The Divot Tool (Ball Mark Tool) in Golf and How to Use It

Fixing ball marks, also called pitch marks, on putting greens is something every golfer needs to know how to do. So most golfers, at least those who are properly brought into the game with an appreciation for good golf etiquette and caring for the course, are introduced very quickly to the small item known as a divot tool or ball mark tool.

The ball mark tool is also called the pitch mark tool, ball mark repair tool and (although it's a bit of misnomer since it is used to fix ball marks on the green rather than divots in the fairway) the divot tool. It might colloquially be referred to as a ball-mark fixer, divot fixer or even a divot fork. Most ball mark tools come in a familiar shape: basically a gripping end that fits between a golfer's thumb and fingers, with two prongs (or think of them as fork tines) on the other end.

Divot tools are among the most basic pieces of equipment that every golfer should carry. Get one and put it in your golf bag — then use it when you spot ball marks on the putting surface (yours or others). In a pinch, a golf tee can work, too.

Where do you get ball mark repair tools? Most golf courses have them available, sometimes for a small fee. But many courses will give you one free because they want you to use it. Fixing ball marks on the green is a key part in keeping putting surfaces healthy.

Divot tools are also commonly given away at charity tournaments and corporate outings, often with sponsors' names embossed onto the grip end. And you can purchase a ball mark tool in any decent pro shop, at online golf retailers, and, of course, at Amazon.com.

How do you use a divot repair tool? The video at the top explains and demonstrates the process. But, basically, it is this: Insert the prongs (or "fork tines") into the turf just outside the edge of a ball mark/pitch mark. Then push your hand (and, therefore, the grip-end of the repair tool) toward the center of the pitch mark. Do that three or four times around the edge of the pitch mark, then, using your putter or your foot, tamp down the area to smooth it out.

Do not make this common mistake: The wrong way to use a divot tool is to insert the prongs at an angle so that they go underneath the center of the pitch mark, and then pry the turf up. That will actually harm the turf, rather than helping it heal. Watch the video above.

Check Amazon for divot tools

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