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Hitting Out of a Divot
Dig it Out

Learn how to hit the ball out of a divot.  Down in a Divot

When the majority of players struggle to take a divot in the first place, trying to hit out of one can be an even bigger headache. A divot is a shallow, dollar bill sized tuft of grass that is taken out of the ground by a player's clubhead once the ball leaves the face. In order to take a proper divot a golfer must have their hands leading the clubhead through the impact zone and the shaft leaning forward. This is a conundrum because most players want to instinctively help or scoop the ball up into the air. To hit down and dig up grass seems counter intuitive when they are trying to hit the ball up into the air. Yet with excellent technique and skill the world's top players take divots without even thinking about it; it's just automatic.

Nothing But a Bad Break

Landing in a divot is nothing more than a bad break. Called "Rub of the Green" by the rules of golf, it's just a dose of bad medicine that you need to take with a smile on your face. It happens to everyone including the best players playing under the best of conditions. You may have seen Tiger, Arnie, Jack, Freddy and many other PGA Tour professionals land right in the middle of a divot during a crucial moment in a big tournament. Even though the courses they play are in mint condition and tour caddies replace divots or fill them with a sand mixture (not fun to hit out of either) depending on the type of grass they are hitting off of, there can still be old divots left behind. Seasoned tour veterans know it's a bad break, but know it can easily happen and thus are prepared to execute the shot with the best course of action. Because their technique is so solid, like I said before taking divots is somewhat automatic. Therefore, when they need to go down after the ball even more when the ball is sitting low in a divot it's not as big of a deal as it may be for the average golfer.

Lean and Loft

The first step is to assess the lie. If a ball is sitting deep in a divot a long iron with a small clubhead and little loft may not be your best choice. A bigger head with more loft and more mass such as a wedge may be your best course of action even if it means laying up. The same holds true for a ball that is nestled at the front of a divot. Similar to being under the lip of a bunker, when your ball is at the front of a deep divot you are probably going to be better off with a bit more loft. When it's at the front you'll need to focus on hitting down even more and having a shorter follow through similar to a punch shot. If the ball is more in the middle of the divot then it's easier to make a more normal golf swing with a complete follow through. Either way hitting down is a must. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is leaning back and trying to help it up. To offset this try setting your weight a bit on your front foot and staying there throughout the swing.

Next, as our guest instructor Dennis Biedenstein PGA Professional stated go for lean as well as loft. Lean means it's important to have the shaft leaning forward at impact. This means your hands must stay in front of the clubhead and in the lead. Hitting with a forward leaning shaft also means the clubhead is still descending which enables you to strike with a downward blow. Keep in mind that although a forward leaning shaft is ideal for virtually every shot in golf, it delofts the clubface. While that's great on full shots and is the very reason tour pros hit 3 clubs longer than the average player, delofting too much is not a great idea in a deep divot for reasons listed above.

The Situation:

You ball has landed in a divot and you need to know how to successfully get it out.

The Solution:

To get out of a divot first take a very good look at the lie. This will help you determine the type of club you need to use and the loft needed to get it out. Once you pick your weapon go for lean and loft. Make sure that your hands lead into the downswing and that you strike the ball with a forward leaning shaft and a downward blow. Setting your weight forward on your front foot will help you with this. As long as you've picked enough loft and you hit down the ball, it should pop up nicely and advance forward like any other shot from a good lie.

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
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