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  • Pro Tip: How to Read Your Divots

    Pro Tip: How to Read Your Divots

    Knowing how to read your golf divots is a great asset for any golfer looking to recognize patterns on the driving range or adapt on the fly on the golf course. Golfers take divots with irons and wedges, hitting down on the ball - or compressing it - to get the ball in the air.

    The size of your divot is great for understanding how you attack the golf ball, also known as your attack angle. The shape and direction of your divot can also reveal golf swing or club issues that, when corrected, bring you more success on the course.

    Below are some common divot patterns and signs to look for in order to up your game. It’s always important to note the ball flight after each shot in order to properly diagnose your golf swing issue.


    Golf Divots Explained

    Divot Image

    There are two main golf swing types in terms of divots: sweepers and diggers. Sweepers take a very small, shallow divot or simply sweep the grass. Diggers take a deep divot that could sometimes double as a drainage ditch.

    Neither swing type is right or wrong, it just reflects how your club comes into the golf ball at impact. A shallow divot means you are coming into the ball at a shallower angle, sweeping it off of the ground. A deep divot means you are coming in steeper.

    You generally do want to have a divot, as it means you are compressing the ball. This means you’re giving it optimal launch and spin conditions to gain you distance, accuracy and consistency.

    Divot Direction Can Determine Swing Path and Clubface at Impact

    The direction of your divot is the line running back to front and its relation to your intended target line. Ideally, the divot direction should align with the target line. Keep in mind, if you’re playing a draw or fade, your target line may not necessarily be the flag as you may be starting the ball to the right or left of its final destination.

    Divot Direction

    The most common error right-handed golfers make is creating a divot that runs from right to left of the intended line. This means you are coming over the top of the ball, or your downswing is above the swing plane. The resulting shot is either a slice or a pull hook, depending on the position of the clubface at impact.

    The opposite is true with a left-to-right divot - you may notice some pushes or draws depending on your clubface.

    There are many reasons why a divot direction is what it is. Being able to identify this flaw gets you halfway to the solution. However, you should visit your local PGA Professional to diagnose the exact cause and come up with a plan for a solution as there are many tactics to fix certain swing issues; it’s much better to find the one swing thought that works for your particular swing than try a bunch and confuse your body.

    Golf Divot Shape Points Out Potential Lie Angle Changes

    The shape of your divots teaches you a lot, too. To study the shape of your golf divots, look at the bottom surface where the grass has been removed. A proper divot is flat on the bottom, as the club has struck the ground properly. If the toe side or heel side of the divot is deeper than the other, that signals potential issues.

    Slice or Pull

    One issue with uneven divots is that your golf club’s lie angle is either too upright or too flat. The club comes into impact either toe up or down. This improper impact position causes left or right ball flight. To fix this, have your local PGA Professional check the lie angle of your clubs and get them adjusted accordingly.

    Note that over time, the lie angle of your golf clubs will change due to repeated impact with the ground. This is especially true if your irons are softer and forged irons. It is a good idea to have your lie angles checked at least once a year so they can be adjusted back to your original setup.

    The other issue that comes from an uneven divot shape relates to the golf swing. Divots that are deeper on the heel side tell you the swing was flatter. Divots with deeper on the toe side signal an over-the-top motion. A visit to see your golf instructor will get these swing issues diagnosed and fixed.

    Setting Up to Read Your Divots

    Understanding how to read the direction and shape of your divots help you self-diagnose what happened with a shot. While it’s an easier lift effort- and time-wise to see a local coach to specifically diagnose why your golf swing path or clubface is doing what it’s doing, knowing your divots’ patterns and typical ball flight will go a long way in helping your instructor off the bat.

    To make the divot patterns and signs clear, set up a practice station at the driving range. We recommend placing two alignment sticks parallel to one another so that the middle section lines up to your target. Start hitting balls at the front of the section and move back, creating a nice long line.

    Not only will you see where your golf divots are trending, but you’ll also help the golf course superintendent and team better manage the turf and have it grow back faster. As an added bonus, practicing with alignment tools will allow your body and eyes to adjust to proper aim, which will likely solve some swing issues and help you hit truer shots on the golf course.

    Divot golf accessories and training aids are the perfect addition to your golf bag. With these high-quality products at a low price, you’ll have all the tools you need to start diagnosing your golf swing and fixing your alignment.