To Lift or Not To Lift Divots

Pocket Greenskeeper LogoA few years ago, I decided to take up the game of golf to in order to expand my social and business network. My first swing of a golf club was during a golf scramble the company I worked for held in 2006. I had always been fairly coordinated and figured it couldn’t be that hard since all the older gents I respected made it look so easy.  Boy was I wrong! No other game I had ever played was so challenging and beautifully connected to nature. I was hooked.

Growing up my father always instilled in me the same virtues of respect, integrity and honesty that the game of golf requires. I suppose this is one reason why I took repairing my pitch marks so seriously. I was constantly amazed at how many ball marks others left unfixed during my rounds. How could this be? If a person truly loves the game, why did they not preserve the same respect given them (or make it better) for the next guy, playing the game he loves?

Being an engineer, I was also perplexed at the irony of the suggested repair method and the design of the ball mark repair tools on the market at that time. I was told not to pry the dent up as it hurt the roots of the greens and caused repairs to heal slowly. However everything about the traditional design seemed inappropriate to be used the way it was recommended. Another approach I was taught was to push the teeth into the divot nearly horizontal and proceed to stand it straight up in order to stretch the turf back into place. This also seemed like the wrong approach to me. Additionally, nothing about any ball mark repair tools available seemed to address the raised impact crater surrounding a pitch mark.

Early on, I realized why guys would empty their pockets prior to playing golf and this too led to the reason (I suspect) many guys don’t carry a repair tool with them. In fact, this seems to be the reason why so many golfers attempt to perform repairs with a golf tee, since it is always readily available. However, nothing about a golf tee is designed for the task of repairing ball marks and as a ball mark repair tool, it can do the most harm to the greens.

Since those days, I have become more educated on how the repair methods can change depending on geography and turf type. It is still controversial as to whether any lifting motion is “ok” or not. Certainly many repairs are still done with the traditional long teeth tools in a prying motion. I think it is safe to say, generally speaking, that inserting the teeth too deep and prying too much can damage the greens. However, surely repairs can be done properly with these traditional tools in the right hands.


Image of the Pocket Greenskeeper

The Pocket Greenskeeper

During a slow period in the automotive trade, I decided to design something that would be better engineered to address the issues I had been faced with, to more quickly and easily repair ball marks while making it more “pocket friendly”. The resulting design is the Pocket Greenskeeper.  The Pocket Greenskeeper is a well engineered divot repair tool that is designed to have shorter and wider teeth than traditional divot repair tools in a light and compact package.  Unlike other divot repair tools, the Pocket Greenskeeper is well suited for any method of repairing divots by prying, flattening, or lifting.

The level change from teeth to handle on the Pocket Greenskeeper will protect the greens by preventing the teeth from being inserted into the green too deep. This same abutment will facilitate pushing down the raised impact crater and in many cases is ALL that is required to “cave in” a pitch mark from the outside in using a pushing motion. However, as mentioned earlier this may not be appropriate for every condition. There are other divot repair tools on the market today that claim this pushing down motion is the only way to properly repair a ball mark. These tools have much shorter teeth than the Pocket Greenskeeper and are not designed to perform any lifting motions.  Personally, I am not convinced that a minimal gentle lift is always bad and I still do it sometimes with the Pocket Greenskeeper.

What is certain is that even if the Pocket Greenskeeper is misused entirely in a prying motion, the damage which “could” be caused will be minimized due to the limit of insertion depth. Even without proper instruction, the abutment above the teeth will push down the raised impact crater during a repair. With a little practice and a good understanding of proper repair etiquette, the Pocket Greenskeeper will quickly become one of your favorite repair tools that you won’t mind keeping in your pocket. Clubs that offer the Pocket Greenskeeper with each round of golf have noted a substantial improvement in both the quality AND quantity of repairs since the tool is readily available when needed on the golf course. Of course, like most other tools, it can serve as a club rest on wet greens.

The Pocket Greenskeeper is being marketed to golf events and golf courses as a well-engineered repair tool to be given away in order to promote better green conditions along with advertisement opportunity. It is not currently being sold in stores or individually but can be purchased in quantities as low as 100pcs at a very reasonable price which includes full color printing of logos, websites or QR codes to also help promote your club, business or golf outing. To see samples and pricing please visit our website at or scan our custom QR code to see our mobile QR code platform.

Pocket Greenskeeper QR Code

What do you think is the best method to repair divots?
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About PocketGreenskeeper

John Barnes is the President of Pocket Greenskeeper which is being marketed to golf events and golf courses to be given away in order to promote better green conditions and can be imprinted with custom logos, websites or QR codes. Visit the Pocket Greenskeeper website for more information or scan the QR code to see the mobile QR code platform.
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