Be a Divot Devotee

By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research

Be a Divot Devotee

Hitting your ball into a divot may be a bad break, but playing out of a divot is not as difficult as most club golfers expect. Based on the position of the ball in the divot, different techniques are required. 

Regardless of where the ball lies in the divot, always stand closer to your ball. This sets the club shaft more upright, reducing the chance that your club head will catch the edge of the divot. If your ball lies in the front of the divot, your goal is to nip it out with your regular swing. If your ball trickles into a divot and rests at the edge of the back lip, you have to dig it out, so plan for a low, running shot: Play the ball about 2 inches behind the center of your stance and choose one more club than normal. Choke down about 1 inch and swing abruptly down on the back of the ball, using an abbreviated follow-through.  

If the divot points left of the target, open your clubface to produce a fade back to the target and then swing down the divot line. If the divot points right of the target, close your clubface slightly to promote a drawback to the target and simply let your swing path follow the divot line. 



  1. Let the shape of the divot shape your swing. 
  1. Keep the majority of your weight on your front foot during the swing (about 60/40). 
  1. Make a complete shoulder turn. 
  1. Let your finish be dictated by the position of the ball in the divot — abbreviated for the punch shot from the back of the divot and a full finish from the front. 
  1. Think “hit down” and position the ball in your stance according to the position of the ball in the divot — back when it’s at the back of the divot and more forward when it’s toward the front.

TJ Article # 169 Photo 1

This looks like a bad lie, but since I have complete access to the back of the ball, I’m going to use my normal swing. Don’t improvise if you don’t have to.

TJ Article # 169 Photo 2

This junior player caught a bad break 30 yards from the green, and his only choice was to chop down on the ball to blast it out of the back of a divot.

If you’d like to study with Dr. Tomasi and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.

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