Ball Markers
By Snyper on 11/8/10
Matt is an opinionated* golf enthusiast from Pennsylvania. He coaches at the high school level, molding the minds and swings of our next generation. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions of Matt in the comments. Don't hold back- because Matt won't.

It seems like a relatively small role in the grand scheme of golf, but a ball marker is a big deal to a lot of golfers. Whether it is the functionality of the ball marker or just the sentimental value, I know a lot of guys who value their ball makers as much as their clubs. I have to admit, I'm one of those guys.

For me, it's got to be a magnetic. I've been rocking the magnetic ball marker on my hat, but I had a recent epiphany with my magnetic hat clip. Clipping it on my hat was marking up my hats and starting to annoy me, so I started clipping it on my belt. Changed my life! Instead of digging around in my pocket for five minutes trying to find a ball marker, it’s right there on my belt waiting for me! The move to the belt has also helped me to avoid the occasional criticism for the feminine appeal of the magnetic ball marker on the hat. I don’t know why, but since several of the ladies on the LPGA sport the ball marker on the hat and none of the guys on the PGA have caught on, there seems to be some who believe that magnetic ball markers are for women only. Well, I’m here to say that is absurd! I’m not sure what’s wrong with the guys on tour, but unless your ball marker is pink and full of bling, there is nothing feminine about using a magnetic ball marker! It just makes good sense and everyone who is not on board yet is missing out!
Clipping it on my hat was marking up my hats and starting to annoy me, so I started clipping it on my belt. Changed my life!

Another popular form of ball markers, which I really like, is the poker chip ball marker. While these tend to be a little large for me, and obviously not magnetic, I am a big fan of cards and I do appreciate the application. Larger ball markers do have some upsides. First of all, they are easily located in your pocket. In case you haven’t caught on yet, it is one of my biggest pet peeves on the golf course when I have to wait for a guy to search for his ball marker as I’m trying to putt. So, I like that the larger markers are a quick find. They are also easy to locate on the green. Whether you are looking around to see where everyone is so that you don’t step in their line, or if you are looking for your mark to read your putt from the other side of the green, a larger ball marker does help the cause. The biggest downside, of course, is that they are more of a roadblock for other putts and need to be moved quite often. If you leave your putt within a couple feet of the hole and you choose to mark it, that manhole cover that you call a ball marker is going to, most likely, need to be moved. A little aside here for those of you who are unfamiliar with the process of properly relocating your ball marker while your playing partners are putting. If you move your marker and forget to move it back, it is a penalty. This does happen quite easily and more often than you might think. I recently played with a guy who had a great suggestion about how to avoid forgetting to move your marker back to its original spot. He simply flipped his marker upside down when he moved it. Thus, when he went to putt, if his marker was upside down, he was immediately reminded to move it back before putting. While simple, I found that to be brilliant.

The traditional flat plastic ball markers with a spike on the bottom are always a good choice as well. I tend to keep one of these in my pocket for those times that I mark my ball close to the cup and know that my marker may interfere with other putts. Most times, if you use one of these flat markers, your playing partners will not even bother to ask you to move your mark because they know it is not very likely to effect their ball even if they roll over it. Since I’m lazy, I like this characteristic. So, while they are small and usually take a little time to locate among the tees and ball mark repair tool in my pocket, I do usually have a flat plastic marker on standby.
Whether it is a penny or a quarter, change will always work. Money is not the best option because of its likeliness to be stolen or lost, but when all else fails, it gets the job done.

If I find myself totally unprepared and I am out of options, the last choice for a ball marker is the good old metal currency. Whether it is a penny or a quarter, change will always work. Money is not the best option because of its likeliness to be stolen or lost, but when all else fails, it gets the job done. I do try to avoid the pennies though as they tend to be tough to relocate on the green. I can’t stand walking around for five minutes trying to find my marker and I have definitely done that a time or two when using a penny. On the upside, my buddies are way less likely to swipe the penny from me as apposed to my disappearing quarters!

In conclusion, if you have never given any thought to your ball marker in the past, perhaps it is time to find the one that is right for you. Whether you take the time to go out and design your own personalized ball marker, or just find one that you think is cool, I recommend finding a ball marker that you look forward to using. I love my magnetic ball marker and belt clip enough that it motivates me to hit more greens just so I can use it! Though not as technologically advanced as tees, ball markers can be fun and an enjoyable part of the game. Check out your options, but I won’t be surprised if you too are soon on the magnetic bandwagon!

* Matt's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of oobgolf.

[ comments ]
dc8ce says:
I'm not sure if they still do, but The Golf Warehouse ( had a bunch of college & pro team magnetic ball markers & clips. I got a sweet Mizzou Tigers one and at the time it was only $9.
dartboss04 says:
Great post. I definitely love a good ball marker and completely agree on all points, especially the poker chip. I like using it, but it becomes problematic when you get close to the hole.

