Having a grass area to practice on is worthless if you aren’t following the correct driving range divot patterns. The benefits of a grass driving range are undeniable. Practicing on this turf alternative is easier on your hands and wrists, and translates to on-course improvements.
Once you’re through the cold, golf-less Winter, it’s time to get back out there. In the early Spring, a grass range is wonderful. At this point in the year, grass is plentiful and you can work on getting your swing back into form. By July, unless you’re utilizing proper driving range divot patterns, you’ll be hitting off dirt. At this point, you might even wish you were back on turf mats.
Maintaining a grass range takes a significant amount of effort. No matter how conscious the golfers that use it are, it’s a large-scale effort. If you want to keep your grass range (or even your backyard range) in as good of shape for as long as possible, you need to know the correct driving range divot patterns. Keep reading below and we’ll walk you through the three main driving range divot patterns. This way, you can get the most out of your grass driving range.
What are the various driving range divot patterns?
If you walk onto any grass driving range, you’ll see a variety of divot patterns. To the untrained eye, it doesn’t matter. To a golfer that still wants to use this range by the time you’re halfway through summer, it can be infuriating. Knowing how to properly take a divot while practicing is what decides how long the grass area will last and how much effort it takes to maintain it.
On most grass driving ranges, there will still be turf mats. This reserve area is for when the grass is no longer viable or in need of repair. Make your life a little easier and read below to figure out the best way to prolong your time on the grass. We’ll start by going from best to worst. Granted, any greenskeeper will tell you of the three driving range divot patterns we highlight, only one is correct.
With a linear divot pattern, the first shot produces a full-size divot. After that, only a small amount of grass will come out with each swing. After that first divot, place the ball on the back end of it. Since you’re making contact at, or near, the back of the ball, most of divot would come from beyond where the ball was. Since this area is already empty, minimal turf is displaced.
I like this method for an additional reason, besides being the best for turf management. After you take a few divots, it will help with swing path and keeping you on target. While you won’t have the same visual aid once you leave the range, this will eventually translate to on-course success.
A concentrated divot pattern is not the worst, but far from best. When it comes to identifying driving range divot patterns, concentrated is essentially a giant hole where turf used to be. It looks like a crater and takes up a lot of space. The only redeeming factor of this method is that it’s relatively compact. Each shot won’t make a full divot, but they add up, eliminating that area from use for an extended amount of time.
What makes this less desirable than other driving range divot patterns is that it’s difficult to replenish a crater. In many cases, besides grass seed, it will also take adding additional soil. Taking care of golf course turf is already expensive enough, and restarting from scratch does nothing to help.
Of all driving range divot patterns, scattered divots are the worst. Every shot produces a full divot. By the end of a single range session, more space on the range has been destroyed than a dozen golfers using the linear method.
Turf recovery after using the scattered divot pattern is not difficult to replenish. But, it will have destroyed so much of the range it becomes unusable. The more golfers taking scattered divots, the more frequently you’ll have to change where you’re hitting from. Most golf courses with a grass range have limited space. Once that space is gone, not matter how good the grounds crew, golfers will have to revert to hitting off mats.
Driving Range Divot Patterns Takeaways
Taking divots correctly helps in many ways. The most obvious, you get to use your grass range longer and it stays in better overall shape. That alone should be enough to sell you. If it isn’t the benefits go even deeper.
The better golfers take care of the range, the fewer resources your course will have to spend on it. Less financial resources, less personnel resources. With more time and money to spend elsewhere, the overall conditions of your course will improve.
Your greenskeeper and driving range divot patterns
Having a good relationship your greenskeeper is easy. All you have to do is the right things around the course. Fill your divots, fix your ball marks, use proper driving range divot patterns. You don’t even have to socialize with your greenskeeper to maintain this relationship. But, getting caught in the act of tearing the course up is a surefire way to destroy it. Outside of the person serving beverages, the greenskeeper is the best person at a golf course to be friends with. Do yourself a favor and make friends with both of them.
Proper driving range divot patterns (off the range)
This article focuses on the driving range aspect of divot patterns. But, this doesn’t mean it’s the only place on the course it applies.
If you’re lucky enough to be at a place with a short game area to work on pitch shots, continue to use the linear divot method. Like with a grass driving range, there is a limited amount of natural turf available on these. If you use the scattered method, like many want to, it severely limits the amount of available space. It might help you round into shape early in the year, but without proper divot-taking, this space won’t be available come the middle of the Summer.
If you’re the type of person who practices in the middle of the course on random holes, this goes double for you. Don’t ruin more of the actual course that you need to. Golf karma is a real thing. Take a dozen divots around a green and you’re bound to have a drive down the middle settle in a divot shortly after.