A typical sand wedge has a flatter and wider bottom than your other irons. Sand wedges are designed that way to allow the club to "bounce" off the sand instead of digging into the sand. A well struck greenside bunker shot strikes the sand behind the ball allowing the sand wedge to bounce and scoop an area of sand with your ball, throwing the ball towards the target. The following tips will allow you to execute a well struck greenside bunker shot.
Set up your stance in the bunker and position the ball in the front of your stance close to your front foot.
Open the face of the sand wedge.
Anchor your feet in the sand by twisting them in the sand.
Aim to strike the sand about 2 inches behind the ball. You must strike the sand first to execute a good greenside bunker shot. Never aim to hit the ball first unless you are trying to pick the ball clean.
Do not touch the sand with your club until you strike your shot. This is known as grounding your club in a hazard and incurs a one stroke penalty.
On the takeaway, pick up the club a little more quickly to create a steeper path instead of dragging the club away from the ball as you might on normal iron shots.
The distance of your backswing will vary depending on the distance needed to carry the shot.
Swing forward with a consistent forward swing speed. Don’t dive in after the ball and keep your weight shift on a level plane. Control how far the ball travels with your backswing and tempo.
Strike the sand about 2 inches behind the ball. Allow the club to bounce and scoop the sand and the ball out, following through toward the target. Do not allow the sand to stop your club.
Aim a little to the left of your target (Aim right if you are a left hander)
Open the face of the sand wedge.
Aim to strike the ridge of the sand behind the ball.
The ball will most likely come out lower with less spin than a normal lie bunker shot. Adjust your landing point to account for more roll.
The most common occurrence for a fairway bunker shot is that you catch too much sand and the ball falls well short of the intended target. Knowing this and setting up properly in the bunker can help you to execute a good fairway bunker shot. Use the following tips to set up properly in a fairway bunker.
Set your feet firmly in the sand to get a good solid foundation, similar to a batter digging into the batter’s box. Since the sand is soft, this action will place your feet a little below the ball. Compensate for this by choking down about an inch on the club.
Select an extra club (i.e., if you normally hit a seven iron the desired distance, use a six iron) since choking down on the club will cost you a little distance. Also, by selecting an extra club you won’t have to swing as hard and you’ll gain more control of your swing. Since you’ll be swinging under control, it’s less likely your feet will slip.
Address the ball back in your stance about an inch or two more than normal for the club you are using. The ball may fly a little lower than your normal shot, but playing the ball a little back in your stance increases your chances of striking the ball before you strike the sand.
By practicing this method and set up, your fairway bunker shots will become more routine and less intimidating.
With all this great golf advice don't forget your spouse and your family. As advised in Ephesians 5:22-33 Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.... each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Treating your family best of all will pay dividends in life and in golf!
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