These are the keys to making a perfect divot with your irons
If you’ve spent any measurable time around golf, you know that all good players take divots with their irons. Yes, the swings might be different, but at the moment of impact, taking a divot is a consistent theme.
Taking a piece of turf with your swing — preferably after the ball — is often the sign of a well-struck shot. If you’re making proper contact with the ball, a nice, uniform divot will often be the result.
But how exactly does a divot get created? And what are the keys for making a perfect divot? For that, we turn to GOLF Top 100 Teacher Mark Blackburn.
1. Don’t get too steep
You must have some interaction between your club and the turf to make a divot (duh), but you don’t want to get overzealous in this pursuit. If your divots look like you’re excavating the golf course, your divots are too deep.
“If you’re someone that has one of those really really big divots that looks like a big pork chop, invariably you’re too steep on the golf ball,” Blackburn says. “You’re not delivering enough loft. You tend to flight the ball very very low.”
When you get too steep and create a low dynamic loft at impact, it can be difficult to get any height on your approach shots. This can make it especially difficult to hold greens when they are firm, or allow you to attack the flag when it is tucked behind some trouble.
2. Shallow angle of attack
You want your attack angle to be relatively shallow to keep from making extremely deep divots. Hitting down on the ball is a good thing, but you don’t want to overdo it.
“The best players in the world with a 7-iron are averaging somewhere between 4.5 and 5 degrees down,” Blackburn says. “They’re not excessively hitting down on it.”
3. But not too shallow
Like most things in golf, there is a thin margin for error when it comes to making divots. Get too steep and you’ll make divots that are far too big. But get too shallow and your club won’t interact with the turf, meaning you won’t be able to compress the ball.
4. Proper divot
Once you zero in on the proper angle of attack with your irons, your clubhead should begin properly interacting with the turf.
“That allows them to ensure that they deliver enough loft, but they have the ball control that they need,” Blackburn says. “What we want to try and do is imagine we’re taking a dollar-bill style — very much a bacon-strip style divot over a pork chop.”
If you can deliver the clubhead with a relatively shallow angle of attack, and get forward shaft lean, you’ll be able to control the dynamic loft and compress the ball against the turf. The result will be a nice, bacon-strip style divot.