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Reading Divots
By Terry Koehler, The Wedge Guy

Terry Koehler has been in the golf industry for over 30 years and currently spends his days as the President of EIDOLON Golf, a small premium wedge company in Victoria, Texas. He's been blogging for over 3 years and has written hundreds of articles ranging from golf tips to equipment issues. His blog will appear on ClubSG twice per week. You can reach Terry to have your golf questions answered at askme@thewedgeguy.com.

I’ve written before about the desirable shape of a divot and how most golfers don’t really understand this aspect of ball striking, but an email from Pritchard D. made this topic make its way back to the top of my mind. Specifically he was asking about why he makes a divot with his irons, but not his wedges, which I’ll try to answer for him, but the subject of divots leads to much more examination. Let’s start with Pritchard’s question:
“Should I be trying to take a similar divot with my gap wedge as I do with my 6 iron? Or is there a better way to teach myself to control trajectory and shape with my 120 yds and in approaches?”
Well, Pritchard, in the perfect world, all things being equal, your divots should be shallower as you go from the wedges to the longer clubs in the set, to where you are mostly sweeping the ball off the turf with your fairway woods. All golfers are different, however, and some take deeper divots than others. As to your “problem” of taking little to no divot with your wedges, I’d start by examining the length and lie angles of your wedges as opposed to your irons, and you may find them a little shorter, which could contribute to that problem. Other factors could be a differential in weight and shaft material/flex. I preach daily that it is very important to optimize your short game that your wedges be matched to each other, blended to your irons, and fitted to you. That is the way to optimize your scoring with these important clubs.

On the subject of divots in general, however, they can often be the “secret” to issues with your swing, set-up and alignment. Here are a few of the things that I look for in “divot autopsies” that can help you improve:

  1. Starting point. On a properly struck golf shot, the divot should begin about where the front of the ball was at address. The ball is always struck first, with the lower few grooves of the face of the iron/wedge, and it is actually compressed into the turf a bit, before the downward travel of the club makes contact with the ground.

  2. Depth. I’m a fan of shallow divots, for several reasons, in no particular order. They are easier on the golf course for healing. The reduced impact force is easier on the hands ( I’m starting to feel arthritis in my middle and ring finger of my right hand, probably from the millions of balls I’ve hit). And a shallow divot is more “transportable” to all kinds of turf conditions – dry, hard, wet, soft, etc.

  3. Direction. Examine your divot after any iron shot that goes left or right of your target. If the divot points down that same line, the face was square but the swing path was out or in. If the divot points differently, it indicates the face was either open or closed through impact. Either can guide you to a quick correction.

  4. Evenness. I’d say a majority of divots are deeper at the toe side than the heel side, because most amateur golfers have a somewhat over-the-top path to the golf ball, the degree of which is typically in direct proportion to the handicap. If your divots are deeper on the toe side than the heel side, let that be a guide for you to shallow your swing path through impact to level that out. Or get fitted for clubs that are more upright, though that is not always the best solution.
So, there are four things to examine in your divots to help you improve. I’m sure you guys will have more things you’ve learned from your divots, and I fully expect you to share them with Pritchard and the rest of us. We’ll all look forward to it.

And Pritchard, you are the winner of a new EIDOLON wedge. Congratulations.

* The Wedge Guy's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.


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The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.


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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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