Golf Divots: What Every Player Should Know About

What is a golf Divot?

A divot refers to a piece of turf that is removed from the ground when playing a stroke. It can also denote the hole that is left after the turf is extracted out of the ground. When golf shots are played using a wedge or an iron, it will scrape off a layer of turf where the golf ball was resting. This occurs because these clubs were designed to strike the ball in a descending path.

As the iron or wedge is shot, it will still be moving downwards after striking the golf ball and as a result, it will slightly dig into the turf as the golf swing bottoms out.

History of Golf Divots


The term divot originated in Scotland in the 1500s, however, it comes from roofing instead of golf. When homes were "shingled" using pieces of sod, the sod pieces that cut out of the ground and were layered on the rooftops were known as divots.

Depending on the shapes of their golf swing, players can either take shallower or deeper divots. However, divots are expected when players have a good golf swing while using a wedge or an iron. However, if you use a wood to take a divot, then you will definitely mis-hit your golf ball and will likely have a very steep angle of attack.

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What Divots Say About Your Golf Swing


Fixing your golf swing is not an easy thing even with the assistance of a professional. The process can be more challenging if nobody is watching you play. However, there are different ways that you can determine why you are hitting your golf ball the way you do. One of the best ways you can correct your golf swing is by checking your divot.

You can check your golf swing by using a video camera or mobile phone to film every shot you make. However, if this is impossible, then you should focus on looking at what your golf swing produced. This means looking at the flight of your golf ball and the mark that the golf club leaves on the golf course.

Observing the ball continuously is impossible because the golf ball does not stay in the air for an extended period of time. However, your golf divot will still be there for a long time and it can provide lots of information regarding your golf swing.

  • Divot Direction

Your golf divot will point to the straight, to the right, or to the left.  If the divot is pointing towards the left for right-handed golfers, it simply means that your golf swing path comes from the outside towards the inside, a path that mainly produces a swing. If your divot points to the right then it means that you are swinging inside towards the outside, a path that generates a hook.

If the divot points straight but the golf ball goes one direction or another, then it means that the clubface is not square. If the ball goes right for right-handed players, then the clubface is open and if it goes left, then it simply means that your clubface is closed. You need to take some golf swings so that you can watch the flight of your golf ball to help you make the required adjustments to your swing.

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  • Divot Depth


If you want more details regarding your angle of attack, you can get this from the depth of your divot. Usually, a divot should not be over an inch deep. Naturally, the golf swing tends to be shallower when using longer clubs. Therefore, the divots you take using wedges and shorter irons will be deeper compared to the divots you will take when using your longer irons.

If you notice that you are not taking a divot, then it means that your golf swing is extremely shallow. However, if you are taking out big chunks of turf with each swing you make, then it meets your golf swings are too steep. To rectify this problem, you need to check the flight of your golf ball, check your tinker and divot to determine what works best for you.

  • Divot Location With Regard To Where Your Golf Ball Was At Address

Most golfers usually miss the actual location of their golf divot. If you notice that your golf swing does not make solid contact with your ball, then it means that the ball may be located too far forward or situated too far backward in your golf stance.

When you go to the range, ensure that you make a small mark close to where the ball is so that after hitting it, you can determine where the divot is in relation to the mark. Preferably, the divot should be at least 1 or 2 inches in front of the location where the ball was on the course. If the divot starts at the ball or behind your ball, then it means that you are likely hitting it fat.

If the divot begins over two inches in front of your golf ball, then it simply means that you are hitting your swing thin. Be sure to experiment with your golf swing by moving the golf ball farther backward or forward in your golf stance and check what happens.

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The Reasons Why You Should Take Golf Divots


Should players take a divot? Many average players do not take a divot, and some golfers will do but just before the ball. However, you should never fear the golf divot because taking a few inches of turf in front of the ball is an attribute of all the greatest golf ball strikers. Golfers should be making golf divots with every club they have in their bag, except the putter, driver, and in some cases the fairway woods.

There are several reasons why golfers should take a divot in their golf swing and this includes the following:

Hit Down on the Golf Ball

One major mistake that many amateur golfers make is attempting to help the ball get airborne. Even though this may make sense as you attempt to hit the golf ball up, it is not true. For you to consistently hit golf shots with your wedges or irons you have to strike down the ball and compress it into the turf. When you hit down the ball with clean contact, it will eliminate the thin and fat shots.

Falling or Hanging Back

When you take a divot in the right position i.e. an inch or two in front of your golf ball, then it is a sign that your weight is correctly transferred through the swing. Conversely, if you take a divot in an incorrect position, you could be hanging back.

