Golfers love golfers who repair golf ball marks. Ball marks on golf courses may seem like minor blemishes on the pristine greens, but their impact runs deeper than the surface.

Repairing ball marks on a golf course green is important to maintain the smooth surface and health of the putting green for all players. There is a right way for golfers to pitch in and maintain healthy greens after a golf ball mark. It’s fast and easy with a simple tool sold at most golf courses. Here we share the best way to properly repair ball marks on the green quickly so you can move on to your next hole.

Prep to Repair Golf Ball Marks

Turf on the green with golf ball mark that is not yet repaired.

Locate the Ball Mark & access the damage.

After a ball lands on the golf green and makes a dent or depression, identify the location of the ball mark.

It’s crucial to repair it as soon as possible to prevent damage to the grass.

Evaluate the depth of the ball mark. If the turf has been displaced, it needs to be gently pushed back into place.

If it’s a depression, proceed with the following steps.

tools to repair golf ball marks on the green

Gather Tools

You’ll need a ball mark repair tool, which is a small tool designed specifically for fixing ball marks.   This is often called a divot repair tool. Most golfers carry one with them on the course. If you don’t have one, you can ask your playing partner or purchase one at the pro shop on the course.  Some golf courses even offer a complimentary repair tool with a round of play. We prefer the repair tool with two prongs. A popular model is the switchblade style that conceals the prongs when not in use.

Steps to Repair Golf Ball Marks

hand holding repair tool at angle to the green

Approach from the Sides

Insert the ball mark repair tool into the ground at the edge of the depression.

The tool should be inserted at a 45-degree angle, with the prongs pointing towards the center of the depression.

hand holding tool is lifting the green at the edge of the ball mark

Lift, Push & Repeat from Different Angles

Gently push and stretch the surrounding turf from the edges of the depression toward the center, using the ball mark repair tool as a lever.

Be careful not to lift the soil too aggressively, as this can damage the roots of the grass.

If the depression remains after the first attempt, insert the tool at a different angle and repeat the lifting and pushing process. Working around the edge of the ball mark helps to evenly distribute the displaced soil.

Avoid twisting or lifting the turf harshly.

putter is covering the repaired golf ball mark

Smooth the Surface

After you’ve lifted and pushed the turf, use your putter or the flat side of the ball mark repair tool to gently smooth the surface of the repaired area.

This will help the grass recover more quickly and ensure a smooth putting surface.

green surface is after the repair golf ball mark

Tap it down – don’t compact.

Gently tap the area with your putter to level. DO NOT tamp it down hard. Tamping can compact the soil, impede grass growth and potentially create an uneven putting surface.

Final Steps to Repair Golf Ball Marks

golf ball mark awaiting repair

Fix Another

Now that you see how easy it is to fix a ball mark, you can repair another that a prior golfer didn’t see.   Often, the course superintendent will kindly ask if you make one, repair two.  While many courses have exceptional maintenance teams, nearly all courses ask golfers to assist in addressing ball marks as they occur, even if it’s from another player’s ball.  Grass heals faster if repairs happen soon after the ball mark is made.  High winds or hot weather can dry out the unrepaired ball marks if they are left for a long time. The best action is to make repairs the proper way and promptly.

Graphic of a Sun Smiling with sunglasses and golf clubs in a bag with text that says Sun's Out! Clubs Out!
(c) Michigan Golf Matrix, all rights reserved

Move On

Once you’ve properly repaired the ball mark, you can continue playing your round. Remember that repairing ball marks not only helps maintain the quality of the greens but also shows respect for the course and fellow golfers.  Since it doesn’t take very long to repair a ball mark to nearly original condition with a divot tool, it’s easy to maintain pace of play. 

Summary

Remember that repairing a ball mark correctly can significantly contribute to the health of the green. Unrepaired marks can lead to dead turf, brown spot, uneven surfaces, and other issues that affect the overall playability of the course.  At Michigan Golf Matrix, we feel this is often a reflection on the clientele and not on the management of a specific course.   We know golfers are looking to play more often and sharing in this easy repair task is one way to help courses minimize their maintenance expenses which ultimately impacts greens fees.   

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