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I don't take divots ever. I pick it clean, and if I don't hit it clean then I hit it thin or -- on my really bad shots -- top it into oblivion. Nothing like topping a 3-wood from the fairway and having it spin 100 yards, but it's better than chunking up 4 feet of sod and watching your ball roll six feet. I tried taking divots and found it so unnatural that it ruined my natural rhythm, so I just went back to swinging the way that felt natural to me. A fair number of the pros merely skim the grass or sweep the ball, so there's obviously nothing intrinsically wrong with not taking a divot. If they can shoot 66 without a divot, then divots are not a necessary part of the game.

While is is true that not every pro takes the big divot they do hit the ball first, have a proper angle down to the ball, and let the loft of the club do the job of getting the ball into the air. Where we get into trouble and lose distance is when we try to lift the ball and add loft to the club. Picking the ball clean works very well on nice fairways but can be problematic on tight lies. I play with someone who hits the ball well but takes small to no divots. Keep in mind that on an average fairway you are kind of taking a divot in that you clip the top of the grass off.
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While is is true that not every pro takes the big divot they do hit the ball first, have a proper angle down to the ball, and let the loft of the club do the job of getting the ball into the air. Where we get into trouble and lose distance is when we try to lift the ball and add loft to the club. Picking the ball clean works very well on nice fairways but can be problematic on tight lies. I play with someone who hits the ball well but takes small to no divots. Keep in mind that on an average fairway you are kind of taking a divot in that you clip the top of the grass off.

Point taken. I do have trouble on courses with really tight lies. I think my problem is that I learned off of mats (on top of concrete) and I didn't like the feeling of smacking the ground with my clubs and, therefore, learned to pick via the aversion method. I've been consciously trying to hit down on the ball recently as if I were pitching and it's made me more consistent.

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