The Divot Tool in Golf: Its Uses and How to Get One

Golfer using a divot tool to repair a pitch mark
A golfer uses a divot tool to repair a pitch mark. RPM Pictures/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Divot tools are one of the small, basic pieces of equipment that all golfers need to own and use. Thankfully, they are inexpensive and might even be given away free by a golf course or golf tournament organizers.

Divot Tools Are Used for Pitch Marks

Divot tools are used for repairing (or "fixing," as many golfers say) pitch marks, also called ball marks, in the surface of the putting green. Pitch marks are often left when a golf ball plops down onto a green, leaving a little depression in the ground.

A small crater, you might say.

Divot tools almost all have the same, basic form: a grip-end that fits between the thumb and the rest of the fingers, with two prongs on the end. They are usually metal or plastic.

Why would we say that all golfers need to own and use a divot tool? See our article on "How to repair ballmarks," which answers that question and also explains how to properly use a divot tool to fix pitch marks on the green. But the "why" of using divot tools boils down to this: Fixing our pitch marks on putting greens is one way that golfers help take care of the golf courses we play.

Shouldn't They Be Called 'Pitch Mark Tools' or 'Ball Mark Tools'?

Yes! That would make more sense. The dictionary definition of "divot" is "a square of sod or turf" or "a loose piece of turf." So using the divot tool to repair a green can be thought of as repairing "a square of sod or turf."

But most golfers think of divots as something else: The thin pieces of turf that are sliced up by iron shots played from the fairway.

Divot tools have no role in dealing with those (see How to Repair Divots on the Golf Course).

Virtually no golfers call this little gadget a "pitch mark tool" or "ball mark tool," however. It's divot tool. Always has been, always will be.

How to Acquire a Divot Tool

Check with your local golf course. They probably offer them for sale (typically for just a few bucks) and might even offer them free of charge.

Golf course staff want golfers to use divot tools - it helps with maintenance of the greens.

Or check any golf pro shop or online golf retailer. You might find some with a pattern or design (such as sports team logos) that you like. Many online pro shops also offer customization options. Divot tools are often included in "goodie bags" given to golfers at charity tournaments and corporate outings.

Many divot tools also come with coin-sized ballmarkers included, magnetically attached to the grip end.