Shots To Score By!

Must know shots to get up and down more often

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INSTANT TIP: 

Sometimes, getting out of the bunker is good enough. And if there's a little lip to contend with, the putter actually can do the job. Set up with the flatstick, and putt away with some extra oomph. The ball will roll over the sand, up and out of the bunker!

THE 20- TO 40-YARD BUNKER SHOT
This is one of the scariest shots in golf, but it needn't be. To have some success here, you need to know how to set up properly, what club to use and what type of ballflight to expect. Set up the right way, with light feet, and don't feel as though you need to dig deep into the sand like you would with a greenside bunker. Dig in just enough so you maintain good footing, but stay light on your feet. Next, I want you to think of this shot as more of a clean-and-pick shot, not a bunker blast. The sternum must continue to turn through the shot or the club will enter the bunker wherever the sternum stops, that is, you must keep the body rotating to prevent from digging too much into the sand.


You also want to stay tall, with the chin up and the arms extended, but relaxed through the shot. The hands need to stay fairly quiet, and there will be a slight hinge in the arms in the backswing. As for club choice, you always want to make sure you take a club with enough loft to get you over the lip of the bunker you're in. If the pin is fairly close to the landing area on the green, you'll want to take a more lofted club. If you have more room to work with, you can use a less lofted club and plan for the ball to run more when it hits the green. Remember to stay "light" and pick it clean with a good rotation of the body. This is one of the few bunker shots where hitting the sand first is going to hurt you more than help you.

GREENSIDE HIGH ESCAPE
When faced with a tough, high-lipped bunker shot, you have to get the ball up in a hurry. A great way to practice is to do what I've done here in a practice bunker. As you can see, I've drawn three arrows. The left arrow is the direction I want the club to travel. The middle arrow is the target, and the right arrow is the direction of my clubface at address.

Once I set up correctly using my arrows as a guide, the rest is simple. I just swing the club a little outside-in to ensure I can cut across the ball along the left arrow on my downswing. As for the face, it's not going to be as open at impact as it was at setup, but that's fine. It still will be plenty open to help push the ball higher into the air.

Set up with the feet square at first, then drop your left foot back as you open your stance. See what happens? The ball looks forward in the stance, but relative to the target line, it's still in the same place.
For high bunker shots, and for most regular sand shots, too, I encourage you to play the ball in the middle of your stance, but be sure your stance is opened to encourage that outside-in path. This means, when you open your stance, it will feel like you have the ball way forward in your stance, although that's not the case. To see what I mean, in the photos above, I did little more than open my stance by dropping my left foot back. It looks like the ball moved forward, but it didn't! The next time you set up, set up square first so you know where the ball should be. Then open your stance. You'll be in the perfect position every time.


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