How to Hit out of Divots!


You hit out of a divot by:

  1. Choosing more club with less loft for the distance
  2. Placing the ball in the middle to back in your stance (delofting the club)
  3. Putting more weight on your target side leg
  4. Swinging normally but stay on top of the ball and hit down on the ball
  5. Make solid ball then turf contact

Hitting out of a divot is never great for distance and accuracy, but you must have this shot for getting your ball out of trouble and staying on par.

Hitting Out of a Divot

Wouldn't it be wonderful if all of our shots could be taken from a perfect lie in the fairway? Unfortunately, from time to time (more often than we want), your ball will come to rest in the middle of a divot on the course. The ball will be down lower than the surface of the turf, turning your normal sweeping stroke into a nearly automatic thin or topping shot. PGA Lifetime Member - Joe Beck shows you how to hit out of a divot. For this shot, you will want a club with less loft than normal for the distance. This shot will resemble a fairway bunker shot.

Your address position will have the ball positioned in the center to slightly back in your stance, which will provide some natural delofting of your club. You should place a little extra weight on your target side leg. 

You will use your normal backswing. 

You want to keep your head and sternum forward over the ball to just slightly forward and on top of the shot. In your downswing you will hit down on the ball with a slightly steeper angle of approach.

You want to make solid ball then turf contact. 

These are the keys to getting your ball out of this divot lie. This is not a hero shot. Quite the opposite. This is a safety shot to preserve your round. It won't have the same distance or accuracy, but it's an important shot that you know you need. That's what I'm talk'in about.

A Sand Filled Divot

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So, you hit your ball in the fairway, but unfortunately, you found yourself in a divot. PGA Professional's Billy Ore explains that based on whether the divot is filled with sand or not can affect how you best escape this tricky lie and hit your ball cleanly. With a divot that has no sand, there's a few things that you have to do to make a good shot. Move the ball back in your stance a little bit away from the target and swing in the direction the divot is going.  

For a divot filled with sand:

  1. Play it like a fairway bunker shot
  2. Take one extra club
  3. Play the ball back in your stance
  4. Make more of an upper body swing so you can keep my lower body nice and steady
  5. Pick the ball right off of the sand

It Ain't the End of the World

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It's one of the worst breaks in golf, but it needn't be fatal to your score. PGA Professional Jason Laws shows you how to escape cleanly from a sand filled divot on the fairway. As usual, it's all in the setup and club selection. When you find yourself in a sand filled divot, you'll want to consider taking more club because the ball will come out a little lower and won't travel quite as far. Your setup should have more weight on your target side leg and the ball can be a little bit further back in your stance to ensure a good descending ball strike. Let the club hinge up a little bit early so you can have a more descending angle of approach into the golf ball. Be prepared that the ball flight is going to be a little bit different.

And remember, you'll find if you catch a little bit fat on a sand-filled divot you won't hit the ball as far, so take that into equation. If you normally would hit a 7-iron, you might hit a six on this shot.

So, these are the things you can do to salvage a bad divot lie situation.

Set up for success, take your medicine and move forward.

To the Rescue

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Top 25 Teaching Professional Andrew Reynolds teaches how to play from a fairway divot. He explains how you can use your hybrid to good effect from poor lies, like a divot. You will need to make a few small adjustments in your setup, such as moving the ball to be a little bit more centered in your stance with your hands a little bit in front. You might even want to tilt your upper torso just a little bit more toward the target with a little bit more weight on your target side leg. While you probably won't be hitting gorgeous shots from this lie, with this approach you should be able to make a very serviceable shot which can have you still playing for birdie or par. 

Yes, it's one of the difficult shots on the golf course. Not a very nice shot. It's the dread for most players. But letting your hybrid come to your rescue can be a huge relief. The club has a nineteen-degree loft and they're so easy to hit.

Normally you'd setup to hit your hybrid with the ball just inside your left heel for a fairway shot. But with the ball in a divot, position the ball in the center of your stance.  You're going to put your hands a little bit in front and tilt your body a little towards the target to allow the club to come in on a steeper angle of approach.

You're not going to hit pretty shots out of divots, but they're going to be functional, and it'll get you up by the green so you can pitch and putt for par.

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Billy Ore - PGA Center for Golf Learning & Performance
  • B.S. Business Administration / Marketing - Limestone College
  • Certified Aimpoint Express - Putting Instructor
Professional Experience
  • PGA Golf Professional – Capital City Club - Atlanta, GA
  • Owner / Operator – Ore's Golf Services Pinehurst, NC - Atlanta, GA
  • PGA Golf Professional – Country Club of North Carolina - Pinehurst, NC
  • PGA Golf Professional – The Club at Mediterra - Naples, FL
  • PGA Golf Professional – Grandfather Golf and CC - Linville, NC
  • PGA Golf Professional – Naples Grande Golf Club - Naples, FL

Originally from South Carolina, Billy got into golf by way of snow skiing. He took a break from college to live in Vail, CO and learn how to ski. Summer jobs were scarce, and a friend suggested he get a job on the Golf Course. Hooked immediately, he came back to the east coast and began a very rewarding golf career. He worked seasonally from Naples, FL to North Carolina where he focused on Golf Instruction, Golf Operations, Tournament Management, and Merchandising. As the technology in golf progressed Billy gravitated towards Custom Club Fitting and Instruction. With club members looking for more detailed club options, Billy opened a Custom Club business that specialized in fitting with thousands of options. At the same time, he helped highly ranked amateurs, Division 1 College players and Tour players work on their equipment and golf swings. He enjoys playing competitively and is looking forward to South Florida PGA Section events. At home he enjoys spending time with his wife (Amanda), daughter (Stella) and son (Marshall). For discussions on golf clubs and Instructions you can follow him on Twitter @billyoregolf. 

Jason Laws - PGA Professional
From the recreational golfer to PGA Tour players Jason Laws is recognized as one of the top instructors in the country. He is the 2002 and 2015 NSW/ACT PGA Teacher of the year, the 2016 NSW/ACT PGA Coach of the Year and 2018 NSW/ACT and National Golf Development Professional of the Year. He works with tour player James Nitties and many top ranked amateur golfers.

The Academy building is located within the boundaries of the picturesque Newcastle Golf Club in Fern Bay, NSW. Our indoor, all weather teaching bays allow lessons to be conducted no matter the weather conditions. We have access to all the practice facilities offered by the Newcastle Golf Club including access to its top ranked golf course.

Andrew Reynolds - Golf Magazine Top 25 Teacher 

As a coach Reynolds has an enviable reputation and is ranked as a ‘Top 25 Coach’ by Golf Monthly. He has been the Lead Coach to the England ‘A’ squad and is the Kent County Coach, as well as a former chairman of the Kent PGA. Several tour pros have been tutored by Reynolds including Karen Stupples, who was a junior member of the club. “We want to encourage all groups of golfers to improve so we hold group coaching sessions for juniors, but also for veterans.”

Reynolds does all he can to encourage juniors into the game. “The youngsters can join as long as they have a relative here and the under-twelves play for free on our six-hole par three course where they can learn the basics. But in general, I believe there are still too many barriers for kids to get into golf. We have got to work and invest in the future of the game.” Growing the game is important to Reynolds. “I sit on the club business development committee, and we do all we can in the pro shop to encourage visitor groups including putting them in touch with hotels and pub accommodation.”

He still finds time to compete and has qualified regularly for the Senior Tour.



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