The Correct Way to Repair a Ball Mark

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If you want to anger the Golf Gods and greenskeepers at the golf course, don’t fix your ball mark. 

You can get positive bounces and have karma work in your favor by repairing your ball marks every time. In fact, don’t just repair your ball mark, repair at least one more too because unfortunately, too many golfers don’t repair ball marks.

Fixing ball marks isn’t just about good karma though, it’s one of the most important rules of golf. When you hit a shot into the green and it leaves a mark, it’s up to you to fix it. It’s also important to fix your mark correctly.

Continue reading to learn about the art and technique of repairing a ball mark.

How to Fix a Golf Ball Mark

First off, why does it matter if you don’t repair your ball mark? 

Unfixed ball marks, also known by pitch marks, can cause serious damage to greens on golf courses. It can take several weeks for the greens to heal, and the putting surface may be damaged. 

This not only looks bad visually, but also makes it difficult to hit putts on green. As I’m sure you know, there’s nothing worse than seeing well struck putts drift offline from hitting an old mark. Golf is a hard enough sport, don’t make it harder by not fixing your approach shot!

Second, it’s just the right thing to do and part of the rules of golf. It’s one of the most common requests from superintendents as it helps the golf course bounce back quickly.

It’s even more important on holes where players hit wedges as the green will get plenty of wear and tear. A properly repaired mark can keep the grass healthy and provide a smooth surface that is free of divots.

Finally, I think there’s some karma involved too. You get points from the Golf Gods if you fix others mistakes. We need all the help possible in this crazy game. 

Now, let’s get into how some players fix the ball mark incorrectly and how to properly repair divot holes.


How to use a ball mark repair tool

Whats the best way to repair a green ball mark? 

It’s pretty simple as long as you have a divot repair tool and can even use a golf tee as well. I think it’s easier and faster to use a divot repair tool and suggest always carrying one in your tee pocket. This tool is made from hard plastic or another material and can be used to fix minor depressions.

Grab your repair tool, and insert the prongs Behind the ball mark. Pull the top towards the mark. You don’t want to pull up from the bottom as it won’t fix the indentation as well.  

It is important to pull up from the back of your mark. Without twisting it. It can cause damage beneath the greens surface if you twist the tool too far. As you work around the turf, a gentle twisting motion can be acceptable.

Then, gently tap the entire mark with the putter. This will smoothen the mark and make it easier to putter. You should also fix any other unrepaired marks on the ball, as many golfers forget to do so.

Here’s a helpful Video tutorial on YouTube by the USGA

Different types of divot tools

Similar to golf clubs, there are many options when it comes to purchasing a divot instrument. Some are foldable while others have a magnetic ball mark. Others might feature your favorite team logo. 

Here are some of the best picks for divot tools I’ve found:

  • Callaway 4 in 1 golf divot repair toolThis highly rated tool can repair a pitch mark as well as fix it. It can also be used to fix marks on the green. 
  • Foldable All Metal Divot ToolThis foldable divot instrument is also popular from Mile High Life Store. This collapsible, pocket-friendly divot tool is only $10. Just press the button to fold the fixer. You also have 10+ color options. 

Bonus Tip: Fill your Divots

While fixing a ball mark restores the green, don’t forget about the tee boxes and fairway too. Fill your divots with either the original divot or the sand provided to repair the grass faster. Plus, there’s nothing worse than getting stuck in a divot!

This is a crucial etiquette tip that will help you get some karma points from the Golf Gods. Click here to view the 13 rules for golf etiquette.

FAQs on Fixing Pitch Marks 

Continue scrolling to our FAQs if you have any questions about fixing golf ball marks or other best practices on the course. 

How long does it take for a mark on a golf ball to heal?

If the steps are followed correctly, a golfer can repair a ball marker in 3-4 days. It can take 7-10 business days if you do it wrong or fail to fix it properly. Other factors include the softness and frequency of mowing, weather, or how wet the green. 

How can you fix a golf ball mark without damaging it? 

It is a bad idea to start in the middle of a repair job for ball marks. Instead, you should work around the pitch mark by starting behind it. 

Another mistake is pulling the ground up or twisting too much. This can cause more damage. Use a divot or golf tee to move towards the center.

How do pros repair pitch marks? 

Pros can repair ball marks the same way as us, or have their caddy do so. Professional golfers usually carry a divot tool (usually because of superstitious reasons) and fix their marks with a club. 

Can you repair a pitch mark in your line? 

Yes, pitch marks can be repaired on your line or anywhere else on the greens. To repair and fix the depression properly, push the edge of your ball mark towards the center.

Can a caddy fix a mark on a ball? 

Yes, a caddy is able to fix a ball mark on greens. 

According to the USGA this is covered under Rule 14.1b, “The player’s caddie is allowed to mark and lift the player’s ball on the putting green any time the player is allowed to do so, without needing authorization.”

Caddies can also lift, mark, and clean a player’s ball on a putting green. However, if the caddy picks the ball up, they must also replace it. 

Since they aren’t putting, they tend to get several unfixed marks to ensure the greens bounce back faster. Caddies can also replace divots and help read greens.

Find out more about caddying Click here to view our full guide

Are there any ways to fix spike marks on greens? 

You can correct spikes marks that could interfere with your line thanks to the most recent rules update. This was not possible until 2020, but it is a much-needed rule change. Although not all golfers wear traditional spikes, many do. They can chew up greens and cause problems with your putt.

Can someone else fix your ball marks?

Yes, it can happen in amateur golf tournaments.

In tournaments, I might hit a shot but the pitch mark is in the line of another player. While I could fix it myself, I often ask my playing partners if they would prefer to do it.

This makes sure I don’t possibly step in his line and also guarantees it’s their issue if their putts hits the mark. 

Final Thoughts on the Ball Marks 

Your ball marks and other green marks must be repaired. Don’t forget, a repaired ball mark heals in 48 hours… while one that isn’t fixed will leave not just a scar but take up to two weeks to heal properly.

This will not only bring good karma into the world, but it will also make other golfers happy. Fixing pitch marks is basically “paying it forward” for other golfers behind you to putt on great greens.

Karma aside, it’s one of the most important rules of golf. Alongside yelling “FORE”, adding sand to your divots, and not talking when other players are hitting. 

Fixing your mark is even more important when the greens are soft and your mark might be in a fellow player’s line. To keep the greens moving smoothly, follow the steps below.

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