The Experts Say: Replace Your Divots

Replacing our divots is considered gospel where I play golf. It is a habit I adopted early in my playing career and have never stopped. Whether to replace divots is often debated, so I reached out to my friend Jeremy Sizer who was the Superintendent at Roundel Glen Golf Course (Trenton, ON) and Assistant Superintendent at Wildfire Golf Club (Peterborough, ON). The day I asked the question if we should replace divots, he was hosting a working group with other Ontario Golf Course Superintendents. He graciously posed the question to the this group of dedicated experts that tirelessly work to make my time on the links priceless.

Before delving into the experts answer, this is what you said. I am happy to report that an overwhelming number of golfers replace their divots:

This is what I asked Jeremy:


Jeremy, got a quick question I want to ask about replacing divots. I plan to write and article about it and was wondering if we should always replace our divots? I know some courses say no, but they have people out filling the holes with dirt and seed. But on a regular course. Should we replace and why?

Jeremy was very happy to get the question and posed it to the working group. This is what he said about replacing our divot:


First off – every Superintendent is different. Many like a divot properly reset as soon as possible as Turf wilts in summer heat. My best advice is make a very good habit of replacing your divots and the Superintendents will always be happy.

I want to add my two cents to reinforce Jeremy’s answer. “PROPERLY REST” are the key words. I figure if I am going to spend the time to go pick up my divot, then I should take the extra few seconds to make sure it is place properly back in the hole I made. Additionally, I try to pick up other divots in the area and replace those as well. Finally, I step on my replaced divot to make sure it it does not stick up and be caught on the mowers. I read that it only takes a few days for properly replaced divot to take root.

If you are in the habit of just filling the divot with fill and seed (sometimes attached to the golf cart or pull carts) Jeremy says that:


As far is using the sand and seed being used this still causes a messy look by the old divot laying on fairways and maintenance staff to remove. Mowing over old divots has a large impact on the quality of cut due to the cause of mower blades dulling quicker. 

Jeremy’s point about dulling the mower blades is referenced in several locations. Specifically, the USGA cautions golfers about overfilling the divot hole. The say not to overfill. This is a great lesson because I have a habit of overfilling the holes on the par 3 tee boxes. I will have to discontinue this poor practice.

Ultimately, the Consensus of the Superintendents working group was to “replace your divot with the divot you took.”

I am in full agreement with the Superintendents: it is important for the care and maintenance of the golf course to replace, at a minimum, our divots. The other take away is not to overfill the divot hole with the soil and seed mix. This is something new to me and I will make sure I incorporate this new technique in my habits for next season.

I want to thank my friend Jeremy Sizer for his expert advice and for asking his working group to provide the experts answer to my question. 

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

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9 thoughts on “The Experts Say: Replace Your Divots

  1. I live in Arizona. We never replace pivots. Sand and seed mix or sand only depending on what season. This is what our maintenance staff has requested.

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  2. Pingback: The Experts Say: Replace Your Divots | Golf Keola Life

  3. Jim, Kevin is correct. On the warm season grasses like Bermuda, you should fill with mix based on the way the grass grows. Once you take a chunk of Bermuda out, it’s done. On cool season like Bent or Rye, definitely replace with the divot you took.

    Thanks,

    Brian

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  4. I guess it depends on where you live. Down here in Florida, most of the courses I play prefer us to fill rather than replace. It depends a lot on the soil type. Our sandy soil doesn’t hold together well cause our divots to explode. It’s next to impossible to find enough pieces to actually fill the divot back. I understand the same can be said in places out west. So I think it’s best to ask if you’re playing a new course.

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