#5: Repair Your Divots (No Bare Feet and Other Lessons From the Caddie Yard)

Jun 01, 2023 by Mike Magluilo

Caddying taught me divots are a normal part of golf. Golfers who know what they’re doing deliberately dig a chunk of grass out of the ground when striking the ball with an iron. 

A divot is the negative consequence of a properly hit shot. Divots are crumbs left on the kitchen table, a trail cut through the woods, mistakes we make in our relationships, failures on the road to success, the external costs eight billion humans choose to inflict on a planet.

In caddie school I learned how to replace divots and tamp them down with my foot in order to help the grass heal, keep the course beautiful and provide a smooth playing surface for the next golfer. 

Repairing divots is about more than replacing turf and dirt. 

Repairing divots is an act of generosity—leaving a place no worse than you found it. Replace other golfers’ divots as you walk the course and you leave the place better than you found it. 

Repairing divots is about setting a good example. All it takes is one golfer or caddie to replace a divot, and the rest of the foursome follow. The satisfaction from this small gesture is contagious, and those good examples tend to follow their golfers into their next round.  

Repairing divots is about taking personal responsibility for the messes you create and making them right before playing on.

In a world faced with existential threats resulting from the behavior of the organizations supplying our food, consumer products, energy, media, financial services and government, who has time to reflect upon the silly rules of etiquette in a sport as frivolous as golf? 

Did I mention repairing divots teaches a person to leave a place better than they found it, lead by example and take responsibility for their messes? 

If costs are unavoidable on the path to progress, maybe the problem isn't the messes we face. Maybe we simply need to stop playing with individuals who refuse to repair their divots.