Our department has seen a unusually large uptick in unrepaired ball marks on greens this Fall. Today, I blew off every green on the course and counted every unrepaired mark. On average, there were 25 marks per green that were not repaired! (Some had as many as 40, some as little as 15).
So lets do some quick math: 25 marks X 18 greens = 450 unrepaired marks on the course daily
450 marks X 7 days/week = 3,150 unrepaired marks on the course weekly
WE CAN DO BETTER!
Every morning, our staff is spending a significant amount of time fixing marks. This, coupled with the fact that it’s darker later, and our staff is much smaller, is creating a situation where we are getting caught by golf, while mowing greens in the mornings, more than we should. Yes, it’s been incredibly wet over the past month +, which leads to deeper ball marks, but it has nothing to do with the fact of repairing them.
I always get the “I fix my mark, plus another”, and that is greatly appreciated! But there is obviously too many of you not fixing your ball marks. We’re puzzled as to why there is an uptick, but it’s a trend that we hope can be reversed quickly. We have always had a fantastic tradition of course care at Midland Hills, so please make sure your playing partners are doing their part. It’s no different than policing cart drivers who drive their carts where they should not, or not replacing divots – if no one says anything to help educate the importance, it continues on, and the playing conditions suffer, and it becomes the norm. It’s your course, and yours only, to uphold!
On a positive note, we have seen an uptick in properly repaired ball marks, which is fantastic. We would much rather have an unrepaired mark, than a mark that was repaired incorrectly. Unproperly repaired marks, turn into dirt and take weeks to heal. If you are pulling turf upward while fixing your marks, you are doing it incorrectly, and essentially doing more harm than good.
Below is a picture of a properly repaired mark, which will be fully healed in just a few days.
Below is a picture of an improperly repaired mark, which will take several weeks to heal, and most likely, will fill with Poa Annua. Whomever repaired this mark, pulled the turf upward, ripping the roots and killing the middle of the ball mark.
Now that the sun is lower in the sky, there is more shade, combined with shorter days and cooler temperatures, healing times are extended because of a slower plant metabolisms. All the more importance of fixing marks properly this time of year. We are also starting our shift, mowing in darkness, which makes it difficult for our staff to find them. Don’t have a ball mark repair tool? You don’t need one! Nothing works better than a tee, if used correctly.
Below is a great link from the USGA on how to repair your marks properly.
Please help us out, and repair any ball mark you encounter during your round. You, and the groups behind you, will have smoother, healthier surfaces to play on!