A divot is a good indicator of a good golf swing. Learn how to properly take a divot with your golf swing from renowned instructor Mel Sole of the Mel Sole Golf School at Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club in Pawleys Island, S.C.
A lot of my students have said on day one of my golf school, “Mel, I cannot ever take a divot. I hit the ball thin, or I hit it clean … very seldom do I take a divot. What do I need to do to take a nice divot?”
Well, first of all, what is important when you’re taking a divot is to make sure you’re hitting the small ball before the big ball. So you want to make sure that there’s the contact with the ball first, and then the ground.
The problem is usually that most golfers do not shift their weight correctly, so when they start down everything kind of hangs back a little bit, and so your sternum – which is kind of what I call the center of the swing – is behind the ball, and you’re going to hit more “up” on the ball, and it’s not a downward blow. The only way you’re going to take a divot is that club needs to be traveling downward when you want to do it.
Now, when I teach the pitch shots, I teach my students to automatically lean forward and get that sternum ahead of the ball. If you’re into that position there, then you’re always going to hit the (small ball) first, and you’re going to get your divot. But in a full swing, when I go back my weight goes to my back foot and my sternum is way back (behind the ball). And if I don’t shift my weight correctly and I hang back, then I’m either going to hit the ground (too far back) or I’m going to hit the ball on the upswing.
So, the sternum is the key. When you get to the top of the backswing, what you’re trying to do is move your weight from your (back) foot to your (front) foot – but it’s done with both the front hip and sternum moving forward. Now, you can see my head is not moving forward – I don’t want you to misunderstand this. From here, I’m shifting my weight and my sternum is moving forward. I’m putting my finger on my sternum so you can see it’s coming around, so when you get to impact, my sternum is ahead of the ball, my weight has shifted, but my head is staying in the same place. That’s very important.
Next time you’re on the range, put your index finger of your lead hand on your sternum, go to the top of your backswing, and then try to feel this move – try to feel everything moving forward, not hanging back. Once you can understand that move, and do this a couple of times where you just feel that nice weight shift with everything moving forward except the head … now transfer that to the ball (when you take your practice swing).
Because your sternum is going forward, the ball is going to be caught on a descending blow. The club’s still going to be coming down. And when the club comes down, you’re going to take a divot.
So for those of you who’ve struggled with taking a divot, do this little drill. It will make you a better golfer!