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How To Properly Repair Ball Marks

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Rut row. Though I've always repaired my ball marks, and usually several others, evidently I've been doing it wrong all along. I push the sides in and up and push the back flap forward and tamp down. And if I find a little piece of turf has come out (often does), I put it back in the indent where it appears to have come from. I would have thought it would work as it resembles how sod is laid - where all the roots are "broken?"

I tried doing it the right way as described in the video, and couldn't seem to close the gap. But my ball marks are almost always MUCH larger and deeper than the one shown in the video. Having read this again this morning, I will try to do it right - guess I'll have to push harder from further away from the indentation?

Edited by Midpack

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30 minutes ago, Midpack said:

Rut row. Though I've always repaired my ball marks, and usually several others, evidently I've been doing it wrong all along. I push the sides in and up and push the back flap forward and tamp down. And if I find a little piece of turf has come out (often does), I put it back in the indent where it appears to have come from. I would have thought it would work as it resembles how sod is laid - where all the roots are "broken?"

I tried doing it the right way as described in the video, and couldn't seem to close the gap. But my ball marks are almost always MUCH larger and deeper than the one shown in the video. Having read this again this morning, I will try to do it right - guess I'll have to push harder from further away from the indentation?

This is partly why I did this as well. Now I take that flap out and it takes me a full minute to repair the marks.

On a recent round, my partners told me to just stuff the flap back in and I’d be done in less than half the time. The more greens I hit the more this amount of time feels like an intrusion on my partners’ golf. :-P

 

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Just now, Lihu said:

This is partly why I did this as well. Now I take that flap out and it takes me a full minute to repair the marks.

On a recent round, my partners told me to just stuff the flap back in and I’d be done in less than half the time. The more greens I hit the more this amount of time feels like an intrusion on my partners’ golf. :-P

 

A minute?  Do you snap on surgical gloves and wear a magnifier headset?  What could possibly take a minute?

Edited by inthecup

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51 minutes ago, Midpack said:

Rut row. Though I've always repaired my ball marks, and usually several others, evidently I've been doing it wrong all along. I push the sides in and up and push the back flap forward and tamp down. And if I find a little piece of turf has come out (often does), I put it back in the indent where it appears to have come from. I would have thought it would work as it resembles how sod is laid - where all the roots are "broken?"

Roots aren't broken when they lay sod.

51 minutes ago, Midpack said:

I tried doing it the right way as described in the video, and couldn't seem to close the gap. But my ball marks are almost always MUCH larger and deeper than the one shown in the video. Having read this again this morning, I will try to do it right - guess I'll have to push harder from further away from the indentation?

Yes, start farther way, pull a bit more of the grass toward the center from all sides.

11 minutes ago, inthecup said:

A minute?  Do you snap on surgical gloves and wear a magnifier headset?  What could possibly take a minute?

Seriously, proper ball mark repair takes me about 10 seconds, even on the craters you can get when it's soft.

You're not always going to get it perfect, but you can still repair it as best as possible and trust that it'll heal most quickly that way. Perfect is not always attainable. Just like a guy who gets a huge cut on his arm, it's not perfect right away - you see stitches, swelling, etc. - but it'll heal the most quickly if fixed properly.

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33 minutes ago, inthecup said:

A minute?  Do you snap on surgical gloves and wear a magnifier headset?  What could possibly take a minute?

I'm going by the video where the "after" repair looks really good. So I end up carefully moving the grass by the roots until it completely covers the area then to get rid of the micro-aeration holes I need to gently tap. Takes me a minute on average.

I had one terrible one where my ball popped out back about 8 feet from a 7i approach shot, that took me almost double the time to make it look "picture perfect". The hole was almost the depth of the ball. I even had to bring in some "soil" from near the fringe to fill it in first hoping that the dirt didn't have seeds from another type of grass that would then become a "weed".

 

19 minutes ago, iacas said:

You're not always going to get it perfect, but you can still repair it as best as possible and trust that it'll heal most quickly that way. Perfect is not always attainable. Just like a guy who gets a huge cut on his arm, it's not perfect right away - you see stitches, swelling, etc. - but it'll heal the most quickly if fixed properly.

Yeah, I don't, but not for not trying hard enough.

When I made 10 greens at my local par 3, I felt like I spent all my time repairing pitch marks and was wondering if I should aim off the green near the flag or not so I wouldn't need to repair yet another mark. What would really help is if they do another video with realistically big craters and show us what is good enough for an "after" repair.

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Just now, Lihu said:

 

I had one terrible one where my ball popped out back about 8 feet from a 7i approach shot, that took me almost double the time to make it look "picture perfect". The hole was almost the depth . I even had to bring in some "soil" from near the fringe to fill it in first hoping that the dirt didn't have seeds from another type of grass that would then become a "weed".

 

I can hear the beep beep beep of the construction equipment being backed in to fill the hole.  "Bringing in soil" is over the top.

