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Etiquette On Greens & In Bunkers
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Etiquette On Greens & In Bunkers

One of the most frustrating things for green keepers everywhere is to deal with the damage caused to the surface of a green by golf pitch marks. Well, actually, it isn’t the damage that’s frustrating. The damage is inevitable. What’s frustrating is when golfers are far too lazy to repair those golf pitch marks resulting in damage to the greens and impacting on the smoothness of the putting surface. This is not rocket science, but good golf etiquette. All golfers have to do is bend over and stick your pitchfork in the ground a few times, then tap the mound down with the bottom of your golf putter. If you do not have a pitchfork, a golf tee more than adequately repairs the damage done. It really isn’t that tiring!

A pitch mark only takes a few seconds to fix correctly however, a pitch mark repaired incorrectly takes over 3 weeks to heal. Please study the diagrams on how to correctly repair pitch marks. Correct repair will help protect the grass root system and benefit all members and visitors to the course.The long and short of it is this:

  1.  An un-repaired golf pitch mark damages the greens mowers – which are expensive pieces of equipment, and
  2.  An un-repaired golf pitch mark leaves ugly dead spots on the green – and the greens are expensive to maintain.
  3.  An un-repaired golf pitch mark results in golf putts not running smooth due to bumpy putting surfaces caused by the indentation left by golf shots.

How to Repair a Pitch Mark on a Green

Correct Method

  • Discard the loose piece of turf taken out by the ball
  • Insert the pitch mark repairer tool just outside of the back of the pitch mark
  • Lever the turf towards the centre of the pitch mark
  • Repeat this motion from all sides of the pitch mark

Gently tap the repaired area with your putter. This action stretches undamaged turf over the pitch mark, providing instant recovery

via the golf course superintendents association of america

Incorrect Method

  • DO NOT replace the loose piece of turf taken out by the ball. It will die and delay the healing process.
  • DO NOT pry up the centre of the depression with the pitch mark repairer as it exposes the soil and will delay the healing process
  • DO NOT insert the pitch mark repairer and twist it. This only breaks more turf loose.

Correct Bunker Etiquette

  1. Locate the lowest spot around the edge of the bunker that is convenient to your ball. This will be your entry and exit point. Identifying this spot keeps you from walking down a steep facing (possibly damaging the turf), stepping off a higher rim (leaving deeper footprints), or having to walk a longer distance which would require raking a greater area of sand.
  2. Once you’ve identified the most convenient low spot from which to enter and exit … enter! Notice that the man in the picture is carrying the rake into the bunker with him. Contrary to what some golfers believe, it is not only within the rules to take a rake into the bunker with you, it is advisable to do so because it speeds up the process.
  3. Play the shot. Notice that the man in the picture has dropped the rake directly behind the area where he has taken his stance. You should drop the rake at a convenient spot, within reaching distance. Otherwise, in retrieving the rake, you’ll just add more area of sand that needs to be tended.
  4. Begin raking over the signs of play from the sand – the area where your club made contact with the sand, and your footprints. Pull the tines of the rake toward you as you begin moving back to the rim of the bunker. But be careful not to pull too much sand toward you. The idea is to restore an even surface to the sand without displacing too much sand. If you are pulling too much sand toward you, try pushing the tines outward a few times, too. All the while, you should be progressing back to the edge of the bunker.
  5. To complete the raking, step out of the bunker and make your final few passes over the sand with the rake. Unless otherwise instructed at the golf course (check the scorecard and any bulletin boards inside the clubhouse), replace the rake outside the bunker parallel to the line of play.
  6. When you are finished, the sand’s surface should be evened out, with no signs of divots or footprints, and no excess sand having been pulled toward the bunker’s edge. There will be little furrows left from the tines of the rake.