would it be fair to say that there is an error in the swing even if you make nice contact and good ball flight but create no divot?
good feel and ball flight but no divot?
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Regardless of the few on tour who don't take big divots... Stricker does take a divot with almost all his irons by the way, any recent tour I've watched clearly shows it, other than the longest irons or hybrid clubs.
If you're not taking a divot, it's likely you're picking and hitting the ball low on the club face, and while you can still get good trajectory sometimes from this as clubs are very forgiving today. If you truly strike down into the ball the ball mark should be near the center of the face and you'll compress the ball much better, leading to better spin and longer distance.
Iron play is the one area of my game that can be pretty good and I definately feel like my best shots/best ball flight from 9-iron to 58-degree includes a good divot. As the clubs get longer though that steep angle of attack seems to yield less than favorable results. Maybe a little "smear" with a 6-iron and a flat out pick with a 4-iron when I have it going.
Wasn't Tom Watson mostly a picker or sweeper of the ball?
I find that for me taking a shallower divot helps me get a better ball flight and better strike on the ball. I do take a divot but when I am striking the ball the best it looks like i have just pushed the grass infront of the ball over. That is the most important part of the divot "when it starts". If your divot starts prior to hitting the ball your not gonna get everything out of your shots that you want.
I believe the ideal scenario to hitting an iron off the fairway, if you're looking to maximize carry distance and height... Going off my Trackman logic, would be to zero out your AoA on the turf and take little to no divot.
I believe by zeroing out your AoA, your increasing your Dynamic Loft and your Spin Loft would be decreased, thus causing the ball to fly higher and further.
I'd like to see someone who has attended Trackman University, or trained on Trackman or Flight Scope to comment on this subject.
A shallow AoA with irons only tends to really be noticable in the height factor of the shot. Yes, in theory, you decrease spin loft but marginal spin loft changes don't translate into noticable gains in distance. Attack angle doesn't have as much impact on distance with irons as it does with the driver. It all depends on the particular shot, a shallow AoA with long irons gives you a better launch angle, and therefore better chance of holding the green from further out, not necessarily fly further.
I've worked really hard at taking divots with my wedges & shorter irons. It's great when it works & I really compress the ball, it feels great - problem is, I can't do it every time & my yardages are all over the place. If I happen to just nut it & get a pro divot, it'll overfly the green. I'm back to picking with a shallow divot - dramatically better distance control.