Pitch marks - again.

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Lilyhawk

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Used the search function for "pitch marks" and a whole host of threads came up, but the newest one was dated 2014, so figured let's see what or if anything has happened since then.

Our club is probably like most other clubs. We swear about the unrepaired pitch marks we find and clinch our fists in our pockets. But this year the issue with pitch marks has completely gone through the roof. Our members base have increased with probably around 100 people, and we also have a lot of visitors, so as most courses since the pandemic came in - we are busy busy busy. So, one reason of the increased issue around pitch marks is of course that we have more traffic than ever, but even so I don't believe that the increase in traffic is matching up with the increase of pitch marks.

So, what do we do? I KNOW. Pitch marks not repaired will always be an issue for as long as golf exists, but that's no reason (to me at least) to just shrug your shoulders and not at least try to do something about it.

Have your club had any initiatives to tackle this problem that had an effect?

Anything that could get the penny to drop with just a few, even if that is people who are already repairing their pitch marks, but to get them to fix a few more. By raising it with several initiatives, perhaps a few lazy sods might catch the drift and start repairing the odd pitch mark every once in a while.

I don't think there's anything that could eradicate this issue, but ANY improvement would be highly welcome so might as well try.

Things that I've considered:

- First tee check - No pitch repair marker: no play.

"But I repair my pitch marks with a tee".

"It's good that you repair your pitch marks, but you'll learn that repairing it with a pitch repair marker will work better. Pitch mark or no play. Up to you".

- Interval checks. Buggy to go out in intervals of say 4 tee times from the morning and if clear visible pitch marks are found, you inform each group of the need to repair it.
"But it's not me".
"Well, it's one of the 16, so the chances are 1/4 that it's someone from your group who's caused it (at least), and that's why we're out to remind everyone".

- Stake out specific holes and pull people up directly if they don't repair.

- CCTV for extreme cases.
2 weeks ago our green keeper was met with around 30 deep massive pitch marks on one of the greens. Someone had obviously practised approach shots late the night before.
There's usually about 2-3 holes at our place where this could happen, although we've never come across something as bad as the above before.

Again, I know that nothing of the above will eradicate the problem, but even if it makes some people think twice, then we're at least turning in the right direction.

Any other ideas you'd have or things that have already been tried and tested with any positive results at all - shoot!
 

Neilds

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Some good ideas there but if most clubs are like mine, then there won't be anyone to police it. We don't have a starter and now, as most people don't go through the pro shop (no tee bookings so no need to check in) then the dress standards are noticeably slipping and it is suspected a a few people are just coming along who aren't member/visitors.

One solution could be to point out to people that they don't actually spin the ball as much as they think so they need to look further than 1' away from their ball! Some people believe the hype of Pro Vs and Vokeys and think they can stop it on a sixpence when in reality they roll on a few yards!
 

Lord Tyrion

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Oakdale GC have a couple of these dotted around some of their early holes. They really is as big as they look!

It does jar you to look even more carefully for marks to repair.

pitch repair.jpg
 

toyboy54

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Lots of good, sensible points there Lilyhawk, but as you imply sometimes it's like leading the blind/ talking to the deaf etc, etc.
I've actually been out been out with mates/others-even bought them repairers out the shop,handed them out on 1st tee and said about using them on every hole --but it's like farting against thunder in some cases-even when you remind(?) them!..Really rips my knitting!!
Sometimes even saying to them as I'm looking AND REPAIRING in front of them-2 folk got a bit shirty when I asked for the repairers back ( as they obviously didn't believe in their use!!
Got to laugh at how they moan about the state of the greens though and how it's always someone else's fault:mad:!!---bellbends
 
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Lilyhawk

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Some good ideas there but if most clubs are like mine, then there won't be anyone to police it. We don't have a starter and now, as most people don't go through the pro shop (no tee bookings so no need to check in) then the dress standards are noticeably slipping and it is suspected a a few people are just coming along who aren't member/visitors.

