Course Etiquette

Course Etiquette  #2 -  Refraining from "Practicing" on Course

It's an extremely busy time on the course and I'm anxious to blog about a number of items such as:
  • The Annual Skokie Bird Walk (recap from May 17th.)
  • A Fairway/Bunker drainage project on #13.
  • Tee Extension Project completion at tees #10 & #17.
  • Re-establishing our Nursery Green & Fairway between holes #7 & #8. (Fourth time now - we've done a lot of expansion over the last several years!)
  • Ongoing winter injury repair (sodding many areas now)
  • New Staff : Assistants Jacob & Ryan
  • & several course etiquette topics.
I'll eventually get to all of these items (I hope to anyway!) but after seeing what I saw this morning, while traveling the course, I felt compelled (nice way of saying I was angry or perhaps very disappointed) to write this 2nd Course Etiquette.  It's really quite simple. The course should not be used as a substitute for the driving range, or stated another way, several balls should not be dropped and hit from the same location on the course creating several divots in one area. The photo below is what I saw first thing this morning.
  Please Do Not "Practice" on the Course!

Imagine if every member dropped 5 balls, took 5 divots, and didn't bother replacing them! The disappointing fact is that this seems to be happening more often. It's not the same person as I've seen at least three different members.
If you should happen to see this "practicing" taking place, please ask the player to stop or let me know. It's only proper course etiquette!

Course Etiquette #1
This is the first post in a series I'm planning regarding Course Etiquette. I want to start with the ever so important - Repairing Ball Marks.

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)
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