How to hit out of the sand: Part 1 – Greenside bunkers
How to hit out of the sand: Part 2 – Fairway bunkers
Part 3, in the series How to hit out of the sand, will now cover some of the difficult bunker lies that can happen. It would be great if every ball that landed in the sand was sitting right on top of the sand, with a nice flat lie, in a shallow bunker, and there were no bunker lips in the way. But unfortunately, the Golf Gods do not always give you those kind of breaks.
When it comes to playing out of any sand bunkers, especially when you have a difficult lie, make sure you really asses the situation and play the smartest shot. While your brain is always telling you that you must advance further toward the hole or hit the ball as far as you can possible can, sometimes the safest shot to get your par is to just hit the ball back in the fairway somewhere. It doesn’t matter if you go backwards, sideways, or forwards. Find a spot on the fairway that will be a yardage from the hole that you hit really well and consistently, and then hit your ball there from the sand bunker. After you have figured out where you want to go and what yardage you are needing to hit, use these basic setups to help you with those difficult bunker lies.
These are Bunkers, or Hazards, so Hazard Rules apply. Do not touch any part of the Hazard with your club before making your swing.
For any of these shots, you are just going to adjust the basic setup for the type of bunker you are in. Refer to the basic greenside bunker setup or fairway bunker setup for details. The last half of Phil Mickelson’s video on the left will demonstrate these shots.
Uphill Bunker Lie
The adjustment, as far as weight distribution, will be putting most of your weight on your back leg and side. Make sure you align your shoulders with the slope.
Downhill Bunker Lie
The adjustment, as far as weight distribution, will be putting most of your weight on your front leg and side. Make sure you align your shoulders with the slope.
Buried Bunker Lie
The ball will not have much spin on it coming out, so plan for the ball to run a little after landing when you are picking your target spot.
How deep the ball is buried will determine ball position, clubface position, and stance. The basic bunker setup is for when the ball is sitting on the sand. As the ball gets buried further down into the sand, the more you will move the ball position back, square up your stance, and close up your clubface.
Learning how to hit out of the sand, especially with those difficult bunker lies, may appear to be very complicated. But, if you stick with a basic setup and then just adjust your ball position and weight distribution, you should at least be able to get the ball out and back onto the fairway or near the green. Just like with any other golf tips, you should always try to practice these shots first and become familiar with the setup and how your clubs work for you. Doing this makes it much easier and is easier on your thought process when you encounter these situations on the golf course. Always remember… Practice does not make perfect… Practice makes permanent.
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