COURSE CARE
The Golfers Resolution For Ball Mark Repair January 6, 2015 By Larry Gilhuly, agronomist, West Region

For better putting green smoothness and improved turf quality in 2015, make one of your new year’s resolutions to fix more ball marks.

It’s that time of year again where we all have lists of resolutions that we wish to accomplish during the new year. While well intentioned, resolutions often fall by the wayside or are forgotten only to be brought back to life the next year; but what about those simple resolutions dealing with the game of golf? We’re not talking about how your game will be improved with the latest equipment or swing change. No, we are talking about a single item that every player should be aware of on every green. In fact, if every player were aware of the following resolutions, the greens you play would be smoother, healthier, and more of your putts would find the hole. Let’s look at a short list of resolutions all players should have for the coming year in regard to ball marks.

  • I resolve to notice if my golf ball made a mark on the green. Even low-trajectory chip shots can impact the putting surface despite not showing a noticeable ball mark on the green. 
  • I resolve to find my ball mark on the green when riding in a cart, even if I park far away from where my shot landed. If your ball hits the front of the green, make sure to find the ball mark and fix it. 
  • I resolve to fix my ball mark, and at least two others if they are noticeable. In some cases there may be more than a dozen noticeable ball marks if the greens are soft, so be aware of the pace of play. 
  • I resolve to learn how to fix a ball mark properly by watching Fore The Golfer: How To Repair Ball Marks (En Español). The first step is to push the area that has been displaced by the golf ball back in the direction from which the golf ball was hit. Next,push back the sides with the front portion of the disrupted area generally not disturbed. Once the turf has been pushed back, level the surface with the bottom of your putter. A putter alone is not considered a tool for fixing ball marks.
  • I resolve to make every effort to not leave exposed soil when fixing a ball mark. In some cases, this is not possible which leads to the next resolution. 
  • I resolve to read The Anatomy Of A Pitch Mark to understand the differences between different types of ball marks and their impact on growing and playing conditions. 
  • I resolve to not use any ball mark repair tool or tee to lift the turf or damaged area in an upward movement. Doing so leads to the next resolution. 
  • I resolve to begin paying attention to the many ball marks that are fixed using the lifting technique mentioned above. In virtually every case bare soil, damaged turf and smoothness are compromised. 
  • I resolve to educate others on the proper way to repair a ball mark back when it is being done incorrectly. 
  • And finally, I resolve to make all of the above a part of my golf game.

Source: Larry Gilhuly (lgilhuly@usga.org

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