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Watch Taking a Proper Divot Video


Taking a proper divot is something that is critical to crisp and consistent iron play, but if you don't know what a proper divot is, it's tough to know when things go wrong. Below, we're going to take a look at the proper divot from the face on view. Study the photographs below:


diovt sequnce


In the above sequnce, you can see how the divot doesn't start until long after the ball is already gone. In the middle picture just after impact, the ball is well in the air and no dirt has flown up as of yet. In the last picture on the right, you can see how the divot started in front of the ball about an inch and extended to be even with my left big toe, or about the length of a dollar bill. It is key to learn to take more shallow divots for spin and trajectory control. If you are taking massive divots, it becomes very difficult to control the distance of your irons and you will tend to put too much spin on the ball. A shallow divot is one where the top layer of turf is removed but you can still see the grass roots below. If your divots are deep and you're seeing a lot of dark soil at the bottom of the divot, it's likely too deep for consitent iron play. To further illustrate this, look at the photo below:

proper divot

Here you can see an overlay showing the ball just before impact and the divot extending past the ball after impact. It is critical for your divots to start after the front of the ball for crisp iron shots and consistency. A good way to practice this is to actually hit ball off a tee. Take a 7 iron and place the ball on a tee but tee it very low such that the tee is barely above the level of the dirt about 1/8". Now hit full shots off the tee and try and make sure that the tee remains undisturbed. Your divot should start about an inch in front of the tee and the tee should not be clipped or broken. While this drill may seem simple at first, many golfers struggle with it, so don't take it too lightly. Spend time with it until you get very competent with not striking the tee with the club and you will see your ball flight become more penetrating just like the pros. As you become better with the drill, you should find that you can practice within a very small area without tearing up a lot of sod. Nicklaus used to say that he could practice all day in an area about the size of shoe box. That's a great visual if you're used to tearing up large chunks of turf on the practice tee.


The key to getting these divots to start in front of the ball is to make sure your hands lead the club through impact. Notice in the photo below, my hands are just in front of the ball at impact with a short iron. They only need to lead slightly, about 5 degrees is plenty for most iron shots. In the photo below, the shaft is leading about 6 degrees from the butt of the club and then several more because of the bend in the shaft. You are seeking the ideal balance between launch angle, trajectory and spin for control with your irons, and striking down on the ball is the key to great iron play. Practice not clipping the tee in the above drill and watch your iron play improve.

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