Golf Course Maintenance Tips

By Robert Preston
Proper course maintenance is essential to keep the course playable for the groups behind you.
Proper course maintenance is essential to keep the course playable for the groups behind you.

Enjoying a day on the course is a popular recreational activity for golfers of all ages. When playing, there is a code of conduct that all players are expected to follow to ensure that the players who follow them can also enjoy their rounds. These include fixing divots, repairing ball marks on the greens and raking any bunkers that are disturbed in the course of play.

Fixing a Divot

Over the course of a round, it is expected a player will produce his share of divots, caused by tearing up a portion of the fairway with an iron or wedge as the swing strikes the ground in front of the ball. While divots are natural enough, failure to repair those divots can quickly lead to a course with unplayable fairways. There are two primary methods of repairing a divot, and the course you are playing will make it clear what the preferred method is. Ideally, courses will provide a mixture of fresh dirt and grass seed in the back of each cart that can be scooped into any holes left by divots, allowing new grass to sprout in the coming days. If replacement dirt and seed are not provided, the divot removed from the ground should be located and placed back in position, then tamped down by foot.

Bunker Maintenance

While every player aspires to avoid the bunkers, occasionally shots are going to find their way into those hazards. When you discover the hazard you have landed in has not been properly maintained, it can make a disappointing shot even more frustrating. To ensure that no players following you have to face such circumstances, proper care should be taken of any bunker in which your ball lands. Take the shortest route to get to and from the ball, but only if the face of the bunker nearest your ball is shallow enough to be walked on easily as attempting to scale a steep face can damage the lip. Once a shot has been hit, any marks from stepping or from the swing should be raked out using an alternating push-and-pull motion.

Fixing a Ball Mark

When hitting a high, flying approach into a green, it is possible for the impact of the ball to leave a mark on the putting surface, which, if left unchecked, can potentially interfere with the putting line of another player. Use a designated ball mark repair tool with two prongs to repair a ball mark; use a tee if a repair tool is not available. The tool is placed into the ground four times, once on all four sides of the mark, and is twisted toward the center of the mark. Once the tool has been used four times, a putter or foot is used to tamp down the mark so it is flat again.

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