I’m sure we’ll all be glad to get back onto the course after a fortnight of rain, wind, snow and ice! At a recent meeting about our course many members voiced concern at the number of pitch marks on our greens, divots on our fairways and unraked bunkers. Flicking through a recent magazine published by BIGGA (The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association) this statement by Antony Kirwan, course manager at the highly-rated Romford Golf Club in Essex, caught my eye:
“I have been in the industry 28 years and playing golf for 35 and the etiquette of the game has declined.”
He explained that by “etiquette” he meant golfers taking care of the course. He went on to say, “A golf course is owned by the members and in many ways it is their responsibility to help maintain it. If you don’t rake a bunker, then a member of staff will have to do that, taking them away from other vital duties around the course that could elevate it to the next level and give you somewhere really special to play.”
At this time of the year the greens are soft, so a pitch onto the green is more likely to cause a deep mark. It’s important that everyone knows the correct way to repair a pitch mark (there is a wrong way!) but it is absolutely vital that everyone actually makes the effort and does the job! I shared the following video a few months ago, but I make no apology for including it again – it’s important.
When I was learning to play I was taught that I should always repair my own pitch mark and then look for two others to fix. If everyone did this we wouldn’t have a single mark on our greens!
How do you react if one of your four-ball walks off a green without fixing his/her pitch mark? Do you even notice? Do you ignore it? Do you say, “Here, don’t forget to fix your pitch mark” or “Do you need to borrow my pitch mark repairer?” or words to that effect? Or maybe you just take the easy option and fix it for him. We should be educating those we play with.to look after our course, if they don’t know how to behave.
Did you know that you are allowed to repair a pitch mark that’s on your line? Rule 13 outlines the actions that are allowed on the green and describes the types of damage you can repair, without penalty. Scroll down the rule (click here) to see a short video which illustrates this.
Remember – a pitch mark that is properly repaired will only take days to recover, however a neglected one will take weeks! Look after your course!