Average amateurs see sand and immediately worry. Some cannot grasp that they do not even need to hit the ball to get it out of the trap. The correct way to guarantee that a ball will come out of a bunker is to hit the sand behind the ball and let the sand take the ball out. The swing is slow and it is important to follow through and turn away if it’s a windy day to avoid eyes full of sand.
Professional sometimes prefer sand to rough around the green, such is their expertise in getting the ball out and often close to the hole.
As a result of their lack of understanding average amateurs often ‘thin’ the ball which results in it hitting the face and staying in or travelling far beyond where they want it so be. There are fairway bunkers where balls can be picked’ off the top of course, while greenside bunkers usually present a face between you and the hole.
Arguably however, the hardest bunker shot that requires both the elements of achieving distance as well as getting through the sand are the hardest of all; something like one from 60 yards out. The difficulty comes from making the wrong club selection. Their automatic move to the sand wedge is wrong and deep down golfers know that because it is not a club that average golfers hit very far.
A sand wedge has plenty of loft and is designed to help golfers achieve the height needed to get over a bunker face. It is not a club that average golfers can hit any great distance, certainly not out of a bunker. Those facing a 60 yard shot need to select a club that has sufficient loft to get through the sand while also the potential to hit the ball the distance required.
The selection of the club for a 60 yarder is critical. Probably the best solution bearing in mind a 60 yard bunker is unlikely to have a steep face is probably a 9 iron. The shot still requires the technique used for a greenside bunker, a slightly open stance with weight on the front foot.
The secret is not to panic and relax on the walk up to the ball. Tempo is all-important and that tempo is slow without stopping on the shot. Good luck next time!
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