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MarkMender Ballmark Repair Tool

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MarkMender Ballmark Repair Tool

The MarkMender in its open position (left) and closed position (right).

Cranman Golf Products
The old saying about trying to build a better mousetrap stems from the notion that some products are so solid in form and funtion that they can't be improved upon.

Many might believe the ballmark repair tool in golf falls into that category. After all, it's existed as-is, essentially unchanged, for decades.

Roy Cranman, however, thinks he's built a better mousetrap. Cranman is CEO of Cranman Golf Products, which is producing a ballmark repair tool called the MarkMender that is unlike any you've seen before.

If it works - and early indications are that it does - it might just revolutionize the way golfers catch mice. Um, make that repair the greens.

Traditional repair tools are essentially just levers, usually made of metal, with two prongs. The prongs are inserted into the green around the ballmark, and the tool is pulled up and pressed forward, pushing the edges of the depression toward the center.

MarkMender Ballmark Repair Tool

The MarkMender can be clipped to a golfer's belt loop, or to a golf bag.

Cranman Golf Products
The traditional tools, when used correctly, work well. The problem is that many golfers don't use them correctly. Many golfers believe they have to lift up the center of the depression. So they push down on the tool, creating a see-saw motion in which the prongs, inserted below the center of the depression, push up. This actually tears the roots of the turf, adding many days of healing time to the process.

Some golfers find the traditional tools unwieldy, even when used correctly, and simply don't take the time to do a good job.

The MarkMender is different. It simply can't be used incorrectly. If you use the MarkMender, there is only one way to do it. Also, in many instances it takes only one pass with the MarkMender to repair the ballmark. No fuss required.

It might take a few attempts to get the hang of it, but once mastered, we discovered, the MarkMender makes repairing ballmarks a snap.

Or a squeeze, to be more precise. The MarkMender, when closed, is about the size of a pocketknife. When opened for use, it forms an "X." The tops of the "X" are the handles; the bottoms of the "X" are two sets of prongs. The prongs are opened to the width of the ballmark and inserted, one set of prongs on either side of the ballmark. The golfer grasps the handles in his fingers and gives the MarkMender a squeeze. That's it. The prongs force the edges of the depression together, the golfer tamps down the area with his putter, and the ballmark is repaired.

On firmer greens, we discovered and Cranman himself points out, it may take two or more tries to completely repair the ballmark. In such instances, the golfer would simply turn the MarkMender 90 degrees, insert into the ground, and give another squeeze.

The squeezing motion of the MarkMender is one of those ideas that seems obvious ... once someone finally thinks of it. Cranman explained that he was inspired after seeing one of his daughter's hair clips.

MarkMender Ballmark Repair Tool

The MarkMender can also be used to hold a cigar, or to keep club grips off wet grass.

Cranman Golf Products
"Back in May 2003, my club put stickers on the cart windshields describing the correct way to repair a ballmark," Cranman said. "When I read it, I discovered I had been doing it wrong for the past 35 years. I realized, with a single digit handicap, that if I did not know how to do it then this must really be a big problem."

Indeed, it is a big problem. A USGA-sponsored study at Rutgers University in 2003 concluded, "Poorly repaired, or not repaired at all, ballmarks are a major factor that limits the quality and playing conditions on putting greens."

Most golfers reached that conclusion a long time ago, even the ones who don't bother to repair their own marks.

"I had a flood of memories of the thousands of admonitions of rangers and memos on scorecards, etc., that asked me to repair my ballmarks," Cranman continued. "Then, as I actually was correctly repairing the very next mark, I thought, why doesn't someone invent a tool that can't be misused?

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