There’s some confusion about divots. Should I make one? How big? Why? Many of the world’s best players take big divots.
Others pick the ball cleanly off the turf taking little or no divot at all. So what should you do? Golf instructors and pros seem to agree, if you’re going to take a divot make sure it’s in front of the ball.
Of course, you shouldn’t take a divot when putting. The putter goes back and through along the surface of the grass, ideally making impact on a slightly upward path to create forward roll on the ball. You also shouldn’t take a divot with the driver off the tee. The ball is teed up off the ground and you should make impact past the bottom of your swing when the club is moving on a slightly upward path as well.
With every other club in the bag, it’s okay to take a divot, even with your fairway woods and hybrids. That’s because with these clubs, you should make contact with the ball first, just before the club reaches the bottom of the swing arc while moving on a slightly descending path. It’s also described as “hitting down on the ball.”
To help golfers understand the concept of creating a proper divot, golf instructor Scott Yurgalevicz created a drill using business cards. “While practicing,” Yurgalevicz says, “take a few business cards and place them on the ground. Set up with the club parallel to the leading edge of each business card, and make your goal to strike the card’s leading edge, propelling it forward.
The business card now represents your divot, not outrageously long in size, but also not too thick either. Not only will it get you to concentrate on the point of contact it also gives you a visual for what your divot should look like.
After hitting a few cards forward onto the range, place a golf ball next to the edge of a card and again strike the business card. If done correctly, the card should propel forward as usual but your ball will also soar into the range.
Although there are a variety of other circumstances that cause divots to happen behind the ball (weight backwards at impact, casting, etc.), a proper understanding of what a divot should look like is a great place to start learning “how to hit down” on the golf ball.”