This is usually where your weight is centered and it should be on the inside of the back foot on your backswing and stays there or moves further back on the downswing rather than moving onto the front foot. This makes the player fall or hang back on the golf shot. As a result, the lowest part of the swing arc galls far before the ball resulting in you hitting up on it causing the occasional fat shot or the feared thin shot.

Full Extension

When striking the golf ball, you must be in the same location as your address. The position should not be exactly the same since your weight must be further in front shifting to the front foot, while your lead arm needs to be fully extended at the same length as that of the address. Additionally, your rear arm should be slightly bent.

The lead arm should extend down and through the golf ball after the impact and create a minor shallow divot after the ball. The reverse of this position is where the lead arm collapses, while the rear arms stay bent or straightens. This is a common occurrence in golf and is referred to as “chicken wing.” chicken wing causes all kinds of golf swing faults such as a slice, a hook, thin, and fat.

If you have challenges taking a golf divot, then the chicken wing could a major contributing factor. This problem can be corrected by right-handed golfers focusing on their swinging with the left side of the body and then extending through the golf ball.

Improves Your Release

When you strike a pure iron, the hands should be positioned slightly ahead of the clubhead and the golf ball. This is known as forward shaft lean and is crucial for hitting down and taking an ample divot. This can be achieved correctly by holding off the lag or release which renowned players do until after the impact.

For you to take a good divot, you should have the lowest part of the swing arc somewhat in front of the ball. This ensures that you strike down and through the golf ball.

Fix Your Flat Swing

If you struggle taking turf when you are striking your golf ball, you may be having a flat swing. Most players can either have an upright swing or a flat swing and this is not wrong. However, when your swing is too flat it can result in nasty shots such as pushes, hooks, and lots of thin shots. In the flat swing plane, the swing tends to be more around the body, just like baseball swings. This tends to shallow the angle of attack and results in a more sweeping motion instead of a downward blow and making a divot becomes a challenge.

This problem can be fixed by standing more upright and somewhat closer to the ball and then taking your golf club straight back on the takeaway. This will ensure that your swing is more up and down rather than being around. This helps to ensure the angle of attack steepens and helps you to hit down the golf ball by taking a correct divot.

Golf Swing Tips to Help You Take a Proper Divot


  1. Cut off the Turf

Many beginner golfers, particularly those who play on well-manicured high-end courses are reluctant or fear taking a divot. Most amateur players are afraid of ruining the beautiful golf course. However, the turf was meant for hitting with your club and a divot is inevitable. You should just take a correct divot and then put it back after hitting your best shot, the turf will definitely grow back and will not affect the game of other players on the golf course.

  1. Go Down After It

All great iron golfers have what equates to a low spot at the bottom of their golf swing. This is known as going down after the ball and it is the point in the golf swing where the knees have an athletic flex and you accurately move closer to the ground so that you can hit the back of your golf ball first.

  1. Finish Your Golf Swing

Most amateur players feel their golf swing finishes just after making impact with the golf ball. However, for you to get the best gold shots and good divots you need to release the club head right through the golf swing along the target line. Always remember that the finish will affect the flight of the ball as much it is affected by your setup, strike, or downswing.

  1. Extension of Arms

You should extend your arms towards the golf ball if you want to take a divot. You should specifically keep the left arm straight throughout the golf swing for right-handed players and the right arm for the left-handers. By keeping the forward arm at a distance from the body, you can ensure that you will return your club back to the ball with the same distance that you started with from the ground. When you bend your elbow, you will shorten the club and your golf swing and will end up hitting the ball thin each time.

  1. Divot Placement

For golfers, it is a great accomplishment to take a divot. However, you will still encounter lots of problems if you do not take your divot from the right position. To ensure a good iron shot, you should hit the golf ball slightly before striking the ground. Therefore, a good divot starts just beyond the point where the ball was positioned and extends just a few inches to the target. You need to scrutinize your divots every time to ensure that you get the best results.

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In Conclusion

Taking a perfect and clean divot just like the expert golfers does not help you in making good shots. However, good iron shots always produce good and clean divots. The ideal shape of a good divot is like a dollar bill that points directly to the target line. The best divots should also be level to about 1-inch or so and not extremely deep.

There is a lot that golfers should know about divots. If you are not informed, then you are missing out on potentially important information that can be helpful on a round of golf and also on the range as you work on problems in your golf swing. Analyzing your golf divots is partly art and part science and players need to analyze their divot after every shot. With time, you will be used to your divot patterns and can easily notice when something appears different than normal.

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