How to properly repair a divot mark

Repairing ball marks is a huge help to the golf course, and the grounds team.

We spend as much time on repairing previous days ball marks as much as possible, but it is never enough time.

The rule of thumb should be to repair your ball mark and three others that you find on the green.

This not only helps us out, but ensures a true surface the next time you play.

Repairing those little depressions is very important. Equally important is doing it the right way.

Because while many golfers fail to repair ball marks, there are also many well-meaning golfers who do "repair" the pitch marks, only to do so incorrectly.

A ball mark can cause the grass in the depression to die, leaving not just a scar but also a pit in the putting surface that can knock well-struck putts offline.

Repairing a ball mark restores a smooth surface and helps keep the grass healthy. But "repairing" a ball mark incorrectly can actually cause more damage than not attempting to repair it at all, according to a study done at Kansas State University.

The KSU researchers, whose conclusions were reported on, found that incorrectly "repaired" ball marks take up to twice as long to heal as those that are properly repaired.

Here are the steps recommended by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America on how to properly repair divot holes on a green.

Step #1:   Take your ball mark repair tool and insert the prongs into the turf at the edge of the depression. Note: Do NOT insert the prongs into the depression itself, but at the rim of the depression.

Step #2:   The next step is to push the edge of the ball mark toward the center, using your ball mark repair tool in a "gentle twisting motion," in the words of the GCSAA.

This is the step where golfers who incorrectly "repair" ball marks usually mess up. Many golfers believe the way to "fix" a ball mark is to insert the tool at an angle, so the prongs are beneath the center 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. Do not do this! Pushing the bottom of the depression upward only tears the roots, and kills the grass.

Step #3:  Once you've worked around the rim of the ball mark with your repair tool, pushing the grass toward the center, there's only one thing left to do: Gently tamp down the repaired ball mark with your putter smooth the putting surface.


Ensure that fairway divots are filled with the sand that is provided on the cart, or replace the divot.  Do not use the sand provided in the cart on the tee, as we will come and fill these divots with a sand seed mix.

Spread the wear when driving the golf cart on the grass.  We put up the arrows so we do not have power carts by the greens, where ball lie is crucial.  The Ridge Course is notoriously bad for wear areas, this is due to the fescue lines.  We are limited to where we can enter and leave the fairway, which concentrates the wear areas.  So we should try and enter and exit in areas that wear is not noticeable.  These compacted areas are slow to come back and will always be a problem, unless we move to a "cartpath only" golf course.

Do not drive in fescue areas. Fescue is our native grass that grows long and turns brown.  These areas do not recover like our rough or fairway areas.  Fescue does not "bounce back" and will stay flat and not recover for the entire year.  Once we drive in the fescue once, those tire marks will be there for months, and you will be staring at them regretting the decision to drive there.

We thank everyone who helps us keep our award-winning courses in the best shape they can be and hope that you found this information useful.  If you have any questions on our maintenance procedures, please feel free to email us at


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