When To Use A Divot Tool — What are Pitch Marks or 'Divots' ?

when to use a divot tool for the importance of repairing pitch marks

A divot tool is an extremely important golf accessory that should be carried by every player. Putting is arguably the most important factor when it comes to shooting low scores, and a beautiful green covered in nasty pitch marks can be a golfer’s nightmare. 

Fixing a pitch mark correctly is a quick and easy process, and ensures a fair putting surface for fellow golfers enjoying the course.

Many golfers are surprised to find out that they do not use the correct method to repair their pitch marks, and can benefit from learning the proper method.

when to use a divot tool for the importance of repairing pitch marks

The Importance of Repairing Pitch Marks

when to use a divot tool and what is it used for as a golf accessories article

A pitch mark repair tool is commonly referred to as a “divot repair” tool or a “divot tool.” When a golfer hits the green with their golf ball, the impact creates a small crater-shaped indentation in the green called a pitch mark. Left unfixed, pitch marks alter the putting surface and can turn a flat, nicely manicured green into a bumpy crater-filled surface that is nearly impossible to putt on. 

” Pitch marks are commonly referred to as ‘divots’ “

Pitch marks are commonly referred to as “divots,” although technically divots are the holes in fairways and tee boxes left behind from when golf clubs strike the grass. This common mix-up is a pet peeve of some golfers, but the two terms are commonly used interchangeably. 

In fact, if you take a look next time you are in a pro shop, there is just likely a chance that these tools will be labeled “divot repair tool” as “pitch mark repair tool.” However you choose to refer to them, pitch marks should be fixed as soon as you walk up the green and mark your ball to ensure the putting surface is kept in good shape for the next golfer.


A divot tool is used to repair ball marks that golfers leave when hitting the green.

This practice helps keep the golf course in good shape and is an important part of golf etiquette. 

Similar to raking a bunker, fixing your ball mark every time ensures that the golfers behind you throughout the day have fair course conditions to play. For these reasons, the golf divot repair tool is a must-carry accessory that should be found in all golf bags.


How Do I Use A Golf Divot Tool?

The first step to repairing a pitch mark is finding the mark itself. Take note of where the ball lands and which direction it spins during approach shots, as this will help you locate your pitch mark more easily. Ball marks left by shorter irons and wedges will usually be deeper and easier to spot, due to the higher trajectory of the ball flight.

If you can’t manage to find your pitch mark, a good practice is to fix one that you can find. In fact, many altruistic golfers have formed the habit of fixing an additional ball mark along with their own.

Once your ball mark has been located, it’s time to repair it. Starting just outside of one edge of the mark, drive the pointed edge of your tool into the ground, and push the turf inward, toward the center. Repeat this motion around all sides of the mark, while continuing to push the grass inward. What was a hole in the green should now be an uneven mound of mashed-up grass. Tamp the mound down using the bottom of your putter, tapping until the surface is flat and playable. 

Many golfers accidentally misuse their divot tools, leading to a slower healing process for the green. After driving the prongs into the ground, the common mistake is to push the tool outward instead of inward, lifting up from under the mark.

While this method does flatten out the pitch mark, it lifts dirt up to the surface instead of pushing the grass back together. This exposed dirt will take multiple weeks to grow back in, whereas the correct method allows the grass to clump back together and heal in less than one week in most cases.

How Expensive Are Divot Tools?

The cost of a divot tool can vary greatly – some are free of charge, while others can cost hundreds of dollars. Some golf courses hand out plastic divot tools, along with ball markers and tees at the beginning of a round. In a pinch, a golf tee can even be used as a pitch mark repair tool. While this isn’t ideal as the wider diameter of the golf tee isn’t the best for this use, it is better than doing nothing.

Many basic divot tools can be found in the $5 to $10 range. These basic tools are usually made of thin metal or plastic, and come in a variety of different profile shapes and styles.

For spending a few more dollars you can find ball mark repair tools that double as bottle openers, and even groove cleaners.

The Pitchfix is a switchblade style repair tool made of thicker metal that features a magnetic ball marker holder. Many pro shops carry the Pitchfix, or a style similar to it, along with custom golf ball markers displaying the course’s logo. The magnetic feature is a nice touch, as many commemorative ball markers are the same size, making them interchangeable. These are considered some of the best divot repair tools around, and cost around $20.

On the high end, artisanal pitch mark repair tools can be made of precious metals and even animal horns. It should be noted that these are better suited for gifts than for actually playing golf, as they will function no better or worse than their cheaper counterparts.

Conclusion: Research by Tellmemoregolf.com

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Part of learning the game of golf is understanding golf etiquette. Leaving the course in as good or better shape than you found it is a great way to help ensure everyone has a fair golf course to play on. 

The team of experts at Tell Me More golf always encourages golfers to carry a divot repair tool when they play golf, and to use a tee to repair marks those times they don’t!


Patrick Corley Tell Me More Golf Instructor and Coach
Patrick Corley
From a golf scholarship to a Southern California University, to a private golf coaching career and an instructor position at a nonprofit organization, I’m here to help you get better at golf! With my 50+ years of golf experience; I bring you Tell Me More Golf. A golf coaching website that helps your game with instructional golfing content that’s ultimately geared toward making you a better golfer and having more fun!
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