Divot Board Review: My New Favorite Training Tool

Posted by on February 10, 2021  /   Posted in golf tips

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Since I started Practical Golf, I have tested hundreds of products in almost every category imaginable. Since my time is limited, I have said no to hundreds of others. Most of my & # 39; no & # 39; s & # 39; are for training aid inventions that continue to flood the market. Despite the interests of the inventor, most of them are rubbish and will not help you become a better golfer.

Golfers will try just about anything that promises to improve their game.

But every now and then something comes out that catches my full attention. Last year this was the Perfect Practice Putting Mat and the PRGR Launch Monitor. I never quite know why a product becomes a hit, but sometimes I try something and think to myself, "oh, that's a homerun."

This year I believe this product is the Divot Board.

I first saw the Divot Board when Adam Young, co-host of my podcast, posted a video to Twitter that went viral. He also called it "one of the simplest and best golf training aids ever made." For a guy who never associates his name with products, especially training aids, I knew I had to try the Divot Board.

After extensively testing the Divot Board, I have come to a similar conclusion. This is a fantastic diagnostic tool that addresses one of the biggest problems in artificial turf practice. We finally have something that gives golfers crystal clear feedback on one of the most important fundamentals of golf swing – ground contact.

In this review I will delve deeper into the strengths and weaknesses of the Divot Board. As always, my goal is to help you understand how this product works and whether or not it is worth your investment.

Ground contact is a fundamental

How your golf club handles turf is arguably one of the most important fundamentals of hitting the ball. However, it is rarely talked about in the education world for many reasons.

Another word often used to describe the skill is called low point check. To be clear, interaction with the turf and bottom check are not the same but related.

When you think about the club moving in an arc towards the ball, you want the lowest point of that arc to be in front of the ball. Adam Young talks a lot about this concept, and here's a picture of an optimal swing low point showing first ball contact and then grass interaction.

This is where professional golfers really excel. They can hit the golf ball first (in an optimal position on the clubface), and then their club will interact with the turf. If you see the training ground of a PGA Tour professional, you will see a neat layout of divot patterns after their session is complete.

One of the everyday problems for recreational golfers is that they have very little control over the interaction with the turf and control over the lowest point. Some golfers make contact with the ground too early, resulting in poor “fat” shots. Conversely, others will have the opposite problem and struggle with the "thins."

Whatever your problem, I consider this one of the low-hanging fruits of scoring. If you can improve the performance of your golf club around impact, many golfers can make huge jumps in the score . As I have written before, iron play is how most golfers distinguish themselves from one another in scoring potential.

Limitations of Artificial Grass

Most golfers do not have access to a grass driving range. Due to the high maintenance costs you see more golf clubs switching to artificial turf. As such, matting is the tradeoff we all make. In my 25 years of playing golf I would say over 95% of my range sessions are on mats, and I think this has had a slightly negative impact on my ground interaction on the course.

The problem with synthetic turf is that it doesn't give good feedback. You can hit the ground well in front of the ball and still get a desired trajectory. However, if you were in real grass, the shot might have looked like this (and traveled about 40 yards).

The frustrating fat shot

Therefore, golfers will usually adapt their swing mechanics to their environment. For example, I have a very shallow angle of attack and rarely take divots on the track. I think it's mainly because I've been beating on mats all my life.

Despite being an accomplished iron player, interacting with grass is the only part of my game that I am not quite comfortable with. While I have no problem taking heavy iron shots on the track, I still lightly brush the grass before making the collision, and if I'm going to make a mistake it's usually a flimsy shot.

After weeks of having the opportunity to practice on grass driving range, I noticed tremendous progress in my ability to get a more optimal "ball first, then ground". to get. And it's because the grass gives me the correct feedback with every shot.

This is exactly why I am so excited about the Divot Board. For the first time I can get unambiguous visual feedback as to where my golf club hits the ground.

How the Divot Board Works

Most training tools in the golf industry are either too complicated to use, don't give good feedback, or are just plain old boring.

The brilliance of the Divot Board is its simplicity. All you have to do is place the ball on the circle, hit your shot, and you get a clear visual indication of what happened. Here's a video with some examples of striking different parts of the board.

