Bobby Vega had requested that I share with everyone the correct way to repair ball marks. I thought it was a great idea but wanted to do some research on it first. Some of you are probably thinking that since I have been in this business for over 22years I should know this already! They would be right in their thinking, but my personal view of how to repair a ball mark is in contrast to many other's view. I found this out when I did a search on youtube for repairing a ball mark. I had found a lot of videos from golf pros describing how to do this simple feat. I am sorry to say but personally I feel they are wrong! almost everyone of them has you pushing the grass on the side of the mark into the center which I strongly disagree on because if you watch them it basically is covering up the grass that has been compacted in the middle of the mark. I have watched the USGA video of repairing a ball mark which happens to be more in line with my way of thinking.
A couple of things to remember; first a ball mark is the compaction of the turf from the impact of the ball, and the goal of fixing it is to return it to its previous state before impact! That means that you basically have to lift the turf up to un-compact it. The second thing to remember is that the turf area impacted is only as deep as the hole that was formed on impact which in simple terms means that you only need to push your tool into the soil the same distance as the depth of the hole that was made, if it was only 1/2" deep, only place the tool about 1/2" into the soil. The third thing to remember is that you are not trying to lift the hole back to the level of the green which would only leave a hole under the spot you repaired, you are actually just trying to spread the grass/soil back out to its original location so multiple movements of the tool is needed in small movements to accomplish the intended goal.
Take the time to watch this video to learn the USGA's recommendation on the right right way to fix a ball mark