There is nothing more shameful on a membership golf course than beautiful greens pocked by unrepaired pitch marks. Actually, strike that, the most shameful thing on a golf course is the wearing of Loudmouth trousers… oh, and grown men playing with pink drivers. But then there are unrepaired pitch marks. And already in July a lot of courses are showing signs of having some very spoiled greens come September. But putting up signs and sending newsletters with ‘How to repair a pitch mark’ videos embedded in them rarely have an impact.
Pitch marks are a problem for many golf courses, especially when experiencing an influx of new members after promoting a special offer. The problem of unrepaired pitch marks lies largely with high handicappers. They often don’t repair their pitch marks because, what with their ball pitching on the front of the greens and then bounding their way to the back, they never see them. But that doesn’t mean we have to wait for them to achieve backspin before they start noticing their pitch marks and taking care of business. So Taking the Divot has developed the following low-cost campaign in order to help golf courses drive up pitch mark ownership, and drive down the occurrence of acned greens.
The task as we see it is to make people take ownership of their pitch marks, make them realize that they have an active role (repairing pitch marks) in maintaining the quality and reputation of their golf course and to take pride and ownership in its condition.
THE TAKING THE DIVOT ‘OWN YOUR PITCH MARK’ CAMPAIGN
For the next club competition, choose a par 3 hole with a pitch mark problem and use it to stage an ‘Own Your Pitch Mark’ campaign. Place a sign on the left half way between the tee and the green that reads ‘When you repair a fresh pitch mark it takes just 24 hours for the green to heal.‘ Twenty meters later place another sign saying ‘When a pitch mark is not repaired, it takes 3-4 weeks to heal.‘
The part that will drive ownership and activate people to repair their pitch marks comes when they reach the green. Using a can of orange or white chalk spray (which will wash away the next time it rains), spray a circle around every single unrepaired pitch mark. Around every third unrepaired pitch mark write an anonymous name: Dave, Alan, Lucy, Jacob etc.
Circling the unrepaired pitch marks highlight the extent of the problem, but adding names shows that an unrepaired pitch marks belongs to the individual who made it.
At the back of the green there should be a box full of pitch marks repairers and a sign saying, ‘Take pride in YOUR golf course – Repair YOUR pitch marks!‘ or ‘Make OUR greens the envy of [insert country or state] – Repair YOUR pitch marks!‘
This is a very cheap, even fun, and hugely positive approach that sends a positive message to club members while activating new members and high handicappers to act accordingly.
IS YOUR COURSE SUFFERING FROM UNREPLACED DIVOTS? YOU CAN ALSO APPLY THE ABOVE CAMPAIGN TO UNREPLACED DIVOT MARKS.