Range divot patterns on tour

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By Jeff M

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  • 30 Replies
  1. I've always been taught to hit in a linear divot pattern with 0.5-1 inch spacing in between lines, which allows for faster recovery, and this practice has been promoted at every course and practice facility I've been to recently. I'm curious why on tour a lot of pros hit in a concentrated pattern, basically taking a big square swathe of turf out. Old habits die hard? Does it not matter as much on the perfectly manicured ranges they use? Space limitations? I'm genuinely curious, because I feel like as tour pros they should be setting a good example for the rest of us. Maybe I'm nitpicking, but after working at a course with a tiny range tee (a private, member owned club), it was actually a problem when people would destroy the turf to the point it would take twice as long as normal to grow back.

  2. That's what I'm on about, I see what seems to be a majority of tour pros hitting in a concentrated pattern, ending with large squares of turf taken out as shown in the article. I'm just curious why they do not use the linear pattern that is best for turf management.
  3. trey b

    trey b
    Florida

    Thanks for the link Deno. I never knew that was the proper way. I always have tried to keep the most compact concentrated square. I will change my ways.
  4. Don O

    Don O
    Madison, WI

    Seriously?
    A. Will they using the driving range there next week (and the next 6 weeks)?
    B. When they aren't on tour, do they mostly play private clubs with limited rounds?
    C. They can move left and right more w/o having to move the Trackman by getting too close to it.
    While using a Trackman at TPI, I was given permission to not play nicely because "they know how to grow grass". The local university golf course's range is a mess after a PGA Senior event in June for most of the rest of the summer. At our level we need to help conserve the ranges we use week in and week out.
  5. Thanks for the reply Don, I was genuinely curious, didn't mean to offend.
  6. Wade W

    Wade W
    Roanoke, VA

    Can depend heavily on the type of grass.

    With bent grass, the linear pattern is much preferred.

    With bermuda, the concentrated pattern can be repaired pretty easily.

    All of the tour pros who live south of the Mason-Dixon line (which is the majority of them) are used to practicing on bermuda ranges. That might be why so many take a concentrated set of divots.

    WW
  7. Wade W said:

    Can depend heavily on the type of grass.

    With bent grass, the linear pattern is much preferred.

    With bermuda, the concentrated pattern can be repaired pretty easily.

    All of the tour pros who live south of the Mason-Dixon line (which is the majority of them) are used to practicing on bermuda ranges. That might be why so many take a concentrated set of divots.

    WW

    Thanks for the insight, I didn't realize the grass strain had that much of an impact on it.
  8. Frank P

    Frank P
    Port St. Lucie, FL

    I spoke to our superintendent here at PGA Golf Club and he says that he has no real preference on range divots, given that It's Bermuda grass on the range and at the end of the day sand is spread across that part of the range and ropes moved. We have a large double-ended range here with plenty of room, so given those factors, we have the luxury of not being so particular, though he did mention that if he were at a facility with not so much room and different grass and climate conditions, he would prefer straight line divots. As far as Tour pros, I spoke to 2 Pros who played on the PGA Tour who are playing in the Club Pro Winter Series here at PGA G.C. and as far as they can remember pros always took concentrated divots because they say it uses the least amount of turf. I'll say this, 30 years ago I watched tour pros practice and warm up at the Westchester Classic at Westchester CC in NY and every divot concentration that they took out of the turf looked like a perfect square that was cut out with a knife.
  9. Thanks for the reply and the information Frank! I imagine range tee space is at a premium at most tour stops, makes sense. Plus, as you stated, every divot they take is perfect, not like ditch diggers we have at the local muni. Based on all the info I have now, it makes sense to have the weekend warriors like me hit in lines, but obviously the tour and the tour pros know what they're doing.
  10. Kirk E

    Kirk E
    Murfreesboro, TN

    Great topic and have enjoyed reading the thread.
  11. Brad K

    Brad K
    Kirkland, WA

    Ranges should put up a big sign with those divot images on it. I feel like not enough golfers even take the time to know this information.
  12. Samuel  C

    Samuel C
    Phoenix, AZ

    Brad K said:

    Ranges should put up a big sign with those divot images on it. I feel like not enough golfers even take the time to know this information.

