A Plan In The Sand

Make bunker play easier with the right know-how

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A bunker shot should be one of the easier shots you encounter on the golf course, theoretically. It's one of the very few shots that doesn't require solid contact—in fact, in most cases, it's preferred that you purposely miss the ball and hit the sand first. The key, however, is knowing what type of sand you're dealing with and knowing what small adjustments you need to make to produce good results. Let's look at three key sand types—fluffy, normal and firm—and learn how to play successful bunker shots from all three types.

Fluffy sand generally refers to sand that's soft and has some cushion to it. Typically, fluffy sand is made of smaller, beach-like granules, and the club usually digs easily and quickly. However, because it's fluffy, the club can sometimes dig too much, making it easy to hit heavy or fat shots.

Normal sand is made of slightly bigger granules than fluffy sand and, generally, presents decent lies to contend with. Usually, the top layer is raked and fluffy, whereas just below the sand it's firmer (sometimes wetter) and more compact. This sand is the most common type you'll face.

Firm sand is both dense and compact and usually wet. The ball tends to sit above this type of sand, with little to no indentation. Shots played off this lie generally are played as though you aren't in the sand at all.


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