My prize ball marker is actually a small round piece of wampum that I received with tees when I played a round at Lake of Isles in Foxwoods in CT back in 2008. It's really smooth, easy to spot on the green, and now ranks as my number one go to marker.

We need a divot repair tool thread now!...I'm partial to the Scotty Camerons.
tcjonny says:
those dang scotty repair tools are sweet, but after a few years in the bag, they become problematic and start falling out of the headcover... good ole' scott knows this and charges $25 for the replacement tools. I'm on my third one, and titleist now has $50 more of my money than they should. I'm partial to the old school solid brass ornamental tools with a magnetic spot for a ball marker and the clip on the back. Fits in my pocket well.
jbird2011 says:
I actually collect coins from around the world and use them as ball markers. They always have to be 1977. Its my birth year and always my goal score to shoot. Have quite a collection and get them all the time as gifts.
jev says:
I'm pretty fond of my magnetic ball marker that clips to my pitchfork. It's large enough to quickly find but it doesn't stand out on a green like a sore thumb. A pokerchip IMHO does not make a good ballmarker. It is too large, therefore too inaccurate to properly mark a position with and it stands out from the green so much it draws the eye from your putt to the marker. It's not very popular here but I will ask every time to move such a marker from my periphery view when putting.

That flipping the ballmarker over when moved is a great tip, must remember that one!

Really popular among the ladies here is a magnetic clip on the shoe. For some reason it doesn't catch on with the men though!
Matt F says:
I use an Australian 10c piece. No one else has one so it can't be confused with anyone else's.

In regards to fishing around in your pockets for a ball much junk do you carry in your pockets? I have 2 things, ball marker and pitch repair tool. Not easy to confuse the two.

falcon50driver says:
You are correct, it is a pitch mark repair tool, not a divot tool, as everyone seems to want to call it. I use a ten Peso coin, people always take a second glance at them and want to know what it is, so I give them one to keep. It's a nice heavy gold and silver looking coin that I keep a handful of in my bag.
Bryan K says:
Magnetic cap-bill clip ballmarker. I have a good half dozen of 'em in my bag.

Drives me absolutely insane when a playing partner doesn't have a ball marker. Absolutely insane.
homermania says:
If your playing partners are stealing your quarters, you need new playing partners. Also, I agree with mwfaith... why so much crap in your pockets that you can't find a marker?!
SD Charlie says:
I've used all kinds of things as a ball marker, but I'm generally partial to this bicentennial half-dollar. I saw it in a tip jar at a frozen yogurt joint, and asked the clerk if I could trade them two quarters for it. Oddly, I now have more "found" ball markers than purchased. I really have to remember that head's up / tails up trick to remind me if I moved my mark, that's a good tip.
Kurt the Knife says:
We caught up with an elderly couple on Kaanapali and I thought the gal was genius to have hers hooked on the laces of her shoe. Bendin' over anyway, why not have it where the ball is?
I have adopted the same. Its just smoother and my caps don't get all grizzled.
Kurt the Knife says:
My fave. Combo pitchmark repair tool and magnetic disc.
aglazier says:
Great article son. I'm partial to my Pebble Beach and Riviera poker-style markers. On the coin it shows the yardage of each hole, its handicap, and if it is Par 3, Par 4, or Par 5. Very cool, and handy if you happen to be playing match play on the course. Each ball marker even has a magnetic "pop-out" small, smooth ball marker that one can use if your large poker style marker is in someone's line. It's genius. I wish some of the local courses would make them.
KVSmith59 says:
I did some research on this once for my own little website. Was able to dig up photos of what the pros use. You can see them here:
mjaber says:
I use the repair tool/ball marker combo. It's in my left back pocket, and it's the only thing there. Makes it easy to find. The only problem I have is it sometimes the marker gets dislodged from the repair tool. I'll pull it out to mark my ball and have to reach back in to snag the coin. Not a huge deal, or any length of time, but I've looked a little silly once or twice bending over to mark my ball and not having the coin in the tool.
Bryan K says:
mjaber: it sure beats addressing the putt when the ball is still in your pocket.
mjaber says:
@Bryan... Somtimes I think I might have better luck putting my ball marker than putting the ball
InTheHolder says:
I too gave up on the hat. I invented and make a unique marker holder. My magnetic ball marker holder fits in the umbrella holder site on Sun Mountain and Clicgear pushcarts. It comes with a tee adaptor so if you don't have that ugly screw hole or the umbrella is up you can put it anywhere a tee goes. Check it out at
NCguy says:
Can anyone provide info re: antique / rare Ball markers? I found one in a farm field where a golf course once was. (I've heard ~1900-1920.) It is copper, about size of a quarter, and has a stamping of a woman in period dress sitting on a log, golf bag nearby, her chin in hand, w/ a guy in knickers teeing off in the back ground. The coin is stamped only on one side and has a decorative ridge along outer edge.

Curious about rarity / value. I've shown it to a lot of people. No one has ever seen anything like it, and.they all want it!

Sorry if double posted, or has typos. From my phone.
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