How to Repair the Ball Mark on the Putting Green

One of the first things every golfer learns to do, and probably the easiest to do is repair ball marks on the putting green. Ball mark, also known as pitch mark, is an indentation on the putting green caused when a long, high approach shot lands on the green. It is a little depression or crater made when the golf ball descends from the sky and impacts the putting surface. Repairing them is very important, equally important is doing it the right way. According to a study done by Kansas State University researchers, incorrect repair of ball mark can actually cause more damage than not attempting to repair it at all. The grass of the ball mark can take up to twice as long to heal as those that are properly repaired.



Repairing ball marks isn’t just a matter of golf etiquette but also an obligation of every player to help take care of the golf course. The ultimate goal is to restore the smooth surface and allow the turf to heal quickly. 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 blow a well-struck putt. Ball marks vary on their shape and severity. There are different types of ball marks you can find on the putting green. A simple ball mark can also be an indicator of a turf problem, how they are being managed or even how they are designed.

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Types of ball marks

  1. The Bruise
    1. most common on a firm green.
    2. Difficult to find but easy to repair
  2. The Dent
    1. a shallow depression left on the surface of the green
    2. found on relatively firm greens after a soft landing golf shot
    3. easier to find and relatively easy to repair
  3. The Skid Mark
    1. a chunk of grass torn from it.
    2. the worst type of ball mark.
    3. largest ball mark
    4. most difficult to repair and take the longest time to recover


There is no best tool to use for fixing it as long as it is done properly. Repair tools are usually single-pronged or dual-pronged.  You can use the tee, a knife or even a key as a ball mark repair tool. A divot tool is often used to repair ball mark which is double-pronged. Another tool that doesn’t take a lot of effort was invented recently. Level Best Ball Mark repair tool is designed to restore the original putting surface and is made of bulletproof construction (stainless steel teeth, machined aluminum parts, brass brushing). This can be used by the course crew, rangers, and marshals for those unrepaired ball marks left by the players who didn’t take the responsibility to do it on their own. It is the only tool that truly mimics the proper ball mark repair action properly and efficiently. The 4 stainless steel teeth close and lift and the plate flattens with simple compression fixing a ball mark in no time. But as said earlier repairing a ball mark is an obligation. So don’t let others repair your own ball mark or wait for the course staff to do it.

Follow the three easy steps when repairing a ball mark on the green:

  1. Insert the repair tool at the edge of the ball mark.
  2. Push the tool forward from the edge of the ball mark (into the soil behind the rear of the ball mark) to the center. Do this around the edges of the indentation.
  3. Tamp down the repaired area with your putter or foot so that the surface is even.

Additional tips to remember:

  1. Use a ball mark repair tool whenever possible.
  2. DO NOT insert the tool under the indented area and push up – a common mistake. Think of it as pushing turf in from the edges toward the center. Try not to tear the grass.
  3. Insert the ball mark repair tool at about a 45 degrees angle and gently pull the top of the tool toward the center.
  4. Gently pulling the surrounding turf in center until the indentation is filled in. This should be done three of four times. Anything more generally adds injury to the already damage turf.
  5. Pulling up to the center or the side will tear roots system, bring sand to the surface and results in brown spots, taking weeks for the surface to heal.
  6. Use your putter or your foot to gently tamp down the repaired area to make it smooth and level with the rest of the green.
  7. If the mark is close to the hole location use your putter since even spiky shoes can leave marks on the surface.
  8. Avoid prying actions that tear lie of roots that bring soil to the putting surface. This cause significant damage and greatly slows recovery.
  9. Some marks are so severe that the grass is literally torn from the green. In this case, small holes can be covered by carefully stretching the surrounding turf into the void. The damage may still be visible but the ball roll will be restored and the grass will eventually fill the void.
  10. Remember ball marks are often far away from the point where the ball lie so always check the front of the green for damage. The most courteous payers fix their own ball mark and at least one other.

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A good golfer leaves the putting green as if he or she have never been there. So repair your ball mark without haste. It is easy and will give you a good feeling after.