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Bunkers And Sand Traps - How To Play Them
By Lee MacRae
Are you afraid of sand bunkers on the golf course? Do you panic when you see one near where you need your ball to land? Follow along as we detail some tips and tricks to make sand play much easier for you.
When your ball is sitting up in sand on a rise that is caused by someone's footprints, don't be fooled into thinking this is an easy shot. Players tend to try to get the ball off the surface of the sand, or take too much sand in an effort not to hit it too far. Do the former and you may blade the ball. Do the latter and you may hit it fat. This is an instance where you want to hit not under the ball, but down and through it. Take your spot, about two inches behind the ball and slightly below it [because of the rise] and swing as you would for a normal chip shot. If you're still worried about getting it too far, move your weight back to your right foot. This will force you to swing more with your arms and will take some power out of the shot.
In general, a sand shot should be hit with a sand wedge, with both the stance and the clubface opened wide. The idea is to hit the sand and let it carry the ball out of the bunker. You should aim to make contact with the sand about two inches behind the ball and hit under and through. An important point here; with few exceptions, you should make a full fall through.
When sand is wet or really firm, your sand wedge, with it's wide flange may very easily bounce off the surface and blade the ball. In such circumstances, it's better to use a pitching wedge or, when the flag is a long way off and you want your ball to run more, then use a seven, eight, or nine iron. Play your ball back in an open stance [much as you would do when playing a chip from the fairway] and position your hands just ahead of the ball. Unlike most sand shots, this one requires that you concentrate on hitting the ball first and not the sand. Work out your "landing area" before hitting the shot, and try to hit that area. If you miss it, don't worry. With all sand shots, it's far more important to get out the sand and to leave your ball close to the hole.
And no matter what the circumstances are, don't allow tension to ruin your techinque. Tension will ruin even the best of golf swings. Keep your body and your mind loose and positive. Always imagine yourself handling the shot with success. What the mind sees, the body will do. You golf game will improve immensly when you add these tips.
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Additional Info On Golf Today
Snap It For More Power
The powerful tension built up in the backswing needs to be unleashed into the ball. Before the club finishes at the top, the body must begin moving toward impact with the arms and club lagging behind (the body should drag the arms and club, not vice versa). The unwinding body should stop sharply before contact, whipping the arms and club powerfully into impact.
...Golf Tips magazine
The hands should completely reverse themselves from address to impact. Notice how the left wrist is flat while the right has moved from flat to bent back (Above right). This position is a must.
...Golf Tips magazine
Set up your shots correctly
You won't get very far in a car without knowing how to use its controls. And it's exactly the same for golf. It's really no more complicated than feeling comfortable and balanced over the ball. The first place to start is making sure you aim correctly. As a general rule, you should keep club face square to the target. The exception to this is when you are deliberately trying to hook or slice the ball. It should be square to your body - wherever you are in your backswing. Try stopping your club at a variety of positions in your swing. The most important thing to remember is that the club head should be square to your body at all times.
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