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How To Play Sand Traps
By Lee MacRae
Many golfers have a tremendous fear of sand traps and bunkers on the golf course. Let's take a look at some handy tips to improve your play from the bunkers.
Ask any professional golfer the toughest shot in golf and he'll say the 60 yard sand shot. Even the top players have trouble deciding whether this calls for an explosion shot or a normal wedge shot. Fortunately, we average players don't have to make that decision. The 60 yard explosion just isn't in our bags. So we'll make do with the normal wedge shot. Stand squarely, with the ball in the middle of your stance. As with the long bunker shot, you should make contact with the ball first, to remain as steady as possible for as long as possible. As this requires you to swing with only your hands and arms, you'll want to take a club or two more than usual [but bear in mind that playing the ball farther back than normal will deloft the clubface slightly]. For anything up to 75 yards, the average players to use a pitching wedge hit with a three quarters swing.
Sand shots put such fear in the hearts of most golfers that they rush the swing fast and jerkily, thus making the good sand shot a matter more of happenstance than of planning and skill. The simple way to remedy this fault is to swing as slowly as possible. You'll find this lesson useful all over the golf course, but it is most useful in sand. Remember that the whole point of the sand shot is to miss the ball. You hit the sand, and the sand lifts the ball out of the bunker. Swinging faster usually doesn't help. Swinging very slowly will give you a greater feel of hitting the sand behind the ball, take the tension out of the shot, and ultimately give you the confidence needed to play any shot out of sand.
If the sand is wet or firm, don't automatically reach for your sand wedge. A better choice in this case would be a pitching wedge. The pitching wedge has less bounce [the curve on the bottom of the head] and is not as sharp on the edges. These feature will prevent the club from digging nto the sand too much and ruining the shot. Just keep the face square [not open as that adds to the bounce] and swing a little shorter than you normally would. Success will follow.
Knowing the basic techniques of bunker sand play and understanding the subtleties of the various problems you can encounter will actually lead you to even enjoy the play from a sand bunker. I'm sure these tips will help you to enjoy your next round of golf.
About the author
Lee MacRae runs several online stores where you can find a great weighted golf club
or a great golf hybrid club
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