How to Hit Out of a Divot Hole

Having to hit out of a divot is one of the more frustrating things that can happen to a golfer who is in the fairway. After all, you just knocked the ball right where you're supposed to hit it: in the fairway. But thanks to some rotten luck, your golf ball rolled into a divot hole. Now what?

A few simple tactics can help you put a good swing on that golf ball that is sitting in a divot hole. So first, don't get upset by your bad luck. But bad breaks happen all the time in golf. Now that one has happened to you, your chances of dealing with it successfully will be enhanced if you keep your cool.

So, how do you hit out of a divot hole? The easiest way to answer that question is for you to watch the video above, in which Butch Harmon explains, in only about a minute, the proper technique for playing a shot out of a divot.

But we can break down the technique this way: Hit down at the back of the ball and dig it out. Sounds easy when it's put like that!

What you want to do is make a descending blow on the golf ball. That's the goal with most iron shots, but it's even more important when hitting out of a divot. It's very important not to try to scoop or lift the ball out of the divot, but rather to strike down on the ball with a steeper angle of attack than normal, making contact with the ball first and then the turf.

The Technique for Hitting Out of a Divot

We're going to give you a technique that is slightly different from the one Butch Harmon demonstrates in the above video. You might find one or the other works a little better for you.

1. Set up with the ball positioned farther back in your stance than normal, center of stance or back of center depending on what your normal setup is. Take one club more than you would typically use from this distance (e.g., take 6-iron if you'd normally use a 7-iron), but choke down a little.

2. Put a little more weight on your front foot and keep your hands ahead of the ball. Use a forward press (shaft leaning slightly forward, ahead of the ball) if that helps you get your hands in front of the ball.

3. Now make your swing, and this setup position should help you hit down on the ball with a steeper angle of attack. (If you have trouble achieving a steep angle of attack, try cocking your wrists early in the backswing.) Stay down through the ball — no peeking! — and take a full follow-through. The ball will typically come out on a lower trajectory and roll out more.

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