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How to Fix Divots in Golf

One of the rare things that beginning and professional golfers have in common is that they both take a chunk of grass out of the ground during their swings. That chunk of grass is what’s known in golf as a divot. But, there’s a big difference between the divots made by beginners and the divots made by professional golfers. The difference is timing.

Divots can be made either before or after impact with the golf ball. The pros’ divots are always made after impact with the ball, signaling the proper descending action of iron and wedge shots. If you hit the ground before you hit the ball, you’re making the wrong kind of divot. In either case, whenever you create a divot on a golf course, it’s your job to fix it.

Reasons to Fix Divots

You shouldn’t need encouragement to fix your own divots. But just for the sake of knowing, there are legitimate reasons why golfers are expected to replace the turf they take out of the golf course. Here are some of the most important reasons:

Golf Etiquette

Golf etiquette is the way you behave on a golf course. It involves everything from raking sand bunkers to staying quiet while other golfers hit their shots. Fixing your own divots and any other divots you happen to notice, time permitting, is part of proper golf etiquette.

Golf Course Maintenance

Do the greenskeepers and maintenance workers at your golf course a huge favor by fixing your own divots. It’s a lot of work to keep those fairways green and clean, and doing your small part can make a huge impact on the success of the golf course.

Empathy & Golf Karma

This sort of goes hand-in-hand with golf etiquette, but think of the divot you’ve made from another golfer’s point of view. There will be many instances where your perfect drive down the center of the fairway ends up sitting in an unrepaired divot. It’s not fair, but the rule is that you have to play the ball as it lies. Just think of the frustration you can save other golfers by repairing your divots, and don’t be surprised to see some good golf karma come your way.

Fixing a Divot

Now that you know what a divot is and why you should fix it, you need to know how to properly repair it.

Depending on the golf course you’re playing, and whether you’re riding in a cart or walking, there are two different ways to repair a divot: Filling the divot with a provided sand/seed mixture, or finding and replacing the original turf you hit out of the ground.

Filling the Divot with Seed

If you’re riding in a cart, chances are you’ve been supplied with a mixture of sand and seed to fill your divots. You can find this mixture on the side of your cart, usually in a plastic container that slides out of the cart. Once you remove the container, here’s how you put it to use:

  1. Bring the sand/seed mixture to the divot you created.
  2. Pour a healthy amount of the mixture into the divot, filling it up.
  3. Smooth over the mixture and compact it with your foot.

That’s about all you have to do to keep the golf course in good shape.

Hot Tip: Keep Pace in Mind

Although repairing your divots is important for most courses you’ll play, another important thing to keep in mind is pace. Always check behind you to see if anyone is waiting before you decide to fix every divot in your area of the fairway. Though you may be doing it with good intentions, holding up the pace of play may be considered a worse violation of golf etiquette than passing over an unrepaired divot or two. Remember, fixing divots are important, but so is extending common courtesy to your fellow golfers.

Replacing the Divot

If you don’t see any sand/seed mixture on the golf cart or course, your next best option is simply to replace the divot you hit out of the ground. Here’s what you’ve got to do:

  1. After hitting the divot out of the ground, go find it. Chances are it’s only a few yards in front of where you hit the golf ball.
  2. Pick up the removed divot. If you blasted it into more than one piece, try your best to collect most of it.
  3. Place the removed piece of grass back into its original location (grassy side up, of course). Put it in the correct way, like a puzzle piece. Again, if your divot is in more than one piece, do your best to put as much of it back as possible.
  4. Step on the newly, reapplied grass to set it firmly into the ground.

Congratulations! You’ve just done your part as a contentious golfer. Feels good, doesn’t it? Now, go on to your next shot and hit a good one!

Make it a Habit

Fixing your divots isn’t a complicated task. It’s quick, easy, and helpful for everyone—it’s a real no-brainer. But you’re human, after all, and will probably forget to fix a divot or two here and there. Do your best to make filling or replacing your divots a habit on every shot you take. The life of your golf course will be extended, and improved! Other golfers and greenskeepers will appreciate it, and you’ll feel good doing it. After fixing your divots, be on the look-out for that good golf karma!

In golf, divots are the chunks of turf that golfers take out of the ground during swings. It's every golfer's job to fix those divots, and this guide will show you how.
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