Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Score From The Sand
Get Up and Down Every Time
One of the best ways to make a full swing, inside a bunker or out, is to allow the head to rotate through the shot. By doing so, you’ll swing more freely and without any restrictions. As far as watching the golf ball, go ahead! Just make sure you stay in position as you swing through the shot.
MAKE AN OUTSIDE-IN SWING
HITTING A GREAT SAND SHOT is one of golf’s greatest thrills. It’s also one of the most satisfying ways to save par or even make a birdie. But unlike shots outside the sand that typically require you to swing parallel to your target line, bunker shots are generally best played with a swing that starts outside the target line and moves to inside the target line.
Why you ask? The main reason is that, with a typical bunker shot, you want to hold the clubface open longer than you would a normal shot—meaning, in order to hit the ball straight with an open face, you have to swing along the direction of your feet and body, and not toward the target.
If anything, play your next bunker shot as though you wanted to slice it toward the hole. This will instinctively help you both swing from outside the target line to inside the target line, as well as make it easier to hold the clubface open through the sand shot.
Just remember, a good bunker player doesn’t try to lift the ball from the sand; rather he or she uses the sand to push the ball up, and the clubhead slides through the sand and under the golf ball.
NOT AL SAND IS THE SAME. Sand varies not only from course to course, but also, at times, from bunker to bunker. Some have more sand, some have less; some retain water, some drain water. Some have soft sand, some have compact sand, and the list goes on and on.
So how do you judge how the sand will react before you hit your shot? First, assess how the sand feels as soon as you step into it. If it’s soft and/or soggy, expect to get a little more aggressive through the shot. The ball is likely to fly lower, as well.
If the sand feels light and soft, the clubhead is probably going to slide through the sand rather easily. So don’t feel as though you need to take a lot of sand out when you hit the shot. If you do, the clubhead may slip under the ball too quickly, causing a flubbed shot.
Finally, assess the type of sand the course you’re playing has. If it’s the thicker, heavy granule type of sand, expect lies that embed into the sand more easily and that require a more aggressive blow into the ball. If it’s fine sand, like beach sand, the clubhead will slide through the sand much more easily, thus requiring a less aggressive blow and a shallower dip into the sand before impact.
If there’s ever an instance when the clubhead doesn’t come into much contact with the sand, it’s from one of the toughest bunker lies in golf: when the ball is on wet, compact sand. To hit this shot, make sure you square the clubhead to the target, so the leading edge is at its lowest point. The clubhead will want to bounce right off that wet, compact sand, so don’t be afraid to use the leading edge and make contact with the ball. You won’t need sand-first contact with that shot.
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