How To Take A Divot

By | on July 10, 2015 | 30 Comments | Array


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Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

30 Responses to “How To Take A Divot”

  1. March 16, 2014

    Steven D

    Great lesson, Paul. Do you have any suggestions that would help those of us who practice almost exclusively on mats? Aside from the long, beautiful ball flight, how can we tell when we’re doing it right?

    • March 17, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      Glad you liked it. Thanks,

      If you are on mats you just have to feel if you are hitting the mat or not. I would be doing more practice swings and less balls. You should be doing this anyway using your practice time to work on your swing positions. Do lots of practice swings at home and work on your short game at the course. You could also tee it up a little and work on it with a hybrid. Then you are not hitting the mat a all. I don’t mind hitting from them but I am hitting it quite pure it is really doesn’t matter. If you are not, then you are going to get a little help from the mat. Again, use this practice time wisely. It is about the positions so stay focused and build a great swing. Then the shots will come.

      • March 17, 2014

        Steven D

        My experience has been that hitting slightly fat off the mats gets good results because the club glides along the mat and the sound at impact is quiet. I’m sure that different clubs and balls make different sounds but should I hear a clean “click” when I hit the ball first? Sometimes that turns out to be a thin shot.
        Thanks for the reminder about doing practice swings at the range. The other day, I was so happy that it was warm enough to hit balls outdoors that I completely forgot your advice about 3 practice swings for every shot. I’ll remember next time, which should be very soon.

  2. March 16, 2014


    Hi Paul. That was the clearest explanation of the reason for a proper divot, I’ve ever seen. There have been hundreds of articles in various golf magazines on the subject but I don ‘t recall the tilt being explained so clearly. On a slightly different subject, I wanted your opinion of allowing the head to roll up during the downswing. It seems to help me turn the hips and transfer my weight properly, alla Sorenstram. Concentrating on seeing the club hit the ball seems to restrict the turning of the back knee to touching the front knee position. Is this a “crutch” to be avoided or is it permissible to not see the club strike the ball?

    Thanks, Ron

    • March 17, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      Glad you liked it. Thanks.

      I just thought of exaggerating a little while ago. Now people can get it.

      You can roll the head to watch the ball if you are not losing your spine angle. I did watch one of the videos. It doesn’t look too bad. You really have to hold the finish and check it on every shot. Follow this tip:

      Hit, Hold and Check:

      Also, you arms are not stretching out enough. Just touch the back of the head splitting the ears to fix it. You can also dot he roll over drill. Get it hooking then straighten it out with the bod rotation.

      Also, taller in the setup.

  3. One famous golfer ,RALPH GUDAHL ,was known for “picking the ball Off the turf “and taking n

    • March 17, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      You need to give me a golfer from this century. I can only find one video of his swing from a bad angle. Looks like he is keeping his head very still. If so you won’t get the tilt therefore no divot. Tom Watson is a picker too. His theory is that you keep the head still. Keep it still you won’t take a big divot.

      The best thing you can do it not worry about it and keep working on the proper fundamentals as I keep telling you.

      You should not be hitting anything. You are doing a swing based on the right fundamentals. If you do the ball is hit no matter what club you are using. Longer clubs sweep. Shorter clubs are more descending.

  4. Hi Paul. I am really enjoying your lessons. Great divot lesson. I was told to hit the “Big” ball first (earth), then the little ball (golf ball) second and this would create a divot. I have not ever left a divot in any shot, but will give your lesson a try. Yes, I am quilty of over the top, looking up and sometimes missing my shot completely. Now with the tilt, I will do much better. Thanks, Mike M.

    • March 16, 2014

      Steven D

      Michael: Hitting the big ball first is called “hitting fat” and will cost you a lot of distance. I think you’re lucky that you’ve never taken a divot. If you had, the ball may have gone absolutely nowhere. I’m sure Paul will have more to add.

    • Michael ,
      Steven is right .The instruction is exactly the contrary:”Hit the LITTLE ball first ,then the big ball “.
      At least .that’s what I was taught !
      It does work!

    • March 17, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      You were told the wrong information. The ball should always be hit first then the divot. Maybe they told you this you were not taking a divot and though this would be a ay for you to actually get the club down to ground level. You want to avoid hitting. If you relax the arms you will take a proper divot without even thinking about it.

  5. March 17, 2014


    Paul – great lesson. Never ever thought of the tilt before I started your lessons. We still have snow on the ground in Iowa but will certainly add this to my list of moves to look for when I can practice. Thanks.

    • March 17, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      Glad you liked it. Thanks.

      I hope you are working on your swing now by doing practice swings. This is the best time to be working on your swing. It is not about hitting balls. It is about building a great swing. So focus on building the swing now. Then when you can get out there you will have a great swing.

  6. Hi Paul;
    If the tilt is overdone, will it not lead to a reverse pivot & fat shots? This was my biggest issue as a beginner. I wasn’t trying to tilt, I just wasn’t turning my hips.

