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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Hank Haney on When to Take a Divot

When I found this article over at Golf Digest, I was fascinated because this is something I've noticed for a long time -- namely, that many of the best players don't take much of a divot despite how often we're told that divots are important. Hank Haney's explanation in Make a Tour-Quality Divot is a simple one that makes some sense of this apparent contradiction.

Patrick Reed taking a divot

Haney says that many weekend players take divots that merely slow down their swings without creating backspin. You can read the article to get all the details -- it's fairly short -- but here's the paragraph that sums up what he's talking about:
To make better divots, remember that they should be something you're thinking about only with a short iron in your hand. That's when you want to make a descending blow, catching the ball first. On anything longer than a 7-iron, it's OK to make a sweeping swing that produces little or no divot.
Now bear in mind that a sweeping swing can take a divot without sending chunks of dirt and grass into the air. The longer clubs make a shallower swing so they merely skim the ground, rather than digging deep. In addition, a sweeping swing hits the ball on a higher trajectory than a steep swing, so the ball comes down more softly anyway.

Or, to put it another way... While short irons and wedges may take a strip steak, divots with the longer clubs should look more like a thin strip of bacon!

And remember: Backspin is caused more by solid contact than by digging deep. Whether you take a deep divot or a shallow one, you won't get backspin unless you catch the ball crisply first.

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