It’s very frustrating when you are pitching, chipping, or putting on a green that resembles the surface of the moon and your ball is deflected away from your intended target, the hole. Fortunately, there’s something you can do to positively change that situation.
Repairing ball marks is a huge help to the golf course and the grounds team. 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 a well-struck putt offline. Repairing a ball mark restores a green’s smooth surface and helps keep the grass healthy. Incorrectly “repaired” ball marks can take up to twice as long to heal.
The steps on how to properly repair ball marks 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”.
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. 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, there’s only one important thing left to do; gently tamp down the repaired ball mark with your putter to smooth the putting surface.
Exemplary etiquette would be to repair your ball mark and two others you find on the green.
“*The ‘putting green’ is all ground of the hole being played that is specially prepared for putting or otherwise defined as such by the Committee. A ball is on the putting green when any part of it touches the putting green.”
*RULE 16-2. BALL OVERHANGING HOLE: “When any part of the ball overhangs the lip of the hole, the player is allowed enough time to reach the hole without unreasonable delay and an additional ten seconds to determine whether the ball is at rest. If by then the ball has not fallen into the hole, it is deemed to be at rest. If the ball subsequently falls into the hole, the player is deemed to have holed out with his last stroke, and must add a penalty stroke to his score for the hole; otherwise, there is no penalty under this Rule.”
*Rules of Golf January 2016