NCG's Golf Glossary: What is a divot?
Here at NCG we pride ourselves on being the publication for the everyday player, so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to delve into the wonderful world of the golfing lexicon.
Sometimes the most obvious terms have the most interesting story, so you might find yourself an interesting conversation starter…
What is a divot?
A divot is the piece of earth that is disturbed when you hit a golf shot. It could be a single strip of sod or several smaller pieces of debris.
All good iron shots involve a divot being removed – that’s because you are supposed to strike iron shots with a descending blow. A sure giveaway that someone has caught their iron shot a touch clean, even if they deny it, is the absence of any kind of turf removal.
Not that a divot is any kind of guarantee of a good shot – we associate beginners and inexpert players of the game with removing enormous chunks of turf from the ground in an attempt to hit the ball.
How would you use it in a sentence?
“He took a divot the size of a small lawn.”
What are its origins?
It’s been used for centuries. Sometimes, and incorrectly, our American cousins refer to a pitchmark on the green as a divot. They are, of course, completely wrong to do so.
Any other business?
1 My personal favourite divot-taker is Ian Woosnam. The Welshman, winner of the 1991 Masters, to this day removes a veritable rug of turf whenever he hits an iron shot.
2 If anyone ever tells you that you need to hit the ball first and then the turf for a crisp strike, they are technically wrong. While well-intentioned advice, it is incorrect. Super-slow-mo cameras clearly show that a perfectly struck iron shot will involve some grass being connected with just before impact with the ball.