining grass, but you as the golfer have just as much impact on playability as we do. By correctly following these simple guidelines, you have done your part to help the superintendent and his/her staff and you have been courteous to your fellow golfers. It’s the easiest part of the game!

Andy Grau, Assistant Park Manager, Woodland Mound & The Vineyard