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Video of the Month

Why Use the Pendulum Putting Method

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Great Book Offer

This is a book that will help any golfer take a more relaxed approach on the golf course, which will not only drastically lower scores but lead to greater enjoyment when playing the game of golf.

Bunker Play- It’s Not that Hard

The Bunker Has to be Played with Confidence

What is it about bunker play that throws many amateur golfers into angst, while professionals see that as their best option to approach a hole and purposely play for a bunker? The answer is that it is not that difficult of a shot if you know what you’re doing, and if you don’t it can be a nightmare. Whether a ball is plugged or setting up, almost any ball can be played, and there is a technique to play it.

My guess is most of those that have trouble with bunker play are not fully aware what the club is supposed to be doing in relation to the sand and the ball. And with that uncertainty they depend on luck to get out. They are just in there to hit it, hope for the best, and get out as quickly as possible.

Understand the Design of a Sand Wedge

bunker play

flange of a sand wedge

When you compare the head of a sand wedge to that of your other irons, two things will be noticeable: the degree of loft will be greater and the club head will have a flange, or (as in the photo to the right) extra weight to allow the club to cut through the sand more smoothly. This was the brain-child of Gene Sarazen, one of the top golfers in the 1920s and 30s. Before that time, players used what was called a spoon, or a high lofted club, to scoop the ball out of sand.

During that period club innovations were becoming more prominent, but some, like the concave face to get out of sand, were deemed illegal. Sarazen’s idea was a straight club face with the flange on the bottom. The innovation quickly took hold, and nothing to this point has really replaced it.

How to Use the “Bounce” to Hit this Shot

The key is to use the bounce. This flange described above, when it hits the sand, will prevent the club from digging in, allowing the leading edge of the club to bounce off the sand. Without the bounce, your club would just keep digging into the soft sand, come out the other side, and your ball would move maybe two inches.

Golf’s Best-Kept SecretsTo play the shot, think about having the flange hit the sand first behind the ball about three inches. Position the ball in the center or front center of your stance, so you are still slightly descending in your swing. Too far back in the stance and the flange will not get to the sand first, causing the leading edge to dig in. Too far forward and the flange will hit with too much of a glancing blow, and the leading edge of the club will hit the ball squarely.

Of course there are different types of sand, and we will discuss plugged, or buried shots, as well as different types of sand to hit from, in not buried shots. Let say you are in sand that hasn’t been raked after a hard rain, that flange will not dig in and cause the club to bounce directly into the ball.   Sand play requires you to be a bit creative, but understanding the principles will allow you to end your phobia with sand.

 

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