When and how to repair a pitch mark


We know repairing pitch marks is expected of us, but when can you do a little gardening?

Learn these rules so you are being kind to the green, without being penalised...

A player may repair an old hole plug, or damage to the green caused by the impact of a ball, regardless of whether the ball lies on the green (Rule 16-1c).

The repair may include raising the turf (with a tee or pitch repairer) or tapping down the turf. A ball mark may be repaired more than once.

Any other damage to the green, such as spike marks, footprints or flagstick dents/score marks, must not be repaired if it might assist the player in his subsequent play of the hole.

To avoid incurring a two-stroke penalty (loss of hole in matchplay), repairs should be carried out upon completion of the hole.

My ball or ball marker is accidentally moved in the process of the repair?

The ball or marker must be replaced as close to the original position as possible.

There is no penalty, provided the movement of the ball or marker is directly attributable to the act of repairing damage to the green.

My partner steps on and damages my putting line?

You may restore the line to the original condition without penalty. In equity (Rule 1-4), a player is entitled to the lie and line of putt they had when the ball first came to rest.

How to repair a pitch mark

Take your tool (or a tee) and insert the prongs into the turf at the rim of the depression, rather than the depression itself.

Using a gentle, twisting motion, push the edge of the mark towards the centre.

Flatten by gently tapping the surface using your foot or the sole of your putter.

A mark repaired within 10 minutes will fully recover within three days.

A badly repaired or unrepaired one will take over a week to heal.