Definition of 'Pitch Mark' in Golf

The golf term "pitch mark" most commonly refers to a small depression in the surface of the putting green that is sometimes made by a golf ball as it strikes the green. "Pitch mark" can also refer to a depression in the sand within a bunker, also made by a descending golf ball.

Pitch mark (sometimes, but not commonly, spelled as one word: "pitchmark") means the same thing as "ball mark" or "ballmark," which are the terms used much more commonly in the United States. "Pitch mark" is the more-commonly used term outside the United States and especially in the U.K.

The "repairing" of pitch marks is an important part of course stewardship that all golfers are expected to learn and to do when one of their shots creates a pitch mark. (As they say in the U.S., "always fix your ballmarks.") You are also encouraged to repair other pitch marks on the green if you find them, such as one left by a previous golfer who did not repair it. It also OK to repair pitch marks on the green even if your golf ball itself is not on the green.

Repairing a pitch mark in the short term maintains a better putting green surface for all players who follow and, in the longer term, helps create a healthier, better putting surface.

The best way to repair pitch marks is by using a pitch mark tool (aka ballmark tool), which is also commonly called a divot tool. For the proper method of fixing pitch marks, watch the video at the top of this article. Pitch mark tools, or divot tools, are (mostly) cheap implements that you can find in most pro shops, or you can order one online (affiliate link). (Related: Can you use a tee to repair pitch marks?)

Shots into the green do not always result in the creation of pitch marks, but golfers should always check. Shots into softer greens are, of course, more likely to create pitch marks. Longer approach shots and shots that descend more steeply (such as pitch shots, hence the name "pitch marks") are more likely to result in pitch marks on the green.

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