Opinion Sports Columns

The Art of Marking Your Ball

Greg Allen
Staff Editor

Photo courtesy of Patrick Kenney.
Photo courtesy of Patrick Kenney.

It’s really a strange concept when you think about it. It is one of the less thought about actions throughout a round of golf. There’s a plethora emotions after good shots, curse words and flying clubs after bad ones. There’s an admirable thought process and routine before every swing of the club. The mentally daunting steps that one goes through to complete 18 holes of golf are plentiful. However, one step that is not thought to put pressure on the brain, is marking your golf ball on the green.

It happens every round, every hole, yet it is so often over looked. It’s a simple motion of bending down, and replacing the little white ball that gets beat around all day with an object that lies flat on the surface. The object that sits in your pocket for an entire hole while you hack a metal stick finally gets its time to shine when you reach the green. For some it’s a quarter, others it’s a poker chip or a small metal piece with one’s favorite sports team logo. Whatever it is, I think its best that the object has meaning to the player.

John F. Kennedy is the face of my ball marker: a 50 cent piece that to me is much more valuable than what a convenience would accept it for. Whenever my father and I play golf, we always make it competitive. It is just more exciting. There have been some epic battles that come down to playoff holes in the darkness. And what is the prize? The silver coin that is, to me, worth the world.

After not being in contact with the coin for quite some time, I finally reclaimed the trophy and now I use it in every tournament in which I play. It helps remind me that I am a champion in some way shape or form, even if I am playing terribly.

As meaningful as my ball marker is to me, some use completely meaningless objects to mark their ball. Some even forget ball markers going into a tournament. Two weeks ago, when our Springfield College golf team was playing in the NECC Conference Championship, one competitor did not have any coins or other small round objects to use as a marker. However, he did have a turkey sandwich. So until someone provided him with a more suitable object, he used the sandwich. Hey, why not?

It seems as if Tye Mill, a sophomore on the Springfield golf team, always loses his ball marker. Mill has used a number of abstract objects. Matter of fact, he uses whatever he can find. Sometimes it’s a leaf, other times it’s a pebble, I’ve even seen him use a 10 dollar bill (Luckily the wind was not blowing with much authority).

“I pulled straight cash out of my pocket to mark my ball,” said Mill. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”

If I’m kind enough to get him a Christmas gift, it’ll be a roll of quarters that he can keep in his bag. However, he might still find a way to lose each and every one of them.

Marking your ball may unarguably be the easiest part of golf. It’s certainly right up there with putting the ball on the tee and reaching your hand into the cup to get the ball after a made putt. What one uses as a marker can define a golfer. It can create story opportunities or remind a golfer of a specific moment. And in some cases, it can accomplish nothing but dirty a perfectly good turkey sandwich.

Leave a Reply