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The USGA Video touches on the more severe ball mark repair. Repairing a big ball mark might take 4 seconds longer, and there may still be a small scar when you are done. Its nearly impossible to fix a big ball mark perfectly, but do your best and it will eventually heal. It should not take anywhere near 60 seconds to fix one.

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2 hours ago, inthecup said:

I can hear the beep beep beep of the construction equipment being backed in to fill the hole.  "Bringing in soil" is over the top.

:-D, yeah, my partners thought the same thing until one of them made a putt over my repair.

 

1 hour ago, NM Golf said:

The USGA Video touches on the more severe ball mark repair. Repairing a big ball mark might take 4 seconds longer, and there may still be a small scar when you are done. Its nearly impossible to fix a big ball mark perfectly, but do your best and it will eventually heal. It should not take anywhere near 60 seconds to fix one.

It might not actually be 60 seconds, but it feels like 5 minutes.

Thanks for the link. . .

Edited by Lihu

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11 minutes ago, Lihu said:

It might not actually be 60 seconds, but it feels like 5 minutes.

Thanks for the link. . .

If it takes you over 15 seconds, you're probably doing it wrong.

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10 minutes ago, iacas said:

If it takes you over 15 seconds, you're probably doing it wrong.

Hopefully not doing more damage. . .

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4 hours ago, iacas said:

Roots aren't broken when they lay sod.

OK. Then I assume we’re all wasting our time replacing divots on fairways since the roots are broken. At best it makes a flat spot for the next player until the divot grass dies.

Edited by Midpack

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6 minutes ago, Midpack said:

OK. Then I assume we’re all wasting our time replacing divots on fairways since the roots are broken. At best it makes a flat spot for the next player until the divot grass dies.

That's pretty much true. The clump of grass and dirt from your wedge won't reattach and grow back. The next time the mowers go over it it'll be smithereens.

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Maybe I missed it but I’d like to get this right - I didn’t see what to do with the still connected  “back flap” - throw it away too like any little piece of loose turf? 

As others have noted, it’s too bad the video showed such a minor ball mark. 9 out of 10 of my ball marks look much worse unless it’s just a 30 yd chip. I almost always play early morning when greens are usually softer?

Edited by Midpack

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48 minutes ago, Midpack said:

Maybe I missed it but I’d like to get this right - I didn’t see what to do with the still connected  “back flap” - throw it away too like any little piece of loose turf? 

Chuck it. It's not gonna reattach.

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1 hour ago, Midpack said:

OK. Then I assume we’re all wasting our time replacing divots on fairways since the roots are broken. At best it makes a flat spot for the next player until the divot grass dies.

Right. The mower takes those away, basically, unless they're really deep divots, which can continue to grow a little where it's thicker.

1 hour ago, Midpack said:

Maybe I missed it but I’d like to get this right - I didn’t see what to do with the still connected  “back flap” - throw it away too like any little piece of loose turf?

Yeah, you missed it - you throw it away. It won't do anything but actually impede repair/healing.

1 hour ago, Midpack said:

As others have noted, it’s too bad the video showed such a minor ball mark. 9 out of 10 of my ball marks look much worse unless it’s just a 30 yd chip. I almost always play early morning when greens are usually softer?

You still use the same technique.

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1 hour ago, Midpack said:

Maybe I missed it but I’d like to get this right - I didn’t see what to do with the still connected  “back flap” - throw it away too like any little piece of loose turf? 

As others have noted, it’s too bad the video showed such a minor ball mark. 9 out of 10 of my ball marks look much worse unless it’s just a 30 yd chip. I almost always play early morning when greens are usually softer?

I've only done this about 40 times since I was told what to do the correct way, but speed is not essential. I'm still learning how to do it. I'll probably be comfortable with it when I visit the greens numerous times and don't see any damage. My estimate of 60 seconds might be a bit longer than I think. I feel like it's minutes rather than seconds because people are waiting on me. As far as I know, non of the course ambassadors have complained about excessive ball mark fixing, so I think I'm doing it the correct way? I'll ask this evening when I talk to a couple of them at my long game clinic, because the 2"+ region that I "modify" the green would be pretty noticeable to the ambassadors as they inspect the greens and if it all died because of me. . . 

Edited by Lihu

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Still won’t take me more than 5-10 seconds per. I was pushing in from the sides, back and front, but I was also unfolding and laying the back flap down and putting missing turf back in when there was any. Sometimes lifting the back a little, but not popping it up as shown in some other vids.

But I’ll rip off the back flap and throw it away with any loose turf, and just use a larger area and push more from the back, sides and front until the gap is closed. Might get a better tool too, I’ve always used freebies.

I’ll probably continue to replace fairway divots when convenient/straightforward - but it’s funny to learn it’s useless after being told to replace divots (and watching tour pros caddies do it) for decades... 

Edited by Midpack

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This is how I’ve always fixed ball marks, showing an example that’s more like ball marks I see most often (starts at 1:10 if you want to skip the divot repair). 

However I have stopped trying to put loose turf back in the mark as a result of this thread.

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