how to repair a pitch mark

Saving the Greens: How to Repair a Pitch Mark

Last Updated on October 19, 2023

Repairing pitch marks correctly and consistently can make a huge difference in the overall condition of our greens. In this article, I’ll be discussing exactly how to repair a pitch mark like an expert! Whether you’re new to golf or have been playing for years, these tips will help ensure that your next round is played on pristine turf. So read on and learn the proper way to repair those pesky divots!

Causes of Pitch Marks

Pitch marks are divots that occur when a golf ball strikes the turf and causes damage to it. They can be caused by a variety of factors, such as hard ground conditions or aeration holes. In some cases, they may even be created due to improper use of clubs during ball-strike. Regardless of how pitch marks form, it is important for any golf course superintendent to understand why they happen so they can take steps to minimise their occurrence.

Tools Needed

Now that you know the causes of pitch marks, it’s time to learn about what tools are necessary for repairing them. The most important tool when fixing a pitch mark is the sand-filling device. This device helps fill in any divots and smooths out the ground around them with minimal turf replacement needed. Other helpful items include a flathead screwdriver, sod cutter, and rake or brush. These extra pieces can help remove debris from the area while also helping to level it off before filling in with sand.

Preparing the Green

Before repairing a pitch mark, it’s important to have the green prepared for repair. This will ensure that you are able to make an effective and lasting repair. As a golf course superintendent, here are some tips on preparing the green:

  • Mow the area around the pitch mark at 1/4 inch below your normal height of cut. This will help remove excess grass from the affected area.
  • Trim any overhanging blades of grass with a pair of scissors or shears. This helps provide a clean surface for patching material to adhere properly.
  • Rake away debris such as stones, leaves and clippings around the pitch mark, so they do not interfere with the repair process.
  • Use a brush or hand-held groomer to lightly loosen up the soil in the areas where there is compaction due to aeration tines or spikes from players’ shoes during play.
  • Aerate if needed. This will help air and water penetrate deeper into the soil profile, which aids in healthy root growth and turf recovery after a repair has been made.

Once these steps have been taken, you’re ready to move forward with fixing your pitch marks! The key is taking care when prepping the green so that your repairs last longer and look better than before.

Damaging Surrounding Grass

a long green on a golf course

Now that the green is prepared, it’s important to take precautions while repairing a pitch mark so as not to damage the surrounding turf. It is essential to avoid further damaging the grass and its roots in the process of fixing a pitch mark. To do this, you must use specialised tools like a divot repair tool or an iron wedge specifically designed for repairing turf. You should also fill the hole with sand or top dress material before placing any weight on it, as this will help prevent grass from being pulled up when attempting to flatten out the surface.

It is imperative to protect the grassroots at all times by using gentle pressure when refilling the pitch mark and then lightly brushing over it with a brush or drag mat. Doing so will reduce turf damage and keep the playing surface even. When finished, be sure to replace any displaced grass around the edges of the repaired area. This will ensure healthy growth during regrowth and promote overall quality playability on your course.

Making the Repair

Making the repair is an essential step in green preparation. Pitch marks can be repaired using a variety of techniques, so it’s important for golf course superintendents to have some knowledge about them. To start off with, turf replacement may be necessary if the pitch mark is wide enough to cause damage to the surrounding grass. After that, soil compaction and sand filling are both great methods for repairing small or shallow divots. When it comes time for green preparation, these repairs should be checked over once more – any areas where there has been noticeable wear and tear need special attention.

Compacting the Soil

Compacting the soil is a key step in repairing a pitch mark. The goal of this compaction technique is to restore the turf surface back to its original condition. Compacting the soil can be done using several methods, such as tamping with either an iron or rubber-headed tool, rolling with a golf course roller, and applying light topdressing or bunker sand. When compacting the soil, it’s important that you use enough pressure so that the area returns to its original contours – too much pressure may result in further damage!

For best results, ensure that all soil particles are firmly set into place when completing your repair job. This will help prevent uneven settling or shifting, which could cause future problems. Additionally, it’s also important to properly water down the repaired area once finished – this will help ensure proper compaction and promote healthy turf growth.

Filling With Sand

a dimpled ball on the field

Now that the soil has been compacted, it’s time to move on to filling it with sand. Sand pitch is an essential part of golf course maintenance and repair as it helps to keep the ground level, even out inconsistencies in a green’s surface, and protect grass from further damage. The process for a successful sand pitch fill repair starts by prepping the area around the pitch mark. This includes clearing away any debris or obstructions before you begin adding sand.

Once everything is clear, spread an appropriate amount of top-dressing sand over the pitch mark using either your hands or a garden rake. Make sure not to pile up too much; just enough to cover the depression should do the trick. After this step is completed, use a light roller or broom handle to gently tamp down the patch so that it blends better into the surrounding turf. With these steps complete, your pitch mark should be repaired!

Replacing Turf

Repairing a pitch mark requires replacing the turf that has been devoted. This can be done through several methods, depending on what materials are available and how much time is allotted for the repair process.

TurfReplacement pieces of grass to fill in divot holes
SandA dry material used to hold replacement turfs in place
SoilUsed as an alternative to sand when filling divots
SeedUsed to restore damaged areas with new growth over time

Turf restoration begins by removing any dead or unhealthy grass from the affected area. Once this has been completed, we then add our desired repair material into the divot hole while pressing down firmly until it’s level with the surrounding green. We then replace the removed turf back onto its original spot and press down firmly again or use a seed mixture for more severe cases. Lastly, we water the area thoroughly so that all materials have good contact with each other and allow them to settle well in order for proper germination.

The completion of these steps helps ensure that your course’s greens remain healthy, vibrant, and playable no matter what kind of wear they experience throughout their lifespan.


Repairing a pitch mark is an important part of golf course maintenance. It takes patience and the right technique to do it properly, but if you follow these steps, you can get your green looking like new in no time.

With the above knowledge and practice under your belt, keeping your greens protected from unwanted gouges should become second nature for all golfers out on the course!

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