How to teach yourself to take a divot

Author: | Posted in Sports No comments

Abby Mann demonstrates an exercise

Use the rough and sand to practice hitting the ground as you swing.

Abby Mann

Overcoming a fear or fear of hitting the ground can be a major obstacle for both beginners and experienced golfers. Many perfectionists, or simply extremely nice people, hate makes a mess of the turf. Those who have had previous wrist or hand injuries are also hesitant and obviously do not want to be injured again. Both emotions are understandable, but hitting the ground actually uses the golf club in the right way, promoting center contact and allowing the ball to start high up in the air.

To gain confidence and become comfortable hitting the ground, try these two new practice areas instead of feeling frustrated on the driving range.

Walk in the sand

Hitting the sand is less daunting because of its soft, forgiving texture and visible feedback. Bunkers are also a great place to practice because the instant shows where the divot is taking place and the sound of the club hitting the sand also provides an audible check-in.

Abby Mann

Try this exercise:

In a training bunker, make a small tee out of the sand and place the ball on top of the tee.

Draw a rectangle the size of a dollar bill on the target side of the golf ball. (See image to the right).

Use a high-ceilinged stick, like a true wedge or pitching wedge, hit as many golf balls with a full, even tempo swing (no small swings here!) And see if any of the following apply to you:

  1. The club head only hits the ball and not the tee or rectangle.
  2. The club head first hits the ball and the sandy tee and then the rectangle while achieving a normal balanced end position with the club and body
  3. The club head hits the ball and tee while it is almost stuck in the sand. A full finish cannot be completed due to the depth of the divot.

Abby Mann

The ideal stroke is No. 2, where the club head hits the sand tee and the ball first, directly followed by the rectangle with a slight thump or bouncing sound. The club does not stick in the sand after the ball and it should not feel like an incredibly fast or powerful turn. The club should hit the sand enough to lose some energy, but also allow the player to have a high, balanced finish as if they were hitting out of the fairway.

Once you’ve gained confidence from the sand, try a few shots from the rough.

If your training area does not allow you to knock out the rough with a full swing, it is still helpful to use a chipping area and a small swing. The main goal to get the ball out of the rough is to swing the club at a downward angle for the purpose of hitting the grass root under the golf ball. This downward angle and hitting under the ball is more comfortable in longer grass as less precision is required. There is no scooping or lifting motion and the player can learn to knock the ball out of a lie in the longer grass without braking.

The energy from the swing should feel as if it is being transferred to the ground and not just the golf ball. In the training swing, notice if the club hits the ground and takes a divot or grazes the top of the grass. Remember: go after the root!

Using driving range, piles and rough to practice is a solid game plan to improve contact and accuracy with iron, and train yourself to finally take that divot.

Abby Mann is the player’s development and teaching professional at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa.

generic profile picture

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *