Ball marks, those indentations caused when a ball lands sharply on a green, softened by rain or high humidity, have been ruining good putts since the days of Old Tom Morris. Unrepaired ball marks take two to three weeks to properly heal, leaving behind unsightly, uneven putting surfaces. On the other hand, a repaired ball mark only takes half that time to heal.
Beginner or pro, it is your responsibility as a golfer to fix your own marks. If you're truly a steward of the game, you'll fix any others you see while your partners are putting. There's really not much to it, but there are a few guidelines you should follow when making these repairs.
Four Steps to Properly Repairing a Ball Mark
1.Select a pronged ball mark repair tool, pocket knife, or tee.
2.Insert it at the edges of the mark--not the middle of the depression.
3. Bring the edges together with a gentle twisting motion, but don't lift the center.
Try not to tear the grass.
4. Smooth the surface with your putter by lightly tamping.
You're done when it's a surface you would want to putt over!
If we all do our part and repair ball marks as soon as we make them, they'll heal quickly, the greens will look better and, more importantly, the surfaces will be smoother and give you a better chance at dropping that next putt!
Photos and portions of text in this post courtesy of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA)