Why every golfer needs to fix their pitch marks on the green – part two


“Love and putting are mysteries for the philosopher to solve. Both subjects are beyond golfers.”Tommy Armour

By Ian Hardie

In the post Why every golfer needs to fix their pitch marks on the green

I wrote about the fact that at any given moment during a day

There will be hundreds, if not thousands of golfers around the world

Working away at improving their putting stroke or buying a new putter

In the hope of being able to ‘hole more putts’ when they play golf

As you will no doubt be aware, your performance on the putting green

Can make or break your whole game most days but the trouble is that quite often

We will find that the other golfers in front of us, the ones that played yesterday

Last week or even sometimes a golfer that played the course last month

Can influence how well we putt through either not fixing or more commonly

Not properly fixing the pitch mark that their golf ball made when it hit the green

An unfixed or badly fixed pitch mark can wreak havoc on your finely tuned putting stroke

And drive you to start questioning whether or not – you can putt at all

Not to mention what it can do to your state of mind if you happen to miss a few putts

Because they were deflected off-line by unfixed or badly fixed pitch marks

In doing the research for this post I realised something that I wasn’t aware of

The way I have been fixing pitch marks for over 30 years – hasn’t been ideal

Turns out that I should have been doing it slightly differently according to something I read

That was put out by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America

Like most golfers around the world I have always thought the best way to fix the pitch mark

Was to get the tool down underneath the crater that has been made in the green

And lever the crater back up to the surface to ‘fix the pitch mark’

Well ok, I admit it I have never used a ‘tool’ as such – I always used a wooden tee

So point number one is that I should have been using a thing called

A ‘pitch mark repair tool’ which is also known as a ‘ball mark repair tool’ in some places

Oddly enough it can also be referred to as a ‘divot repair tool’ by some golfers

Even though it’s not actually any use when repairing a divot on the fairway

So if you hear the name ‘divot repair tool’ just remember it’s actually a ‘pitch mark repair tool’

Regardless of the name used this small tool should be familiar to every golfer

pitch mark repair

As it’s a simple tool that has two prongs on the end of a piece of metal or hard plastic that

Is an essential item that every golfer should have in their golf bag, cart or pocket

The second point that I wanted to talk about is the big one

According to the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America

“The first step in repairing ball marks is to take your ball mark repair tool and insert the prongs into the turf at the edge of the depression.”

“Do NOT insert the prongs into the depression itself, but at the rim of the depression.”

“The next step is to push the edge of the ball mark toward the centre, using your ball mark repair tool in a gentle twisting motion”

Apparently it’s this part that golfers who incorrectly “repair” ball marks usually mess up

“As many golfers believe the way to “fix” a ball mark is to insert the tool at an angle, so the prongs are beneath the centre of the crater, and then to use the tool as a lever to push the bottom of the ball mark back up even with the surface.”

I have to put my hand up here and admit that’s what I was shown when I was younger

And is what I have done for a very long time, however if you do that

“Pushing the bottom of the crater upwards – tears the roots and kills the grass”

Which is apparently a bad thing according to the GCSAA

What needs to be done to complete the pitch mark repair correctly is to

“Use your pitch mark repair tool to work around the rim of the crater, pushing the grass at the edge toward the centre of the depression. One way to imagine this is to picture reaching down with your thumb and forefinger on opposite sides of the ball mark and “pinching” those sides together.”

“Once you’ve worked around the rim of the ball mark with your repair tool, pushing the grass toward the centre”

Then there’s only one thing left to do

“Gently tamp down the repaired ball mark with your putter or foot to smooth the putting surface.”

Then get on with holing your putt!

And of course

Play well


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Why every golfer needs to fix their pitch marks on the green

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