Planning Your Shots Out of Divots

There needs to be a lot of thought put into this kind of shot. Why? Simple – a lot can go wrong. If you attempt the wrong kind of shot from a divot, your ball could head off in some unexpected direction, and you could quickly find yourself wasting several strokes on a single hole. Course management is always important in golf, but it is even more important when you find yourself in this kind of situation.

The first thing you should have in mind when you find your ball in a divot is playing it safe. You are already in a bad spot, and you don’t want to make things worse. As a good rule of thumb, pick a shot that you are confident will put you in a good position for your next swing. You don’t have to pull of an amazing shot out of the divot – you just need to position your ball so the shot you hit after the one from the divot can be a great one.

To help you make the right decision as you think about how to proceed from your divot lie, we have assembled the following points.

  • Don’t expect the ball to fly high. If the shot you are thinking of playing is going to require you to get the ball high up in the air, you may want to think again. It is going to be extremely difficult to hit a high shot, even if you have the design of a hybrid club on your side. A hybrid may be easier to elevate from a divot than some of your irons, but that doesn’t mean you are going to hit a shot that soars through the sky and comes down softly. This is still a bad lie we are talking about, and you are still unlikely to hit anything other than a low line drive.
  • Slash your distance expectations. Along with expecting to hit a low shot, you should also plan on hitting the ball quite a bit shorter with your hybrid than you would from a good lie. For instance, if you normally get 200-yards out of your hybrid, you may only get 150-yards or so on this shot. Of course, the actual distance you get from the shot is going to vary based on a number of factors. Sometimes, you may get closer to your full yardage, while in other situations you may be down as low as 50%. With experience, you will get better and better at predicting how much distance you are going to lose as a result of the lie.
  • Expect unusual patterns. It should not be surprising if the ball comes out of a divot and flies in an unusual way. For instance, you may hit a draw when you are used to hitting a fade, or the ball may be pushed way out to the right, even if that is a shot you rarely hit. Simply put, it’s hard to predict where the ball is going to go when it comes out of a divot. What does this mean for your shot planning? Simple – you need to give yourself as much margin for error as possible. Aim for parts of the course with plenty of space, so you can be off on your aim and still get away with the shot. If there isn’t anywhere you feel comfortable aiming with your hybrid club, consider just pitching the ball out of the divot so you can play your next shot from a good lie (hopefully).
  • Being cautious isn’t always easy in golf, as it is tempting to play an aggressive shot in the hopes of pulling off something incredible. More times than not, however, that aggressive shot is going to be a disappointment, and it will cost you at least a stroke or two. It is especially important to be cautious when dealing with a bad lie, such as when your ball is sitting in an old divot hole. While a hybrid club can help you get out of this predicament, you shouldn’t expect the hybrid to work miracles. It’s still tough to play a good shot in this situation, so be smart and remain patient to the greatest degree possible.