Tips for making golf sand shots easy

There’s nothing to fear about shots out of the sand.

I’ve found that old saying:  “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself” really comes into play for golfers when attempting a sand shot.  I personally would rather have a sand shot any day than a hard pan lie or a deep rough near the green.

As with other areas of the game, you want to look at being in the beach as a good thing! Most pros think this way. Why? Because you have much more control over spin and the largest margin of error of all the shots in your bag. Sand is very forgiving.

This really is one of the easier shots in golf… it really is!  It is the one the shot in golf that has the most room for error with regard to where the club strikes the ground.  This knowledge, going into the shot, will give you great comfort when you think it.  Haven’t you seen the pros in a tournament talking to the ball and telling it to “get in the trap” when they know it’s going to miss the green?

Sand Shot tips

Getting out of the sand can be quite simple, if you follow these few steps. First,
use a sand or lob wedge, because they both have plenty of loft to quickly get the
ball in the air. And they also have some bounce, which lets the club slide through
the sand rather than digging into it. Second, ground yourself into the sand by
wiggling your feet until you won’t slip during the swing.

This also gives you needed
information about the hardness or softness of the sand and how far behind the ball
you’ll need to hit. Remember, you are not allowed to touch the sand with either the
club or your hand before starting your swing. With soft sand, try to aim about two
inches behind the ball. When the sand is firmer, aim about an inch behind the ball.

Finally, your left arm on the backswing should be parallel to the ground, then swing
through the sand to a balanced finish. Follow these simple steps and practice them.
And you won’t fear the sand any longer.

Golf Ball Against the Bunker Face.

You know this shot.  If you have played enough times, you have walked to a bunker
only to find the ball is up against a wall of sand at the edge of the green.  You
can’t use the great sand technique you have been learned.
Really this shot is not too difficult. It’s not too difficult because no matter how
hard to hit the ball its going straight up in the air!
Basically, plant your back foot, focus on the sand behind the ball, and smash your
club into the sand.  The golf ball should pop up in the air and roll onto the green.

Up and down from greenside bunkers

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Greenside Bunkers

The most common mistake weekend players make in the greenside bunker is
allowing their lower bodies to get too active. If you shift your weight or make
a turn with your lower body, your swing’s shape and impact position will never
be the same from one swing to the next–you’ll never know whether you’ll leave
the ball in the bunker or skull one 35 yards across the green.

Proper bunker technique requires that you place your weight forward–and leave
it there throughout the swing. Here’s a great drill to engrain this feeling. Go
to a practice bunker and hit 25 bunker shots with your right (for right-handed
golfers) heel in the air–only your right toes should be dug into the sand for
balance. This will position the majority of your weight forward to begin your
swing. If you try to shift your weight back to your right side as you play the
shot, you’ll feel the pressure in your right toes and you’ll have to fight to
keep your right heel from lowering into the sand. It might feel as though you’re
actually shifting your weight forward in a reverse pivot, but you’re not–you’re
just not used to the feel of the proper bunker technique.

As you learn to keep your weight forward and quiet your lower body on these
greenside bunker shots, you’ll begin to notice the ball flying the same distance
and on the same trajectory again and again. Once this happens, you’ll start to
develop some touch and begin to think about not only getting the ball out, but
also about getting it close.

Poor bunker players have a far-too-active lower body. If you make a turn or
weight shift, your swing’s shape and the club’s impact position will change from
swing-with inconsistent results.

To quiet your lower body bring consistency to your greenside bunker game,
practice hitting sand shots with your right heel raised. Your swing’s shape and
club’s impact position will be the same-shot after shot.

When you are in a greenside bunker, and you need to get out (like you would
need to stay in??), the most common mistake made is taking a half swing, and not
following through.

Try this:  Pretend the ball is lying on a pancake, or sprinkler head.  You want
to aim FOR THE FRONT EDGE of the ‘pancake’ that the ball is lying on.  DO NOT
stop your swing upon contact.  FOLLOW THROUGH to get the ball out.

By hitting the sand first, and hitting through the ball, you will not ‘skull’
it.  The ball will pop up gently, with the sand, and roll right into the cup
(ok, but it will be much closer).  Do you watch pro’s, or other good golfers?
Wonder why they ‘take so much sand’ with them?  Now you know!  Remember, don’t
hit the ball, hit the front edge of the pancake, and follow through.

Let your backswing determine the distance you need to go, not your follow
through!

And always count to one one thousand before you lift your head.  That will
insure that you KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN!!

Get out of those fairway bunkers

Bunkers – How to Play Them

Fairway Bunkers

The fairway bunker shot can be an intimidating shot for many inexperienced
golfers. For starters, when playing out of fairway bunkers, it is wise to take
one to two clubs more than normal. Begin by setting up normally, with your feet
slightly dug in for stability and the ball positioned more toward the middle of
your stance. Next, grip down slightly on the club for greater control.

Right before you begin your backswing, lift your chin off your chest. That
raises your center of gravity and increases your ability to hit the ball first,
which is crucial in executing the shot. Swing at 70 percent of your normal speed
and there’s a good bet you’ll hit a clean, solid shot.

So, Hitting a shot from a fairway bunker poses no great problem if the ball has
a good lie. (Well, I am really just trying to build your confidence.  I could
say, you are in a bunker, you’re score just went up three strokes!!!)

Long or middle irons as well as 3, 4, and 5 woods can be used with confidence
in this situation. Take a open stance, wider than normal. Work your feet into
the sand for better balance. Play the ball back 1″ to 2″ to assure that the club
hits the ball before the sand.
Choke down on the shaft. Close your eyes (just kidding)
From an open stance, aim slightly to the left. Swing Normal Speed Pray.
On long fairway bunker shots, try a 5 wood in preference to a long iron. Don’t
try to overpower this shot. Restrict your body turn and swing easy.
Now, if it is a BAD lie, then you need to play the course.  Grab your club you
are confident with, between a 7 and SW.  Observe the course.  Realize that you
are not Tiger Woods.  Realize the average golfer will clunk it out about 75
yards.  Aim for a safe fairway shot to get you back into play.  Shoot for the
MIDDLE of the fairway, not left or right, 75 yards ‘down bunker’.
Most importantly, follow through on your swing.  Most weekend golfers, whether
near the green or in a fairway bunker, STOP their swing on impact.  Golf is
simple.  You ALWAYS need to follow through.  Again, swing easy and follow
through.

Greens and fairways,

Craig