Golf Divot Repair Tool: What It Is and How to Properly Use It

Divot repair tools laid out on a table. Single-pronged  on the outside and double-pronged on the inside
2 different types of divot repair tools: single-prong (outer), double-prong (inner)

As golfers and caddies, it is our duty to make sure we are doing our best to keep the golf course well maintained. Course maintenance is one of the key components of good golf etiquette. Maintenance covers everything from raking bunkers, to repairing divots, and even covers another important part, repairing ball marks (or pitch marks) on the green. To properly repair a ball mark, we use a divot repair tool.

What is a Divot Repair Tool?

A divot repair tool is a tool used to remove pitch marks, or ball marks, from the putting surface to ensure that putts roll as close to true as possible. The name of the tool is a bit misleading because it technically doesn’t help repair divots. Remember, divots are small chunks of turf you see after completing your golf swing. “Divot tool” is the more widely adopted term and rolls a little better off the tongue than “pitch mark repair tool” or “ball mark repair tool”. Over the years, divot tools have been modified in numerous ways and for some, have become a collector’s item.

Different Types of Divot Tools

There are 2 popular styles of divot tools, the double-pronged and single-prong divot repair tool.

The Double-Prong Divot Repair Tool

There are 2 popular styles of divot tools, the double-pronged and single-prong divot repair tool. The double-pronged is a forked version of the tool that comes with a variety of features. They usually have a slim, flattened body with the teeth either always extended or retractable. A usual attachment on double-pronged pitch-mark repair tools are magnetic ball markers. These ball markers help golfers save time on the green because a ball can be marked, and a ball mark can be repaired with the use of a single tool. Golfers tend to go with double-pronged divot tools because they have a more stylish look and offer some come cool features like having retractable teeth, having a cigar cutter, and having a bottle opener. One thing to look out for, though, is that these tools could potentially cause damage to the green because they make multiple points of entry at a single time.

The Single-Prong Divot Repair Tool

Single-prong divot repair tools are becoming increasingly popular and tend to do less damage to the green, even if used incorrectly. This version offers a more basic look and is very similar, in appearance, to a tee. This basic design usually comes with a flat body that has a small groove to rest your thumb. This version is gaining popularity because of its simplicity and ease of use. It allows for easy divot repairs with a smaller margin of error when it comes to damaging the green. The reason you’re less likely to damage the green while using this style of divot tool is because it only has a single tooth, which prevents golfers from breaking too many grassroots when attempting to repair pitch marks.

How to Properly Use a Divot Repair Tool

Most beginners and even some seasoned golfers end up damaging greens when attempting to repair pitch marks on the putting surface because their technique is wrong. Upon approaching the impression your ball made on the putting surface, it’s very common for golfers, and even some caddies, to think and want to insert the divot tool and pull the grass up to make it flat. This technique is seriously flawed. What happens when you pull the grass up is that you end up breaking the roots of the grass. In turn, the grass in the section you attempted to repair is now left to dry out and die. Trying to repair greens that way will lead to many brown spots on greens. This can be seen quite frequently at public courses, where most of the players are either beginning or aren’t very familiar with good golf etiquette.

Here’s how to correctly use a divot tool to repair ball marks on the green:

  1. Insert the divot tool into the outer parts of the ball mark (start with area that has grass bunched together)
  2. Push grass toward the center of the pitch mark
  3. Go to the opposite end of the ball mark and repeat steps 1 & 2
  4. Work your way around the ball mark until the grass looks evenly displaced in the affected area
  5. Use your putter to flatten out the repair area and level out the green

What We Learned About Divot Tools

Divot repair tools are an essential part of course management which ties it right in to golf etiquette. Choosing the best divot tool can go a long way in keeping your golf course in top shape throughout the season. Whichever version you decide to use, always remember to push grass to the center and not pull them up, breaking the roots along the way. Follow these steps and you’ll be repairing divots like a wizard on the green. As an added bonus, your superintendent will love you for it.


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