My Golf Instructor

Taking Divots
A Slice of Heaven


Don't ever take a divot? Not sure if your divots are in the correct spot? Don't even know what a divot actually is?...Then read on because you are missing out on the one aspect of golf that gives good players not only the control and distance they need, but that euphoric feeling of achieving absolute purity. A good divot is the result of a correct impact position. In other words...if you don't take a divot, if your divot is not in the right spot or if your divot is not the correct shape, then you've made an incorrect swing. Your swing did not bring you to a fundamentally correct impact position. Yes, it's true we can pick a ball off the turf or even take a tiny tuft of grass and get the ball to fly where we want it to go. We can also make swings that feel good and seem solid. Don't fool yourself! Rest assured, you would have had an even more solid feel, more distance and more spin if you had impacted the ball in such a way that produced a proper divot.

An Incorrect Divot Can Help You Diagnose Swing Errors.

Definition of a Proper Divot: A divot is a shallow cut of turf about the size of a dollar bill which starts just in front of where the ball was laying.

3 Factors of a Divot That Give You Instant Feedback are: Direction, Depth and Starting Point

  • Direction: Where the divots points tells you if you are swinging down the line or coming too far outside in or inside out.
  • Depth: Depth of the divot tells you if your angle of attack is too steep or too shallow.
  • Starting Point: Tells you if you are descending too early or too late.

Learn the Difference Between Address and Impact and You Will Be on Your Way to Great Divots

Learn the proper impact positionImpact Position

When I'm giving lessons out on the tee there are always numerous factors at play which affect how the swing arrives at the ball correctly, but the biggest mystery to most golfers is the position they should be in at the moment of impact. If I had a dollar for every time a student starred at me completely puzzled when I tell them that their address position and their impact position are two different positions, I'd have my kids' college education paid for! What I'd like you to learn is the difference between the two. As you can see in the pictures below, at address, I am completely square to the ball. At impact though, a lot has changed. The most important change is the angle of the shaft. At impact you must have a forward leaning shaft to descend on the ball and take a proper divot. Notice too, that my weight has shifted to my front foot. You can see this by the straightening of my left leg and the lifting of my right heel. Notice as well how my hips are open, but my head has remained steady and shoulders square.

The Situation:

You want to learn how to take a proper divot.

The Solution:

Try the Impact Pre-Set Drill. Simply start your swing in this position and try to get back into it before you contact the ball. I recommend to my students to practice this slowly at home without a ball to get their brain used to the concept and their muscles used to the feel. This drill is as old as the hills, but it works! An added tip: Always try to hit your shots as low as possible. Learning to bring your trajectory down will force you to lean the shaft forward so you can de-loft the face. This causes you to descend and take a proper divot after the ball. As long as your hands are leading the club head to the ball, you will be de-lofting and descending. That's what we need to take those pure divine divots and achieve maximum distance and spin control!!!

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
- More about Maria
- Golf Questions
Golf instruction made simple
Golf Overview
Overall Game
- Getting Started
- Equipment
- Golf Fitness
- Junior Golf
- Mental Game
- Practice
- Rules of Golf
Short Game
- Bunkers
- Chipping
- Pitching
- Putting
Full Swing
- Pre-Swing Fundamentals
- Shot Making
- Diagnosing Problems
- Driving
- Hybrids and Woods
- Irons
Playing Golf
Ball Striking
- Fitness (78)
- Course Management (82)
- Getting Started in Golf (75)
- Practice (66)
Course Management
- Club Selection (66)
- Equipment (107)
- Driving (68)
- Putting (127)
- Golf Rules (69)
Short Game
- Bump and Run (72)
- Chipping (82)
Ball Striking
- Chunking (79)
- Distance Control (86)
- Fat Shots (92)
- Flipping (48)
- Poor Accuracy (118)
- Slicing (48)
- Thin Shots (85)
- Topped Shots (52)
- Lack of Distance (108)
- Putting Accuracy (72)
Swing Plane
- Blocking (50)
- Inside Out (56)
- Outside In (59)
- Over the Top (49)
- Pulling (54)
- Pushing (66)
- Releasing Early (47)
The Swing
- Grip (65)
- Alignment (55)
- Balance (50)
- Ball Position (80)
- Posture (77)
- Setup (117)
Swing Plane
- Backswing (84)
- Controlling Trajectory (47)
- Divot (48)
- Downswing (67)
- Impact (103)
- On Plane (85)
- Path (84)
- Power (71)
- Shaft Plane (63)
- Swing Plane (112)
- Weight Shift (79)