06/23/2016

What’s the worst thing that can happen to an otherwise good golf shot?  Hit the flagstick and kick off the green?  Lip out a putt after a beautiful roll that looked like a birdie all the way?  How about piping a monster drive down the middle of the fairway only to have it end up in a divot?

“Unfortunately, it just is the way golf is sometimes,” says PGA teaching pro Todd Kolb, a contributor to USGolfTV.com, of the ball in a divot. “You’ve got to play the ball as it lies.”

As part of Kolb’s golf instruction video series “The Lesson Tee” available on You Tube, he says you can’t let the rub of the green rub you the wrong way: “You have to understand how to hit this golf shot.”

 

“Number one, grab a little bit more club. Number two, choke down on it just slightly. Number three, move the ball back a little bit, and number four, put a three-quarters swing on it.”

 

Once you accept that the bad luck is just as much a part of the game as the good luck, Kolb says you have to systematically prepare to play the ball out of the divot.

“The first thing to do is to grab a little bit more club than normal, so if you would normally hit a 7-iron from that distance, I want you to grab a 6-iron.”

Kolb says that way you won’t try to overpower the ball because you’re worrying about hitting it short. It’s also important, he says, to think about where you place your hands on the grip.

“Next thing I want you to do is move your hands down on the grip slightly; we’re gonna choke down on the grip a little bit so we can have a good feel for the golf club.”

With an extra club and a choked-down grip, Kolb says you’re now ready for what he thinks is the key move when playing a ball from a divot.

“Move the ball back in your stance a little bit,” he says. “What that’s going to allow you to do is catch the ball a little bit more on a descending blow, to catch the ball on an angle where the club is traveling a little bit more downward so you catch a little bit more ball first versus the ground.”

And now you’re ready for the swing.

“The last thing I want to tell you is this…when it comes to the swing, use a three-quarters swing. You don’t want to be trying to manhandle the ball out of the divot.”

And that goes back to Kolb’s first point of the lesson, “The little three-quarters swing is one of the reasons we use a little more club.”

So next time your ball stops in the fairway in a divot and you’ve got to figure out how to play it, Kolb says remember his swing-by-numbers method:

“Number one, grab a little bit more club. Number two, choke down on it just slightly. Number three, move the ball back a little bit, and number four, put a three-quarters swing on it.”   

“When you do those things,” Kolb says in the 90-second instructional video, “you’re going to be able to manage a situation where you take what was a good drive [with some bad luck] and put that ball on the…green.”

Now you just have to hope that your great recovery shot from the divot in the fairway doesn’t hit the flagstick and bounce off the green.

Ah, golf.