There I am, 165 yards out and the pin, of course, is tucked into the corner so you not only have to carry the bunker, but stop the ball within 15 yards to remain on the green. Should I lay up and hit a wedge in, or go for it? Never accused of being a conservative golfer, of course I go for it!
So many swing thoughts! I hit the ball, but not as solid as I planned. The ball flight looked good, but was about 2 feet short leaving me square in the center of the bunker. Now I need a good bunker shot to save par!
Pick the Right Club
If you’re 10 to 15 yards away from the pin pick a lob or sand wedge. If the pin is 20 to 25 yards a gap wedge or nine iron may be a better choice. The sand wedge will be the best choice most of the time because it has a large sole on the bottom. The larger sole has more weight distributed on the bottom of the club making it easier to launch the ball. The larger sole also creates more bounce minimizing the club digging into the sand. The “thump” you hear when the sand shot is executed properly is the sole of the wedge bouncing off the sand and not digging in.
Always remember the rules; you cannot ground the club in the bunker. Even inadvertently grounding will cost you two additional strokes.
You cannot improve your lie; however you can firmly dig your feet into the sand for a solid base. Digging your feet into the sand will help ensure you hit the sand behind the ball. Position the ball forward in your stance so your club can slice through the sand behind the ball creating the launch needed.
Executing the Shot
A slightly open face will help add loft to the shot. Position the ball forward in your stance and as the club is hovering over the ball concentrate on hitting the sand approximately 2 inches behind the ball. As the club hits the sand, it is actually the sand that pushes the ball up and out of the bunker. Making a full smooth swing and follow through is crucial to get the ball up and out of the sand.
If you observe the pros hitting out of the bunker you always see a big plume of sand in the air pushing the ball toward the target.
Don’t forget your golf etiquette and make sure you rake out your foot prints and the divot from your shot. Now that you’re on the green, let’s make the putt and save the par!!
As with all types of golf shots practice makes a difference. Practicing out of a bunker will help analyze each shot more effectively giving you confidence to execute successful bunker shots more consistently.