    I think that would be a great idea. I've always wondered they courses don't do that or even have a teaching pro or a staff educate players on how to properly take a divot pattern?

    I know we all have gone to the range and have gotten frustrated that there is no space for us to practice because the players before have just scattered the practice spot with diviots. The more information players have, the better hopefully it gets for future play.

  13. Our club has the signs with the preferred pattern at the range. They even sent an email to the members with the same sign/picture. It didn't matter. Members going to do what they want and have the perfect lie they want/need.
  14. Steve L

    Steve L
    Framingham, MA

    Too bad I have never come across this topic or info before... Now I feel bad for clearing patches instead of lines. the grass area of my local range never seems to be open on the days I go anymore, so I guess I'll file this info away until needed.
  15. Gabriel G

    Gabriel G
    Cedar Park, TX

    Well how about when the driving range says "Matts only." That happens very often where I live.
  16. Gabriel G said:

    Well how about when the driving range says "Matts only." That happens very often where I live.

    Well yeah, if you're hitting off mats then divots aren't a concern.

  17. Lance P

    Lance P
    Hillsborough, NC

    Gabriel G said:

    Well how about when the driving range says "Matts only." That happens very often where I live.

    Does that mean one can only practice there if your name is Matt? (just kidding...)
  18. JD D

    JD D
    Savannah

    I am surprised that golf courses in general do have this type of info posted as you are walking to the range.
  19. JD D said:

    I am surprised that golf courses in general do have this type of info posted as you are walking to the range.

    The club I worked at made a big effort to educate the members about it, we made signs to go on the range, and another range I go to occasionally has been pushing it lately too. Really depends on how much the pro shop/grounds crew cares I guess, and as I now know, what kind of grass is on the teebox.
  20. Rick D

    Rick D
    Weston, WI

    Our pro sends out emails showing the preferred pattern and a description of why. It doesn't matter. One guy will tear up an entire hitting bay in 10 minutes. It's too bad, but those types don't care about anyone else. They're probably the same people who never replace a fairway divot or repair a ball mark on the greens.
  21. I 100% agree with you about fixing ball marks. However there are some clubs that prefer you to fill fairway divots with sand mix and not replace the divot. I think this whole discussion does drive home the point that it’s important to know what is the preferred practice at your home club and especially when you are visiting another club.
  22. Todd T

    Todd T
    San Diego, CA

    Only place you don't take the linear divot pattern is at TPI. Was shocked when they said to spread the divots out!
  23. Andrew A

    Andrew A
    Charlotte, NC

    This was very eye openeing. I always been a concentrated guy becuase I thought I was actually helping. I saw this as a child at a tour event and assumed this was done with the care for the course in mind. Thank you for the enlightenment and I will certainly be changing my practice sessions as a result!
  24. Joshua L

    Joshua L
    SLC, UT

    There's a lot of reasons mentioned above, but if a pro is working on something specific or testing different clubs for the weeks playing conditions taking individual divots can provide them needed information to make any changes to bag for the week.
  25. Eric H

    Eric H
    Ridgway, PA

    Cool discussion but lets be honest enough people are scared/nervous to go play golf, the last thing we need to do is be yelling at them because of the divots they put in the ground! It will grow back! I understand it can be an issue but we gotta ask ourselves if the truly matters.

    Besides... Who is gonna walk up to Adam Scott or Webb Simpson and say could you please change your divot pattern! LOL
  26. You chaps Stateside have different practice conditions to those we enjoy/endure in the UK.
    The age of some of our clubs and the space they occupy means that there is often limited space for any practice facilities, with no opportunity to expand. Practice areas are an overhead to maintain, don't produce a revenue stream and are used on a very ad hoc basis. Clubs expect Greens staff to be fully occupied and if a problem arises, the practice facility is usually the first casualty.
    New clubs seem based on a Driving Range model rather than practice facility. All-year-round Range facility suits our weather, allows all-year coaching, can be open to "non-members" and provides an income. It can also be out-sourced if that business model is appropriate.
    Cuts out the grass issue too!
    JT


