June 16, 2012

How To Fix A Ball Mark

Recently it seems that I have played a fair amount of rounds of golf with a couple of different individuals, and have been amazed at how often ball marks are fixed incorrectly on greens.  Although it seems like a fairly simple task, there are very significant differences in the final outcome of the putting surface between fixing the mark right, and fixing it wrong.

What seems like a fairly common misconception is that the middle indention of the ball mark should be popped up to level the surface.  Doing this brings dead grass and sand up into the middle of the mark, and also tears off the roots off the surrounding healthy grass in the process.  This process can lead to a ball mark that will take up to three weeks to completely grow back.

The proper way to fix a ball mark is to push in the healthy turf from around the edges of the mark to fill in the indention in the middle.  Doing this, while utilizing a slight twisting motion, will fill in the dead center of the ball mark with the healthy grass from around the edges, and after a small tamp with the bottom of your putter, will lead to a ball mark that will essentially be gone the next day.

While this isn't something we have a terrible problem with at GFCC due to our relatively low number of rounds played, there is a lot of confusion hanging around about what is actually the proper way to fix a ball mark, so now hopefully everyone knows the right way!

I found this photo on another Supterintendent's blog that I follow.  Apparently they have a small problem with ball marks at his course, so he went to the extreme.  His staff found the worst greens and marked every unfixed or incorrectly
fixed ballmark on the entire putting surface with a flag for golfers to play around for a day just to get the point across.

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