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Swooshgolf

Divot Or No Divot

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Can you achieve all the same "benefits" of taking a divot without actually taking one? If you have above average distances, high ball flight and can stop the ball on approach shots, should you even worry about it?

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There have been plenty of tour pros who are more pickers than diggers, but you can be assured they all have inline impact positions (aren't flipping) and can hit it low when they need to.

I'm not much of a divot taker, but I don't always have inline impact because I struggle with a flip, and I sometimes hit it too high. 

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As a picker myself, from my experience the issue with not taking a divot has more to do with margin of error than quality of well-struck shots.

I lack really good low point control that the pro pickers do so I can hit nasty thin shots that are nearly unplayable. If I regularly swung with an arc that resulted in good divots, those shots would end up being slightly thinned, which is not as big of a deal. A small difference in the location of the strike on the face can lead to a big difference in the resulting ballflight.

I also have contact issues hitting out of deep rough.

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Weird thing is that my swing is steeper. I am shallowing it out some by getting my right elbow left of my right help on the downswing. I take  I divots with wedges but just scrape the grass with everything else. I see no reason to take a divot.

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Taking a divot in front of the ball, also means a clean hit on the ball before the divot. In that respect a picker is doing pretty much the same thing as a divot taker, with regards to ball impact.

I am not sure if the picker puts less spin on the ball, or not.  

Except for some wedge shots, I tend to pick the ball clean off the turf. If anything,  I will give the turf in front of the ball a little trim.

A big reason I pick the ball off the turf, is that alot of the courses I play in my area, are not divot friendley due to the very firm fairways. Sometimes those fairways are built on broken up conglomerates. 

I do use a drill that helps a golfer take a divot in front of the ball, but I have otther uses in my swing for that drill. No flipping of my grip is one. Another is to move the low point of my swing in front of the ball. I also don't have to deal much with fat shots either. 

Edited by Patch

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I tend to take a dollar sized divots on mid irons to wedges.  Only ones I don't take a good sized divot is 4 iron upward.

Having said that, I notice that my ball flight tends to be higher than my playing partners. 

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Picker.   I rarely intentionally take a divot.  Just the way my swing is and the majority of courses around here, used to be farm fields so they get pretty firm in the summer and muddy after a rain.

Divot or no Divot?  Whatever works best for you.

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Good discussion - however as a newbie to the game I am not qualified to make a qualified assessment of what is the proper technique. I know that for me I try to go for the scalp/slight divots on everything except the driver.  Sand wedges are totally different as I go for a good dig about 2" behind the ball - which worked well twice yesterday. 

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19 minutes ago, WillieT said:

Good discussion - however as a newbie to the game I am not qualified to make a qualified assessment of what is the proper technique. I know that for me I try to go for the scalp/slight divots on everything except the driver.  Sand wedges are totally different as I go for a good dig about 2" behind the ball - which worked well twice yesterday. 

So you're saying that you actually try to take different divots depending on what club you have? I know mostly divots are a result of an action in the swing. I just don't think it really matters either way as long as you have good contact, height, distance, spin,  etc. 

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1 hour ago, Swooshgolf said:

So you're saying that you actually try to take different divots depending on what club you have? I know mostly divots are a result of an action in the swing. I just don't think it really matters either way as long as you have good contact, height, distance, spin,  etc. 

Yes, I do.  It kind of breaks down like this: Driver - off the tee, if there is a divot, I need to rethink this game altogether; Fairway woods - a sweeping divot that is more along the lines of a pick; Hybrids (3h & 4h), Long irons (5i - 7i) - more of a divot (closer to a scalp the size of a dollar bill); Short irons-wedges (8i  - SW) - deeper divot  w/solid scoop;  i try to analyze the divot taken with the shot made to correlate what I should see and NOT see and hopefully learn to either repeat the good or not repeat the bad.  Have to say this focus on these executions has decreased the "fat" shot content by 90% or more.  

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On ‎2‎/‎15‎/‎2019 at 6:31 AM, Swooshgolf said:

Can you achieve all the same "benefits" of taking a divot without actually taking one? If you have above average distances, high ball flight and can stop the ball on approach shots, should you even worry about it?

After watching some of the pros playing Riviera this weekend. I saw some of them taking very little to no divot, while others taking dollar size divots. So I would imagine it would depend on the player and what they are comfortable with.  I usually take the dollar sized or as friends I play with call them beaver pelts.

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I remember watching Calvin Peete on the range at Perdido Key Golf Club back at the Pensacola Open sometime in 1986 or 1987.  He went thru the whole bag and never took a divot.  The grass barely looked disturbed.  At that time, he was one of the best ball strikers in the world - not long but very very straight.  I was only about 10 at the time, but I haven't seen anything like that since.  Nicklaus, Watson and Moe Norman believed in very shallow divots, if at all.  

Of course I take big honkin pork chops out the ground, but I'm working on that.

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I don't feel like I am hitting the ball solid unless I take a divot. I"m pretty much a small/shallow divot guy but if I don't take one with the 5 iron on down...I hit it thin. I can even take a divot with my three wood sometimes (and it actually goes further). Kinda like that Tiger Woods stinger shot. 

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Bucki1968 - I like that synopsis.  5i on down - no divot, not so good shot.  While I try to "size" my divots based on the iron in use, I know that I just need to focus on make solid contact rather than trying to "sweep".  

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On 2/15/2019 at 5:31 AM, Swooshgolf said:

If you have above average distances, high ball flight and can stop the ball on approach shots, should you even worry about it?

From your description, this sounds like it could be one of two things:

1) You could be someone with a significantly less steep swing than you thought, and you're picking the ball with an inline position through impact.

2) You could be flipping the clubhead through impact which usually results in a very high ball flight on shots that manage to catch the correct portion of the face. It's significantly less consistent, however.

The only way to really tell for sure which case applies to you is to take video of your swing. If you post it here we can take a look and help you determine whether it's a case of flipping the clubhead or just a shallow swing through impact.

That said, I take divots with every wedge and iron in my bag from 60* up to 3i. For me, personally, not taking a divot is a sign that I was either flipping the clubhead or pulling my chest and shoulders up out of the swing prematurely (for me it's usually the latter, I don't flip very often). If I'm trying to hit a high shot my swing will take a shallower divot, but it's always there and I feel it gives me more margin for error at impact. I can hit the ball a touch thin or a hair chunky and still get a good result, but someone who's a picker can only really miss the ball thin if the swing doesn't take a divot. 

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24 minutes ago, Pretzel said:

You could be someone with a significantly less steep swing than you thought, and you're picking the ball with an inline position through impact.

Right. It's entirely possible to be steep in transition and shallow late in the downswing. This one is me.

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