One solution could be to point out to people that they don't actually spin the ball as much as they think so they need to look further than 1' away from their ball! Some people believe the hype of Pro Vs and Vokeys and think they can stop it on a sixpence when in reality they roll on a few yards!
Yes, this would obviously be the biggest issue, and of course not something that could be done daily, or even weekly. We've got a decent enough group of people that contribute a lot to the club, so I can see this work every once in a while on some weekends.

At least it's a starting point for discussion. I've put my name forward regarding this to the greens committee at least. See what they say.
 
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Many good suggestions but unfortunately in the end it will have little effect. Too many Inconsiderate golfers (usually members) or ignorant golfers (usually visitors) - it's a mixture of both and the types are not mutually exclusive. And getting worse.

And it's not just pitchmarks - unrepaired fairway divots, unraked bunkers, wheeling trollies between greens and bunkers, litter dropping........ and so the list goes on.

Only last week, I politely asked a 4 ball of visitors to remove their electric trollies from the first tee box and stop chipping balls off the tee to each other while they waited for the fairway to clear.

It needs the considerate members to police the course as they play and "educate" or "shame" others into acting like proper golfers - but many won't because of the risk of abuse.

A sad state of affairs.
 
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Lilyhawk

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Many good suggestions but unfortunately in the end it will have little effect. Too many Inconsiderate golfers (usually members) or ignorant golfers (usually visitors) - it's a mixture of both and the types are not mutually exclusive. And getting worse.

And it's not just pitchmarks - unrepaired fairway divots, unraked bunkers, wheeling trollies between greens and bunkers, litter dropping........ and so the list goes on.

Only last week, I politely asked a 4 ball of visitors to remove their electric trollies from the first tee box and stop chipping balls off the tee to each other while they waited for the fairway to clear.

It needs the considerate members to police the course as they play and "educate" or "shame" others into acting like proper golfers - but many won't because of the risk of abuse.

A sad state of affairs.
Now also unrepaired green divots at ours... Happened on three separate occasions this month.

Green.JPG
 

cliveb

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With the huge influx of new golfers lately, there are bound to be large numbers who don't understand what's required.
Probably little that can be done about visitors, but for those who join a club, I think every club should have a "new members pack".
As well as providing information about how the club operates, it should include stuff about etiquette, caring for the course (and of course a copy of the rules).

I just wanted to question one thing that's been said:
And it's not just pitchmarks - ... wheeling trollies between greens and bunkers ...
I've seen lots of clubs telling players not to wheel trolleys between bunkers and greens, and at first sight it seems sensible.
But if you think about it, it doesn't make sense:
If you wheel a trolley between bunker and green, it degrades a section of turf that a properly executed bunker shot won't ever touch.
On the other hand, imposing this rule will just encourage people to wheel their trolleys past the other side of the bunker, which will degrade the turf at a place where someone might need to play a delicate chip over the bunker.
 

banjofred

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At my first club a few years ago, they made a fairly decent effort to get people sped up a bit golfing. Constant reminders, emails, they were mentioning it quite often. It worked, and then people started reminding other people to get things going when the group fell too far behind the group in front. It has slowed a little bit since, but I regularly hear people mentioning it and reminding the people in their group that maybe they need to speed up. It HAS had a bit of a lasting effect. I would tend to think it would work " a little bit" with pitch marks as well. Constant polite pressure beginning from the office and talking to a lot of the regulars before they head out for their round should work......a little bit.

