As with most repairs, there is a correct and an incorrect, or less effective method to be used when repairing a ball mark.
Incorrect: Using the prongs as levers to push up the bottom of the depression.
Correct: Using the prongs to push grass at the edge of the depression toward the center.
When repairing a ball mark, simply use your repair tool to work around the rim of the crater, so to speak, pushing the grass at the edge toward the center of the depression. One way to envision this is to picture reaching down with your thumb and forefinger on opposite sides of the ball mark and “pinching” those sides together.
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 knock well-struck putts offline. Repairing a ball mark restores a smooth surface and helps keep the grass healthy. “Repairing” a ball mark incorrectly can actually cause more damage than not attempting to repair it at all, according to a study done at Kansas State University. Researchers, whose conclusions were reported on Cybergolf.com, found that incorrectly “repaired” ball marks take up to twice as long to heal as those that are properly repaired.
So a request to all golfers golfing the St. Eugene course – Let’s all start fixing our ball marks, and doing it the right way. And if you have a moment – if there isn’t another group of golfers behind you waiting for you to clear the green – fix one or two other ball marks, too, if you find more of them on the green.