It’s A Privilege To Fix A Ball Mark!

By Derf Soller, agronomist, Norhtwest Region
August 14, 2012

I offered this observation when, during a recent Turf Advisory Service visit, I was asked how to get more golfers to fix ball marks. Why do I consider it a privilege to fix a ball mark?

First, and most importantly, you must be out on a golf course to make a ball mark. For many, this is what is so great about the game. You are not in the office, not doing chores at home and not sitting in some traffic jam. Instead you are outside, enjoying being on the course, likely with friends or family and playing the game of golf.

Second, if you make a ball mark you obviously hit a good shot to the green. This is your chance to demonstrate to others that not only are you an accomplished player, you also know the etiquette of the game. Most golfers don’t hit greens in regulation, but when you do it should add a little pep to your step to fix that ball mark and really see how far you just hit that perfect 7 iron.

Finally, the putting greens are usually the one playing surface that almost all golfers talk about. How smooth they were, how soft or firm they were, and the speed of the greens are common “19th hole” conversations. To all of you golfers out there, you can have a direct influence how the greens at your course play on a day to day basis. Fixing ball marks correctly can have a dramatic effect on overall green smoothness, their health and their appearance.

With recent weather patterns and conditions, it requires even more diligence on the part of the players to help keep courses in good condition. Whether your course is battling hot and dry conditions or extremely soft and wet conditions (both have been seen recently), fixing ball marks, keeping motorized and push carts out of wet areas, replacing divots, etc., all help immensely.

It is worth noting that Section l in the Rules of Golf is Etiquette: Behavior on the Course. It has got to be important, right? Help out your golf course and golf course superintendent and fix a ball mark (or two) today!

The Northwest Region is preparing to host the 112th U.S. Amateur golf championship in Denver, Colorado at Cherry Hills Country Club where Mr. Mike Burke is the golf course superintendent, and at CommonGround Golf Course where Mr. Tracy Richard is director of agronomy.

After the U.S. Amateur, the Northwest region of the USGA is available to make course visits to help review your maintenance programs this fall. Contact Larry Gilhuly, director, ( or Derf Soller, agronomist ( for more information or to schedule a visit. Wendy Schwertfeger, administrative assistant may also be reached for information at:  208.732.0280 or at

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