My Golf Instructor

Divot

A Divot is a chunk of turf typically the size of a dollar bill that a player digs up with their golf club after impact. A divot is proof that the player has hit down and compressed the golf ball properly maximizing distance and spin. It is proper to take a divot after impact with irons, but some players also do so with fairway woods. Even in the short game skilled players will make a small divot or depression after impact.

Divot Drills

Divot Tips

(Click on Title or Image to View Larger Photos)

  • Don't Practice Swinging at Air

    Don't practice swinging at air. You will get really good at it! Practice hitting something...the ground. When you are on the driving range try taking a divot and then start your next swing at the front of that divot and take another one going forward. Pretty soon you will have made a nice straight line of divots across the range. The superintendent will love you! This way, you will get comfortable with hitting the ground on every swing and hitting it at the right spot; in front of where the ball lies.

  • Lag the Clubhead

    For all full swings keep the club head behind your hands as long as possible to make sure that you hit the ball first, then the ground. When you lag the club and let it release at the last possible moment you are storing your energy and maintaining control. Remember, as soon as the club catches up to your hands and starts to pass them you are no longer descending and no longer in control of the face.

  • To Strike Down Move Your Weight Forward

    Make sure to have your weight over the ball at impact so you can hit the ball first and then the ground. If your head and sternum are leaning back too much your weight will be on your rear foot and you will strike the ball with an upward blow. This will usually result in a thin shot and no divot. To hit down on the ball and compress it, you need to be more on top of it.

  • Hit Down to Pop it Up

    Make sure to hit down on your pitch shots. Hitting down allows the ball to pop back up. Just let the club go down by allowing it to use gravity and drop to the ground. You don't have to feel like you push it or help it down. When you push the club you will often release it early causing it to bottom out too soon and then you catch the ball on an upswing instead of with a downward strike.

  • Hit Down With Fairway Woods

    One of the biggest mistakes you can make with a fairway wood off of the ground is to try to help them up into the air. This has the opposite effect and causes you to knock them down. What typically happens is when you try to swing up you also lean back or fall back onto your back foot. This causes you to catch the ball on too much of an upswing and catch it thin. Remember that fairway woods still have a reasonable amount of loft and to make that loft effective you need to hit down on them. Try taking a small divot to make sure that you are hitting with a descending blow. The loft on the face will shoot the ball up into the air for you.

  • Make Sure to Hit the Ground With Practice Swings

    Practice hitting the ground without a ball. Swing down and take a divot about the size of a dollar bill. If you hit the ground, then hit your shot. If you don't make contact with the ground keep trying to take a divot on your practice swing until you get one. Don't hold up play though!

  • Take a Tiny Divot When Chipping

    When chipping, make sure to hit down on the shot and take a tiny divot. It's important to let the club get to the ground. Be careful not to fight gravity or to try to help the ball up! Remember to get the ball to pop back up in the air you need to hit down to use the loft on the face. The loft on the club will shoot the ball back up into the air for you.

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)
Basics
- Course Management (82)
- Getting Started in Golf (75)
- Practice (66)
Course Management
- Club Selection (66)
- Equipment (107)
Driving
- Driving (68)
Putting
- Putting (127)
Rules
- Golf Rules (69)
Short Game
- Bump and Run (72)
- Chipping (82)
Problems
Ball Striking
- Chunking (79)
- Distance Control (86)
- Fat Shots (92)
- Flipping (48)
- Poor Accuracy (118)
- Slicing (48)
- Thin Shots (85)
- Topped Shots (52)
Distance
- Lack of Distance (108)
Putting
- 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
- Grip (65)
Setup
- 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)