Ball marks are a part of golf, but there is an easy solution to ensure they don’t cause bumpy conditions, scalping and an unsightly appearance – fixing them properly. Unfortunately, unrepaired or improperly repaired ball marks have been a part of golf for centuries and it’s likely to always be an issue to some extent. Maintenance teams often fix unrepaired ball marks prior to mowing the green, but they can’t get all of them. When ball mark issues arise, there is a simple trick that can be used to help mask the issues.
During the U.S. Senior Open at Saucon Valley Country Club, the maintenance staff used multicolored sand to help mask the ball mark scars, smooth the surface and promote turf recovery. In the past, they used green sand to fill and smooth ball marks, but that seemed to make them stand out even more. To make the repaired ball marks blend in better with the turf surface, the maintenance team switched from a green sand to a mixture of different-colored sands. The mixture includes six different colors of sand: black, yellow, teak, chocolate, green and blue. The sands are purchased separately and mixed at different proportions to match the color of the putting greens, which changes throughout the year. The sand mixture also includes creeping bentgrass seed to help promote turf recovery. Smoothing each ball mark is made easy by using 12-ounce condiment bottles that are filled with the multicolored sand mixture.
Ball mark issues don’t seem to be going away unfortunately, so this turf tip is something worth considering if you’re looking for ways to mask their issues. Let’s not forget that golfers still need to do their part by remembering to repair their ball mark.
Northeast Region Agronomists:
Adam Moeller, director, Green Section Education – firstname.lastname@example.org
Darin Bevard, senior director, Championship Agronomy – email@example.com
Elliott L. Dowling, senior consulting agronomist – firstname.lastname@example.org
John Daniels, agronomist – email@example.com
Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service
Contact the Green Section Staff