Divots are good BUT–they need to be in front of the ball and they don’t need to be deep gouges. Depending on the turf most PGA and LPGA Tour players take divots that are like 2″ wide 4″ long scalps. The divots starts at about 1/2″ in front of the ball.

Most mid to high handicap players try to help (scoop) the ball up in the air, when they do this causes them to either hit the ground behind the ball or not hit the ground at all and either hit the ball way up in the air or thin.

The key to taking a divot is first to make sure to shift the lower body weight into the lead side to start the swing down, then hold the angle between the lead arm and the shaft until about waist high. This will keep the grip end of the club in front of the head of the club and cause the club to bottom out in front of the ball. This is not something that can be forced but is a result of doing the right things in the swing sequence wise.

Here’s the best way to learn to take divots:

Take one of your wedges, draw a line about 3′ long perpendicular to your target line. Position that line about 2″ back of your lead heel. Making ONLY CHIP swings (no bigger than waist high to waist high) and without a ball, focus on holding the angle mentioned above, hands leading (ahead of) the club head and try to brush the ground in front of the line. No gouges just scrapes and make sure to square the face up! Work all the way down the line until you get to the end, notice how many times you scraped the ground and how many times that scrape is in front of the line. If you have a lot of scrapes and they are in front start over and set a ball on the line so that you can make 2-3 practice swings, then hit the ball with the same motion and intent as without.
As you get better at this with a ball start making the swings bigger.