Being able to easily identify your ball could become your mark of success


Living on a golf course has its perks. It also can be educational.

There’s something just really nice about hearing that thwack of driver hitting golf ball. I never get tired of it. I hear the happy banter. I hear players saying, “Nice shot!”

And as I’ve noted in this space before, I also hear golf balls bouncing around my front door from time to time. Or I just find them sitting there waiting for me, a white beacon as I walk around the property.

I haven’t bought golf balls in the nearly three years I’ve been living here. I pick up very usable ones all the time. Maybe they have a tiny mark from bouncing on cement, but most of them are perfectly fine.

I just took out all the balls in my bag. There are 35, almost all of them obviously ones that I picked up here.

No surprise – 20 are Titleists. Of the rest, there are four Nikes (didn’t some guy named Tiger used to play them?), three Calloways, three Bridgestones, and one each of some minor brands.

That right there shows you the effect of commercial after commercial proclaiming how much the pros love Titleists. It also shows, at least a little, the effect of the new ads for Calloway and Bridgestone.

The fact that I found that many Nikes is pretty amazing considering that the company announced in August 2016 that it no longer would make balls, clubs or bags. Maybe that Tiger guy was just a tiny bit influential.

But there has been another benefit that I never expected: I’ve learned a lot about how people mark their golf balls.

You do mark your ball, right? It’s not just something the pros should do; it’s something we all should. Every round. Every time.

If you haven’t been doing it, get a Sharpie, think of what symbol you want on your ball and don’t start a round with an unmarked ball that you can’t easily identify. It’s amazing how often someone (including me) hits the wrong ball, and having a mark on it cuts down on the possibility.

What mark should you put on your ball? I have seen every imaginable one.

There are thick dots, of course. Most people put one on each side of the number. Others put them in various spots on the ball, like chicken pox.

There are circles around the number.

There are crosses. Makes sense – all of us could use help from above out there.

But the mark that interests me most is the circle people put on their ball to help with putting. You see it all the time as the pros putt – you line up the line on the ball with the line of the putt.

I’ve always wanted to try that, but there was an obvious question: How do you create that line? So I did some research.

The answer: You could buy a $10 clip, but there’s a way that’s just as easy and a whole lot cheaper.

All you have to do is take a used toilet paper roll and put your ball in one end, with half of it inside the roll and half exposed. It should fit snugly. Then just position the ball where you want the line to go and draw your line.

Another household item that works is the top of some mouthwash bottles. As one person said, “You get clean, fresh breath, and the price is right!”

You still should put a mark on your ball besides the circle, just to be sure. That way, your ball should be identifiable no matter how it’s sitting in that gooey rough you somehow found.

If you’ve had trouble getting your putts on the right path, the circle would be a great way to get yourself lined up properly. And as you can see, it’s not hard to do. I’m going to try it.

Now if someone would just hit another nice, new Titleist my way …



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