Divots in Golf

I believe that divots -- at least with irons -- are integral to great ball striking. It’s been my experience that most golfers are not aware of the importance of divots, or what a good divot should look like. Here is a detailed description of what makes up a proper divot:

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Divots are one of the greatest tools that golfers have available to help them analyze the physics they are imparting on the golf ball. 

Here are some simple pointers and facts about what your divots should look like: (speaking as a right hander)

  • A post impact divot indicates a descending, downward blow on the back of the ball.  This is imperative for good ball striking. I encourage all golfers to take divots with all full swings off the ground other than the driver.
  • A proper divot should begin just forward of where the ball touches the ground.
  • The deepest point of a divot should be three inches forward of where the ball touches the groundBobby Clampett in his book, The Impact Zone, states that it should be four inches, but that would mean the divot should be eight inches long and I haven't seen many good divots that are eight inches long.
  • The optimal length of a divot is six inches, but this is often effected by turf conditions.
  • There should be very little dirt showing in the divot, with just the 'green' or leaves being stripped from the stems of the grass.  Leave the roots behind so the grass can fill back in! Once again this can be effected by turf conditions.
  • The correct line for a well struck straight shot should be slightly to the left of the target (for right handers).  This is due to the fact that the divot occurs after the hit and at that point the club has already started to move back to the inside.
  • The entry and exit points should be square.  We want dollar bills, no trapezoids!

A Good Divot

In the above picture notice how the tee has been pressed into the ground.  This indicates that the ball was struck prior to the start of the divot - just as it should be!  I also like the fact that the roots are still visible in the dirt.

Firstly, take divots! Secondly, work to refine them, so that they take on the correct shape and direction!  When that starts to happen, you are playing some special golf!