The mat has a strong rubber base with a detachable sequin board. When your club hits the surface, it clearly changes from green to white.

The rubber base is quite strong and absorbs shocks at impact quite well without being too heavy on your joints. The bottom is also covered with "teeth", which keeps the board in place.

This is not a swing trainer; It's a diagnostic tool (and a great one)

Most training aids are swing trainers (if that makes sense). The more popular products I've used, such as The Orange Whip, DST Trainer and SuperSpeed ​​Golf, try to get you to make a specific change to your golf swing with the way the product is designed.

While I think the Divot Board can help you, I want people to be aware that this is a diagnostic tool . As I mentioned earlier, most golfers generally have no idea how their golf club handles the turf while practicing. Even during my testing, I was surprised by my inclinations.

The purpose of this product is similar to why I support impact training – your first task is to diagnose your patterns and try the opposite .

But when you buy this product, don't expect it to tell you the how and why of your golf swing. For that advice you have to take classes.

There are several things the Divot Board can tell you about your impact conditions:

If you hit the ground too far behind or in front of the golf ball
Whether you hit it too far on the heel or toe of the clubface
It will even indicate your swing path

How I Would Practice Using the Divot Board

As I said, the Divot Board is not a swing trainer; it is a diagnostic tool. But I believe most golfers can see improvement simply by paying attention to their patterns and making adjustments.

Noticing Your Cartridges

When you first use the Divot Board, your ground contact problems should become relatively easy.

When you see your club making contact a few inches behind the ball, your goal is to move that line closer and closer to the ball. Some golfers may have the opposite and find that their impact residues are far too much for the ball.

To be clear, I don't think everyone should expect to reach the ball first and then ground contact with every shot. Your goal should be to gradually improve your less than desirable swings.

I've noticed that I tend to hit the ground 1-2 inches behind the ball, but because my attack angle is so shallow, I get away with it on the court. But that doesn't mean I can't improve. I have noticed in recent weeks that I have been able to achieve two things:

When I hit the mat behind the ball, the Divot Board shows a much thinner pattern, indicating that it is a very light brush (you will notice that the heavier the contact, the greater the mark your club will leave).
More of my shots start contact closer to the ball or in a perfect position.

In addition, you will notice whether you are hitting the ball on the heel or toe of the clubface.

Fighting fire with fire

One of my favorite ways to practice is to play the opposite game. Or, as I call it, "fight fire with fire".

So, in short, my general advice is to find out your tendencies and then consciously try to do the opposite . I know that sounds very simplistic. But I believe you can improve your results by getting feedback and experimenting with your swing. Most golfers will see progress.

Practicing Without a Golf Ball

Another option is to use the Divot Board without hitting the golf ball. This could be a great option for players who can only do practice swings in their home, but cannot hit balls.

One of the readers of my site, whose son is a very talented junior golfer, performed this exercise trying to call up different parts of the board to strike.

New game: I shout where his impact should be in his backswing. pic.twitter.com/QR48LSgDjmekenen19459006]

– GolfSpy MPR (@GolfSpyMPR) February 1, 2021

Wedge Practice

I also think the Divot Board can be a life saver for your betting practice. I know that in my own game and with other golfers, ground contact with wedges is a major problem. I spent a lot of time making chipshots and pitchshots with the Divot Board and found it valuable (and eye opening).

Most big wedge players have a shallow attack angle, generate sharp contact with the ball and then lightly brush the turf. You can diagnose that contact by seeing a thinner, shorter white line with the Divot Board. You want to avoid taking larger divots, which you would notice by seeing wider, larger divot patterns on the board.

Things to Know Before You Buy

While I absolutely love this product, and I expect it to be an essential part of my exercise routine, there are some things to keep in mind.

It is lifted from the strike surface

The Divot Board is located approximately 3/8 ″ above the club face. At first I thought this was a minor drawback, as I preferred to hit off a flat surface. The inventor has plans to make an integrated mat, but I came up with a solution because the mat I'm using has a removable hitting surface.

