Though greenkeepers may not yearn for the chance to put this idea into action, it could be argued that one way for a golf course to get its greens in shape is to host a professional tournament. The reason is that players on the pro tour, unlike many club members, make a fetish of repairing divot marks on greens—theirs, yours, everybody's. By the divot mark, I mean the indentation made on the green by the biting impact of an approach shot. The pros fix these marks conscientiously because neglecting them scars the green.
Since a carelessly repaired ball mark can affect a putt, I have two kinds of advice for you. First, always examine the line of your putt for ball marks—even old ones—and make the necessary repairs. You might as well not even line up a putt if you are carelessly going to hit it over divots. Second, know how to fix ball marks properly, thus smoothing your path and other people's, too. The best tool I have found for this personal greenskeeping is the new double-pronged aluminum device shown at right. It is very popular on the pro tour and should be generally available soon. The repair work is done from the side of the mark from which the ball was hit. Thrust the prong, or a wooden tee, under the indentation at a fairly sharp angle and lift the mashed dirt area up to green level. There is usually a small flap of turf on the far side of the mark. Lift this flap slightly and pull it back over the bare dirt. Stab the prong into the ground at several points around the outside of the ball mark. Finally, tap the turf carefully with the sole of your putter. If anybody misses a putt over that ball mark now, it isn't your fault.