Ball marks – threat or menace?

Sometimes, in the furious pace of daily living, we lose track of what’s really important. Surrounded by shrieking cell phones, hopelessly snarled freeways and a never-ending onslaught of nightmarish economic trends, it’s easy to forget the things that make California great.

Things like, er, unmarked golf courses.

No question about it, there’s nothing like a rolling expanse of perfectly manicured green to bring life back into perspective and make things just a little bit better.

And to remind everyone of this transcendent verity, the Northern California Golf Course Superintendents Association has declared Oct. 8 to 14 “Ball Mark Repair Week.”

(Whaddya mean you don’t know what a transcendent verity is? Get with the program or get a mobilehome in Canarsie, pilgrim…)

During the week, golf superintendents at courses throughout Northern California will actively promote the proper techniques for repairing unsightly ball marks on the green.

You don’t have to swing a mean mashie to appreciate this inspired aesthetic effort, or to lend a hand at your neighborhood golf course. This program is for everyone who cares about enriching the quality of golf and its environment.

“We had such a great response to the Ball Mark Repair Program in the year 2000 that we decided to bring it back again this year,” reported Bob Costa, president of the Northern California Golf Course Superintendents Association. “As stewards of the game, we recognize the importance of education and the need to increase golfer awareness of ball mark repair.”

Damn right, amigo – ball marks hurt everyone…

As part of the effort to beautify regional golf courses, members of the superintendents’ association will be providing valuable advice during the Transamerica Senior PGA Tour at Napa’s Silverado Country Club Oct. 12-14. They’ll be handing out free ball mark repair tools and demonstrating the safe and effective use of the devices.

In addition, easy-to-understand (remember, we’re talking golfers here) posters demonstrating the proper way to repair ball marks will be prominently displayed in golf shops throughout Northern California.

Yes, when Ball Mark Repair Week rolls around this year, you won’t have any excuse for not taking an active role in repairing unsightly blemishes on the green.

Golf courses are among California’s most valuable unnatural resources and, despite the fact that they’re populated by club-wielding fanatics in funny-looking shoes, they’re worth keeping in tip-top shape.

Here’s how you can help:

* Acquire a ball mark repair tool.

* Go to the nearest golf course and identify a ball mark.

* Insert your approved tool at the edge of the mark (NOT the middle of the depression).

* Bring the edges together with a gentle twisting motion, but don’t lift the center. Try not to tear the grass (Like, duh…).

* Smooth the surface with a club or foot. You’re done when it’s a surface that you would putt over.

(NOTE: “Putt” in this context is a golfing term. It doesn’t have anything to do with riding your Harley-Davidson over the damaged area.)

Easy? You bet – and mighty rewarding, too.

Originally published October 7, 2001

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