    • Michael,

      A reverse pivot is when the weight moving from the wrong leg to the wrong leg throughout the swing. Too much weight on the back foot could be from a reverse pivot because the weight would be transferring back on this foot. If you are shifting back but just not getting off this foot then it would be just hanging back not a reverse pivot.

      Yes, you need to turn and get the weight off this foot. I have done tips on it here:

      Impact Head Behind Ball:

      Stop Fat Shots When Working On Moving Your Head:

  7. October 24, 2014


    Hi Paul — This tip on taking a divot is exactly what I need. I have learned to hit drives by rotating my body as you recommend — i.e. by touching my knees. This is working well and I have increased my drive distances by 30 yards or so. And, I rarely hit a bad drive.

    But, for iron shots I’m having difficulty contacting the ball in the correct location — i.e. sometimes I contact the ground first, sometimes I contact the ball correctly, and sometimes I don’t contact the ground at all.

    What do you recommend? Thanks very much, Chuck

  8. October 25, 2014


    Yours is the first explanation I’ve heard or read in 30 years that makes sense. Thanks. Of course this means more practice just when I thought I had it all covered.

    • October 26, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      Glad you liked it. People need to know why this stuff is happening instead of guessing.

  9. February 14, 2015


    I am a bit confused – in your full swing videos you talk about making sure we turn our hips and get fully to the left side versus sliding our hips. In this divot video you seem to slide hips forward as you turn in order to achieve the slight tilt – can you please show the full swing in slow motion so we can see it all come together.

    • February 17, 2015

      Paul Wilson


      Yes, I want you thinking TURN. This is because I know you are going to move laterally if you get to my “Touch the Legs” position. You have enough lateral to go on top of the second pivot point (your left leg). If you think SHIFT when are you going to TURN? Shift too much and you will slide.

      If I was too slide in the divot video my divots would have been too deep. The more lateral, the more tilt, the more descending the club, the deeper the divot (unless you buckle your arms or come out of it). I will try to do some swings in the future.

      There Is Lateral Motion In The Downswing:

      Bump or No Bump?:

  10. Nice to have put up this ” Divot” reminder on YOUR site ,Paul.When I started playing golf ,I was concerned about this divot taking .Not So now: for me the divot ,on the golf course ,tells me if m’y swing and shot are good .Maybe you could comment further on the length ,direction ( slightly to the left ),deepness OF the divot .One teacher -BOBBY CLAMPETT- bases his entiire instruction on the particulars OF the divot you take .As you say ,the divot is the result OF YOUR good or Bad swing :if YOUR FUNDAMENTALS are right ,the divot is OK.Another instructor – SEAN FOLEY – gives an entire run down on the direction OF the divot .All this is too complicated and worthless to the average golfeurs we are !KISS ….Go out on the golf course and just play golf .The divots Will take care OF themselves .

    • Raymond,

      Too many teachers are focused on impact. This really means nothing to me. The release point means everything as well as developing the right fundamentals and a great looking swing.

  11. Hi Paul,

    Great timing for this tip. My home course is very wet and the divot were huge yesterday. I was hitting the ball very well and wanted your feedback on a feeling I’ve been working with. The feelings is my shoulder blades forward and pulled down towards my spine. Not real tight but I’m cognizant of this position throughout the swing. This creates a good connection that allows me to drive the swing with my lower body and allow my wrists to freewheel. It also prevents me from chicken winging through impact since my left shoulder cannot pull back.

    I saw in your book that you talked about a tight feeling at address between your upper arms and chest. Am I getting this right? I hope so because I was very consistent and I shot 80 when I usually shoot 88 with lots of scrambling.

    As always,

    Thanks Paul S.

    • Paul,

      Not sure. By the description I can’t really tell what you are doing. To get the set up spine, chest and head position just go to set up and look up to the sky. This will give you the inward arch then look down to the ball. Not sure if this will help but it might be the same thing.

  12. Hi Paul,
    I have always picked the ball off the turf. Now I can’t stop my left wrist from breaking down at and through impact. flipping instead of rolling is a subtle difference and I see a number of other weekend golfers doing the same move. For me the result is high weak fades and thin shots. I think I have the majority of your swing technique down pretty well, but this major flaw is still preventing me from having consistent contact. I’m convinced that if I could stop this wrist collapse my game would improve dramatically.

    Is this topic worthy of a tip and maybe some drills to help keep the wrist flat through impact?

    Thank you,

  13. Hi Paul,
    Your videos are extremely helpful. I always felt like I was messing up the golf course when taking a divot…part of the “mental game” I need to work on!

    My question is; should a divot be taken with a 5 Hybrid? That is my “go to” club for control and distance.

    Thanks for improving my game!

  14. July 27, 2018


    What really confuses me on this video is that if you are leaning backward with your upper body how is it possible to land with weight on your left foot and right foot upright? I would be afraid that if I try to take a divot by angling my upper body to the right I am start experiencing a major REVERSE PIVOT.

    Please explain so that I can “Get it”


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