Grass Clippings

In the last few weeks of reopening, the course has been very busy with Members dusting off the clubs and getting back into the swing of things. It is great to see the membership enjoying the facilities but there is a consequence of the high amount of play that we have witnessed. 

Pitch mark and divot wear is increasing on the surfaces and as we have experienced a very cold spring so far, there is little or no growth from the grass plant which will assist the surfaces to repair naturally.  As players, there can be little else that upsets the majority of members more than a good putt being affected by someone else’s pitch marks. Which is why golfing etiquette is so important at any time of the year. 

Pitch mark damage correctly repaired within 10 minutes will likely recover within 24-36hrs, whereas one left for 24hrs will likely not recover for weeks. This is fact, and has been supported by research conducted by the United States Golf Association in conjunction with Penn State University Turf Grass Unit.  The take home message is your golf etiquette affects everyone’s game and potentially even your next round. The greenkeeping staff will complete a course inspection each and every day, before play and as well as bunker preparation, dew removal and greens cutting they will quickly try to repair pitch marks around the vicinity of the pin. If they did try and repair each and every mark on the green, then the start time for golf would probably be after 10am every day to account for the  few greenkeepers trying to repair the damage created by the many. So the plea is to be considerate to your playing partners and others who use the course and repair your pitch mark or a mark which you may doubt is yours but may possibly be the one you missed sight of.

 Rule 16-1c Repair Of Hole Plugs, Ball Marks And Other Damage

The player may repair an old hole plug or damage to the putting green caused by the impact of a ball, whether or not the player’s ball lies on the putting green. If the ball is moved in the process of such repair, it shall be replaced, without penalty, Any other damage to the putting green shall not be repaired if it might assist the player in their subsequent play of the hole.

The Incorrect Way

If you repair a pitch mark badly it can actually do a lot more harm than if you had just left it alone, so it’s essential you know how to do it correctly. It’s not just for the sake of the greens either. 

  1.   Do not replace the loose piece of turf taken out by the ball. It will die and delay the healing process.
  2.   Don’t try and pry up the centre of the depression with the pitch mark repairer as it exposes the soil and will delay the healing process
  3.   Do not insert the pitch mark repairer and twist it. This only breaks more turf loose

The Correct Way

Successfully repaired pitch marks, however, can heal in half the time of one that’s been given a half-hearted once over, and will look more like the images below.

  1. Discard the loose piece of turf taken out by the ball
  2. Insert the pitchmark repairer tool just outside of the back of the pitchmark
  3. Lever the turf towards the centre of the pitchmark
  4. Repeat this motion from all sides of the pitchmark
  5. Gently tap the repaired area with your putter. This action stretches undamaged turf over the pitchmark, providing instant recovery.


Peter Bradburn, Course and Grounds Manager