Having said that, I didn't notice a big difference in my impact patterns, whether I hit a flat surface or used the Divot Board that was disdainfully above my point of view. There are a number of possible workarounds you can create:

You could raise the area where you stand by the same height (don't ask me I'm the least handy person in the world)
If you are in the area or at home, the Divot Board can have a similar height to the mat. So if space permits, you can place it next to the mat.

It will eventually wear out

Any product that measures ground interaction has an unfortunate downside. It won't last forever. When you buy the Divot Board, the included pamphlet will meet your expectations for its durability.

One thing that all users will experience is that you will see some wear and tear quite quickly. However, this is normal and does not affect the visual feedback it provides .

Here's the tricky part. Because this product is so new, it is difficult to predict how long it will last. Based on your speed and how steep your swing is, golfers will see different results. A good rule of thumb is to expect anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 shots. However, some golfers are still going strong with about 6,000 shots I'm told.

So if you're someone who swings hard and hits it pretty hard, you probably won't live with it as long. Conversely, those with slower swing speeds and shallower angles of attack will have a longer life.

When the tiny sequins come off the mat, you know it's time to replace them. The good news is you don't have to replace the entire board. The Divot Board has removable inserts, which you can see in this video.

As a result I don't think you will hit all your shots in every range session with the Divot Board . And I don't think you should either.

It is not cheap and there are ongoing costs

The Divot Board currently costs $ 119.99, which is on par with many other training aids. But one thing to consider is that you will need to purchase a replacement from time to time depending on how often you use it and your swing speed / ground interaction. The replacement pads cost $ 39.99.

In my opinion, if you are looking for a training aid, this may be one of the best investments on the market right now. Most products that golfers buy collect dust after several uses. However, I don't think that will be the case for you with the Divot Board.

In a perfect world, it wouldn't cost that much and would not have a recurring fee. But it's one of the few major product drawbacks I can think of.

Divot Board vs. Acu-Strike

The Divot Board is not the first product to measure ground contact. Acu-Strike has been out since 2019 and won Best New Product at the PGA Merchandise Show.

I bought an Acu-Strike (watch out for the cheap imitations on Amazon) from their website to compare performance. Spoiler alert – I don't think it's as strong as a product.

To begin with, the Acu-Strike sits much higher off the ground than the Divot Board.

While I didn't think it was much of an annoyance with the Divot Board, the height of the Acu-Strike was problematic in my opinion. They do sell a "height leveling mat," but it costs an additional $ 40.

I also noticed that the bottom surface of the Acu-Strike does not "stick" to the mat. They do offer a Velcro attachment, but I found that didn't stay in place as well as the bottom of the Divot Board.

In addition, and more importantly, the Acu-Strike provided no clear feedback from my ground contact . The color change is minimal and sometimes hardly noticeable.

I found the feedback on the Acu-Strike much less visible.

Last but not least I spoke to several people who have used the Acu-Strike over the long term. Almost all of them told me about sustainability issues. A golfer with a much steeper swing told me that the Acu-Strike's surface was cracked after 100 shots.

So while the Acu-Strike is $ 50 cheaper upfront, it is very likely that the running costs of using that product will be higher if you plan on using it for the long haul.

That's not to say the Acu-Strike isn't a good feedback tool; I still believe it is. However, when I consider the clarity of feedback, level issues, and possible running costs due to a lack of durability, I think the Divot board is a stronger choice.

This is my new favorite training tool

No training aid is perfect, and many of them have serious flaws. The Divot Board is no different. While I think the upfront investment and running costs might be a bit high (no pun intended), there are significant benefits to using this product. Over 99% of the other inventions I've seen come and go over the years.

As I said before, it is not often that a product catches my attention in this category. Few also make it to my personal exercise routine. So I think my ultimate stamp of approval for the Divot Board is to use it for the long haul . I still have a number of ways to improve my ground contact, and in the short time I've been using it, I've already seen an improvement in my patterns.

Unfortunately, like many other products at the moment, there are problems with production from abroad. Every time a new shipment arrives, the Divot Board sells out pretty quickly. I have collected a small inventory for Practical Golf readers that you can purchase here (while supplies last).

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