As a new season begins and the hours of daylight continue to increase, this inevitably leads to more pitchmarks being left on the greens.
Besides being aesthetically displeasing, from a golfing perspective, pitchmarks can affect ball roll and cause a player’s putt to bobble and deviate offline. A recent statistic shows that on average, a golfer will make 8 pitchmarks during a round of golf. If 130 rounds are played per day, that’s over 1,000 pitchmarks per week; no surprise then that it can be difficult to hole a putt!
It’s essential that all players are diligent in their repair of pitchmarks on greens. A correctly repaired pitchmark will recover in 24 hours. A pitchmark not repaired and left unattended for two hours will take up to two months to recover. Unrepaired pitchmarks also foster disease and infections in the green.
When it comes to repairing pitchmarks there is a right way to repair that really aids their recovery. Simply, you should take your ball mark repair tool and insert the prongs into the turf at the edge of the depression. Do NOT insert the prongs into the depression itself, but at the rim of the depression. Then push the edge of the ball mark toward the centre, using your ball mark repair tool in a gentle twisting motion. Do not insert and attempt to push up the depression as this only leads to tearing the root and killing the grass. (See diagram)
Today, for the second time this year, the process of sand injection was carried out on the greens. This intensive process aerates and scarifies the turf, whilst tearing in to the organic matter content, removing a large percentage of thatch. This is then back filled with kiln dried sand and seed. The machines run in a different direction from the first time so as not to remove what was injected previously.
Problems Caused by Excessive Thatch
- Reduction in air order exchange
- Reduced water infiltration
- Poor seed germination
- Severe dry patch
- Inability to cope with drought and high temperatures
- Increased disease and insect problems
- Soft spongy playing surfaces
- Shallow rooting system
Hence the need for thatch removal!
Sand injection using the Graden Contour machine impacts more surface area than other processes, disrupts ball roll less and can instantly improve the firmness of the surface whilst at the same time removing far more biomass and thatch than standard coring or tinning.
We were pleased with the results from earlier in the year and we are hoping the results will be equally as good on this occasion with the added bonus of a speedier recovery. Generally, dependant on weather, full recovery can be achieved in 7-10 days. Playing of the greens however can resume immediately after the process is complete.
Let's take a look how to properly repair a pitch mark.
Repairing those little depressions is very important. Equally important is doing it the right way. While unfortunately many golfers fail to repair ballmarks, there are also many well-meaning golfers who do repair the pitch marks, only to do so incorrectly.
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. But "repairing" a ball mark incorrectly can actually cause more damage than good. The biggest mistake it lifting up on the soil and grass which tears the roots and kills more of the grass around the mark. Incorrectly "repaired" ball marks take up to twice as long to heal as those that are properly repaired.
So lets all start fixing our ball marks, and doing it the right way. And if you have a moment - while you are waiting for others in your group to putt - fix one or two other ball marks too.
Repairing pitch marks isn't just important for the health of the greens, and for smooth-rolling putts; it isn't just a matter of golf etiquette, it is our obligation to help take care of the golf courses we play. And repairing ball marks is a big part of that obligation to the game.