Golf Basics – Repairing a pitch mark

Fixing a Pitch Mark

Golf Basics - Repairing a Pitch Mark

Repairing a pitch mark on a green is one of the most effective ways to preserve the overall playing quality of a course. Here is how to do it properly.

Fixing a Pitch Mark

It takes only a few seconds to fix a pitch mark, yet many players fail to do it properly (and they are usually the ones who complain the most about bumpy greens).

Here is the correct process for repairing a pitch mark on a green:

Step 1: Have the right tool

A dedicated ball mark repair tool is the best item for the task, though you could also use a tee, small knife, key or anything relatively thin.

Step 2: Spot the Spot

After you hit your approach shot to the green, take note where the ball initially lands on the green. This can be different from where the ball comes to rest (after bouncing and rolling, etc). As you approach the green,  keep an eye on that spot.

Step 3: Push and Twist (DON'T lift)

Insert the ball repair tool into the outer edge of the mark, at a 45-degree angle. Gently work the turf back into place by pushing forward towards the crater, with a slight twisting motion.

Note: Do NOT attempt to lift the bottom of the crater back up – this will tear the roots of the grass.

Repeat the repair for the entire circumference of the pitch mark.

Step 4: Pat pat pat

Pat down the repaired area with your putter until the mark is as smooth and even as the surrounding surface.

Step 5: Fix another

Always aim to repair at least one or two more ball marks on the green. Again, it only takes a few seconds, but can make all the difference to the course.


  • Unrepaired ball marks can take weeks to heal (if at all)
  • Incorrectly “repaired” ball marks can take up to twice as long to heal as those that are properly repaired.
  • It isn’t just about etiquette. It’s our obligation to take care of the golf courses we play.

Repairing a Pitch Mark - USGA Video