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Picker or digger?

Benjamin T

Now that tournament season is over, I am really working hard with my pro to re-vamp my swing. I have it down to a good one plane swing, but on a good shot I pick the ball clean. I would really love to start taking divots. Not necessarily the giant 2 foot ones, just a little bit of grass. I feel like that would help eliminate my biggest miss hit - the skinny shot. My pro says that it is fine that I don't take divots and that I shouldn't worry about it if I am hitting the ball solid. Do you take divots or do you pick it clean? Does it really matter? What would you prefer to do?

10 Replies

  1. scott a

    I'm a big time digger. It gets to be a problem on wet days and having too much spin at times. But it's natural for me and I don't mess with it much. Are you thinning the ball too often? Getting the bite you need on the greens?

  2. Benjamin T

    I am pretty happy with my ball striking, but when I get nervous down the stretch I would like to be able to take a divot, so I don't that many thin shots. When I get nervous I tend to be quick and hit it skinny.
  3. Don O

    The Shark was a picker and he did ok - and the groundskeepers loved him.  Steve Stricker doesn't often take much of a divot.  Taking a divot with a steeper angle of attack won't stop thin or fat shots.  But then you'd be developing as much of a new swing as the ones famous on tour for changing and with not always better outcomes.  Hitting thin is a swing fault that can be corrected regardless of being a picker or digger.

    I'm comfortable picking.  I'll use a steeper angle in a deep lie in the rough, but only because picking is impossible.  The steeper angle is only next to impossible without working on it more.

  4. Allen L

    Do you take divots or do you pick it clean?  Depends on the course.  Where I live there are plenty of what I call "Hard" courses.  Hard pan underneath the grass, bald spots in the summer, you just have to learn to pick the ball because if you hit down to the hard soil, mostly sun baked clay, it can be a little painful.  These courses are predominately rye and bluegrass with a fair amount of crabgrass.  There are also "Soft" courses in my area that are sodded, nice thick bent grass fairways, on those I take divots, 6 iron down through the wedges.

    Does it really matter?  For me, being able to pick is a good thing, so is being able to play taking divots.  My thinking is that its harder to make pick shots, so you have the hard part done.  To me taking a divot is more natural and easier.  Recently I traveled down to play Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Trail.  In Mobile they get lots of rain and I played in light rain one day for 18 holes, being able to pick came in handy.  In Birmingham I had dryer play and I was slinging divots on all of my approaches shooting for the cup when possible.  In my case, I'm more confident hitting greens when taking a divot.

    What would you prefer to do?  I prefer to take divots but I'm glad that I can pick when I need to.  Playing a wedge from 60 - 100 out and knowing that taking the divot helps to generate backspin to stop the ball is fun.  But having the pick shot in your game comes in handy and is fun just knowing you can pull it off when needed.  Your pro should be able to get you underway with short game divots in a lesson or two.  Good subject for a Tips From The Tour videos, Divots ...

  5. AJAR

    I find that if you keep your lower half as steady as possible there is less chance you'll come out of your posture and lift. With approach shots with 9-iron or wedges 3/4 swings and steady lower body breeds accuracy. I've noticed Strick is very steady below his belt. 

  6. Todd T

    Digger that needs all the bounce I can get! Picking it never seems like an option, as I skull everything! Hope Vokey can help straighten it out!

  7. andy r

    I am a picker as well, take very few divots even with PW or SW. I have a very high natural ball flight.

    Try not to sway on your back swing although I am sure your pro has stressed that to eliminate the occasional skull. Posture and covering the ball with my chest is something that my instructor is always reminding me.

    I hit the ball fairly well with my irons and Fairway woods, it's my driver where the high ball flight /picking seem to affect my distance.

    As with everything else in this great game it's a work in progress. Play well .

  8. Louis M

    I'm a picker and would love to take divots. When I "try" to make one, it turns into a swing thought and I don't strike the ball crisply.

    Hopefully it'll come over time, but I'm not stressing it at all. 

  9. Ruben A

    I'm going to say it depends.  If you are a picker because you flip through impact, that's something you'll want to fix.  I have been working on improving lag and impact position and have gone from a consistent picker to taking small divots most of the time and would not go back.  The change has given me more distance, more spin and more consistency.

  10. Carl T

    I have been a sweeper (picker) all my golf life. I quit playing for about 20 years and when I started playing again I developed tendinitis in my elbow. This led to me to try not to take a divot. I still take a divot with my short irons down to a 9 but just feel comfortable with the sweeping from a 7 down to my 3 wood. One advantage is that fairway bunkers are no challenge for pickers as this is just another ball lie on the course and hybrid and fairway woods are also easy to hit. I rarely hit the ball thin but if I had my 'druthers' I would rather hit it thin than fat. 

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