  27. This is a fantastic topic! I’ve played the game for 25 years and I’ve been taught both ways (concentrated versus strips) but I didn’t realize one was actually more damaging. I always thought concentrated was a) polite to the next person hitting in the bay, and b) looked really cool and reassuring to see a consistent layer of the turf taken away in such a controlled pattern. I am definitely going to be consistent with strips after reading this. And I too have to agree that all ranges should spend the $50 dollars on a few plastic yard signs informing and encouraging players to use this method.
  28. Bart van der Does

    Bart van der Does
    The Netherlands

    Hi guys,
    So this topic is been on my radar from the moment it started back in December 2018.
    I thought let's give it a moment to see if people respond on it the correct way, but as I noticed lot of feedback and opinions. Some good some I have my thoughts about.

    Let start by the beginning.
    My name is Bart van der Does and I have been a caddie on the PGA European Tour since a long long time ago. Last year I retired after 10years on mens tour and 3 years on the ladies tour.
    From over the years this topic is very populair on tour and on the players, tour staff even greenkeepers mind for ages.

    So let's start by the beginning. I will upload 3 photos with this topic to give you a little history.

    So we see 3 photo's below.
    - One with like 2 lanes next to each other (modern style)
    - One with like a complete big block of turn gone... (old style)
    - And off course.... one pictures... divots scattered throughout the grass (the famous weekend golfer)

    To give you a little history.
    The 2nd option I given you which I call out the (old style) was back in the day on tour.

    So to give you a closer view on tour. Each morning 2 large ropes getting placed on the turf you may hit. Each tour player needs to hit between the ropes. The tour advises the tour players to start off on the driving range the most futher right of the driving range and work your way up in line. Apart from that the advise BUT ONLY if the player is comfortable.... hitting the divot patterns as close to the rope as possible. This way to use the most out of the available grass.

    Back in the day there was only a group size field of around 80-90 players. The 2nd option was very popular.
    But then.... greenkeepers starting to complain about the huge craters being hit by the players over the week.
    Just keep in mind that for each day from monday to sunday these patterns are being created. So you are talking about a large number of green grass gone!

    If you hit a big crater like that it will take almost 6-8 months to recover from its original state. 90% the grass can't grow and it will be a big dead place. so as you can understand not very friendly and a lot of complains are being sent to the tour. And with every reason!

    So since somewhere 2007-2009 the tour announced some rules of the driving range. Like opening hours before the 1st tee time and like 1.5 hour behind final tee start. Yes, lot of players who misses the cut go practicing.
    So please look at the pictures where I talk about 2 lanes next to each other.
    This is the modern way of using the driving range. The reason why they do it like that is because there is some grass between the lines which makes the grass grow faster to it's original state. Greenkeepers only have to fill a little bit of sand with grass seed and only spray it with water, water and again water.

    Now I understand you next question all. The size of the players field. Yes you are right. So nowadays the size field is over 150 players in some cases. So you talk about a lot of turn again. The players will do their most to hit as close towards the lines and use the most of of the grass. Apart from that to me it also surprised that when players arrive on the range on the PGA TOUR in US players receive balls in a small net. This contains only 20-30 balls. Players will hit about 2 of them during warm up. So less balls, less turn gone. On the European Tour side I still see buckets with balls.
    Yes at some days the range is so full and players (especially during practice days) will remain on the range for hours).

    I think this is a global issue that requires attention. But honestly no matter each way you look at it. By the end of the day.... you won't solve this issue.

    I hope this gives you all a closer and better look in understanding range divot patterns. In short: The tour runs out of space on the range, but also to help the green keepers to let the grass grow as fast as possible to its orignal state.

    Happy swings,

    Bart
    @bartvanderdoes
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  29. Eric H

    Eric H
    Ridgway, PA

    Bart that was a great post! We need you to post like this more often! The TT community would love to have more insight and stories from your experience out on tour! That was cool, thanks!!
  30. Deno

    Deno
    Hawthorne, NJ

    Great insight as always Bart. The video shows the modern and the old school methods at work simultaneously at a PGA Tournament practice range.


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