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correct answer Strike it with a sharp, descending blow

Youre probably familiar with the adage, “Hit down to make the ball go up.” Its never more apt than when your ball lies at the bottom of a divot.

Before we get into the technique needed to extract a divot-bound ball, lets discuss the potential pitfalls of this shot. First of all, finding your ball in a divot is an absolute bummer, especially if youve striped your tee shot right down the middle. Its crucial to collect yourself quickly, accept the bad break and set about recovering.

Moving on, its time to assess the situation. A lie near the front of a divot (closer to the target) is easier to hit because theres room for the club to work into the ball. If its toward the back of the divot, you may need to use a club with more loft and make a steeper swing to prevent the sole from bouncing off the turf.

OK, now youre ready to play the dreaded shot – its not as hard as you may think. Heres how its done:

  • Use one more club than the distance would normally call for (e.g., a 7-iron instead of an 8).
  • Position the ball in the center of your stance, and bend your knees a tiny bit more than usual to make sure you get down to the ball.
  • At address, your hands should be ahead of the club, the shaft leaning toward the target.
  • Swing smoothly, taking a little power off to ensure crisp contact.
  • Focus intently on hitting down and through the ball while maintaining your knee bend throughout the swing.
  • The idea is to leave the divot bigger than you found it. Just dont forget to fill it with sand.

See, its not so tough. In fact, this is one trouble shot you can easily practice on the range. Experiment by hitting different clubs from divots, noting the balls trajectory and distance. Youll not only be prepared when faced with the shot during a round, youll become a better ballstriker to boot.

Believe it or not, hitting from a divot is much the same as playing a shot off hardpan. This video will help you master both of these troublesome shots:

Strike Down to Escape Hardpan and Divots

Seniors and women seeking additional advice should check out these video tips:

Can Senior Hybrid Clubs Be Played Out of Divots?

Ladies Hybrid Clubs a Good Choice Out of Divots

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If only this were the correct answer. Its tempting to remove your ball from a divot by using the trusty foot wedge, but its against the rules. Two situations where you are allowed a free drop from a divot: When it lies in an area marked as “ground under repair,” and if the ball or your feet are determined to be in “casual water.”

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Many golfers make the mistake of trying to scoop the ball out of a divot, thinking they must get under it to get it out. This inevitably leads to a fat or thin shot. Thats why its key to play the ball back in your stance, which steepens your angle of attack.

Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

The flatter (more horizontal) your swing, the shallower your clubs angle of approach into the ball. If anything, you should stand slightly closer to a ball in a divot to promote a more upright swing and downward strike.