A couple of years ago at the first club they made a push to improve the divots issue. Constant reminders again from various sources. They added a small covered structure right before you head up to the first tee where they have hung a lot of small bags that they want people to take with them to fill in divots. They have a big covered box with a sand and grass seed mix that you put in the bag. It's pretty easy....some people do it, some don't....but it helps. My 2nd club....real issue with divots. Just a guess, but I tend to think 75% of the guys I see taking divots don't even bother to look for the divot....they just walk off. The fairways at this course have a LOT more noticeable divots. I've never really heard anybody pushing this issue......so it continues.
 

sunshine

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Some good ideas there but if most clubs are like mine, then there won't be anyone to police it. We don't have a starter and now, as most people don't go through the pro shop (no tee bookings so no need to check in) then the dress standards are noticeably slipping and it is suspected a a few people are just coming along who aren't member/visitors.
Here we go :rolleyes:

Pitch marks = dress code debate :ROFLMAO:
 

sunshine

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The return of lockdown (both this year and last year) showed that when our course was open to members only, there were just as many pitch marks as previously. Everyone loves to blame visiting society golfers but it's just not true. I'm constantly repairing multiple pitch marks.

Here is an idea: greenkeeper buries a marker or other small object under an unrepaired pitch mark. The person that hands in the marker to the pro shop wins a sleeve of balls or some other prize.
 

IanM

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If you wheel a trolley between bunker and green, it degrades a section of turf that a properly executed bunker shot won't ever touch.
On the other hand, imposing this rule will just encourage people to wheel their trolleys past the other side of the bunker, which will degrade the turf at a place where someone might need to play a delicate chip over the bunker.
Although, it funnels the traffic through a much smaller area, leading to greater damage. That's why the "request" is made.

- At our club, people tend to play in the same groupings. I think more drawn events in a club mixes it up a bit and the "folk who need some persuading" are more likely to get it if they play with people who might point it out to them. And it's the whole caboodle - pitch marks, divots, slow play, world peace!!
 

Barking_Mad

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As a nomad golfer in NW Leeds the number of pitch marks at various (expensive) clubs leaves me exasperated. I often repair three or four per green. Last year I played Sandmoor and it was particularly bad, as were the numbers of unreplaced divots. It looked like a PGA event had just played through. I suspect it's the frustrated gardener in me, but it's really annoying.
 
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Lilyhawk

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As has been said, a lot of people think that repairing pitch marks is what Douglas Adam's defined as an SEP or Someone Else's Problem.
I think most golfers get wound up by this but education is the only way forward.
I thought this was a pretty neat idea to illustrate the problem.
West Sussex Golf Club - Please Repair Pitchmarks Properly
I think that is a great example of an idea!

It might piss a fair few people off, but you could do something with this when you know you'll have a packed tee sheet.

Earlier in the week, club sends out comms that hole X will be closed on Saturday from opening until XX due to much needed maintenance work.
Place out balls exactly like above on all pitch marks and then by the tee and around the green have big signs about it.
 
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It won't help on current membership, but I think all new members should do an introductory round with an established player (would need a group willing to do it) at the club who knows how to take care of courses.

Just play 9 holes as a four ball so new members get to meet some others - perhaps three other new members and the established player, and talk them through the course and say apologies some of this may be basic but this is what we want from our members. Mention divot repair, pitch marks (with example on how to do it), bunker raking and where to position rake, how to mark a scorecard, how comps are being run and advise on leaving bag in right place, timing of rounds for each 9 i.e. here within 1hr 45 etc. Seems annoying written down but over 90 mins shouldn't be too onerous.

I think for quite a lot of people they never had the etiquette shown to them so rely on friends to tell them who don't want to seem stuffy (other word probably blocked). Yeah may be overkill for an established player but you can probably form an impression within 2 holes so if it just means a social nine then nice intro. Probably more beneficial than the three person interview you get on joining to check you're right "caliber" when you've already had to be recommended by someone.
 
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I think that is a great example of an idea!

It might piss a fair few people off, but you could do something with this when you know you'll have a packed tee sheet.

Earlier in the week, club sends out comms that hole X will be closed on Saturday from opening until XX due to much needed maintenance work.
Place out balls exactly like above on all pitch marks and then by the tee and around the green have big signs about it.
Like this idea!
 
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