Over the past few weeks, I have started off my day by heading directly to the 4th and 7th greens prior to any maintenance practices being conducted on these surfaces to monitor the recovery from the winter damage that has occurred. It's no secret that us turf managers are sensitive individuals when it comes to turf, we consider the property that we maintain as our livelihood and some would say that they have been known to have some pep talks or motivational words of wisdom for areas of concern. Therefore, you could understand my disappointment when I approached the 7th green this morning.
The golf balls in the above picture represent that amount of unfixed ball marks over the last few days. Well over a hundred balls were placed in imperfections created by approach shots into the green (see picture below). The sad thing is that the 7th green is not the only scenario on the entire course, as multiple greens are experiencing an increased amount of unrepaired ball marks this season.
It is important that everyone understands the ramifications of leaving a ball mark unattended. From an agronomic standpoint, ball marks alter root structure along with creating scars that occur following a mowing. The recovery process is greatly reduced when a ball mark is properly repaired. Unattended ball marks also greatly influence the playability of putting surfaces by effecting ball roll. I have included a short video from the USGA on the proper techniques in repairing a ball mark, please take the time to watch.
In closing, repairing a ball mark is all about respect and serves as the proper etiquette while playing the great game of golf. Hopefully over the past year, the efforts by the Greens department have shown what our putting surfaces are capable of, but the continued success has to be a joint effort between the golfers and maintenance practices. Please take the time to not only repair your ball marks but one or two more per green, remember....it's the little things that will help LVC strive in the future!