Golf Digest editors picks

Compress the ball

For crisper iron shots, try to trap it against the turf


PINCH IT: Turn the knuckles of your top hand to the ground through impact.

Stephen Szurlej

March 2007

Most great iron players have at least one thing in common: They take a divot, whether the ball is teed up or on the turf. And it usually comes from a shallow angle of attack, which produces a long, shallow divot about the size of a dollar bill. Conversely, high-handicappers either make a steep downswing and dig a crater through impact, or they don't take a divot at all. Both mistakes lead to inconsistent contact and poor shots.

To improve your ball striking (and your divots), try shallowing out your backswing—swinging a little more around you. That sets up a shallower angle into the ball and a long, thin divot. It also helps if you turn the knuckles of your top hand to the ground through impact, like I'm doing here. This is a clear sign that you're compressing the ball, trapping it between the clubface and the turf, which will result in a divot on the forward side of the ball.

Mark Soltau is a contributing editor to Golf Digest and the editor of

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