|When faced with a difficult bunker shot, the average golfer should take his medicine and just get the ball on the grass. A bogey is better than a double bogey. (Brandon Tucker/WorldGolf.com)|
Many golfers shoot high scores because they follow one bad shot with another bad shot. Rarely, however, does a good player do this. Better players assess each situation and play the "smart" shot, whereas the average player tends to think he can hit a home run every at bat.
Such is often the case with the dreaded flubbed bunker shot. What you see on the PGA Tour doesn't work for everyone. Very often, average golfers try to hit miracle bunker shots that the pros practice every day. Truth is, when faced with a difficult bunker shot, the average golfer should take his medicine and just get the ball on the grass. A bogey is better than a double bogey and a double bogey is better than a triple bogey.
When coming out of a bunker, open your stance slightly so your feet, hips and shoulders are aimed slightly left of the target. From this set-up, move your hands slightly ahead of the ball and have the clubface slightly open, (don't exaggerate the open clubface) as this will negate the bounce on your sand wedge.
The key to good bunker play is to have your swing follow along your bodyline. Concentrate on hitting two inches behind the ball and accelerating the club head through the sand. Allow the bounce of the sand wedge to determine how much sand you'll catch between the ball and clubface. Don't scoop the ball out; let the club do the work.
Trust your swing and your sand wedge. The sand wedge is designed with bounce to allow for just the right amount of sand to lift the ball.
If you have trouble getting out of bunkers it might be time to consider the bounce angle of your wedges. Sand wedges come with different bounce angles - low, mid and high - which are designed to fit different swing types. If you tend to hit fat wedge shots or have trouble getting the ball out of bunkers, a high-bounce wedge will work for you because it resists digging into the turf or sand.
If you're a golfer who tends to hit thin wedge shots or plays courses with very firm conditions, a low-bounce sand wedge will likely lead to better results. To help decide which wedge is best for you, test some wedges from your pro shop or take a sand lesson from your local golf pro.
May 27, 2009
Les Miller is longtime Golf Writers of America member who has written golf instruction for several newspapers and golf publications. His many years of experience as a golf professional, director of product development and tour relations for several major golf companies gives him a unique background that helps golfers increase their enjoyment of the game.