Forgiving Sand Wedge

Forgiving Sand Wedge …. Play Bunker Shots Like The Pros

The sand wedge shot was popularized in the thirties by Gene Sarazen and, now, the sand wedge shot has become routine for the tour pro. The tour pro has become very proficient at the sand wedge shot. To the point where they not just trying to get the sand wedge shot close, they are trying to make the shot.

Now, a lot of their effectiveness is due to the practice time they spend in the sand but much of their success is due to their understanding of the variables that go into hitting a good sand wedge shot.

We are going to take a look at 5 of these variables. Hopefully, this will help us hit better sand wedge shots, just like the pros.

1. What is the texture of the sand?

First off, you are not allowed to test the texture of the sand with your golf club or hand but you can feel the texture with your feet. Again, not digging around with your feet but just your normal walk into the bunker. The texture is important because this will tell you what club to use and how you should swing at it. The quick answer is that the firmer the sand the easier the golf ball will come out. But, we must be aware of the bounce in the sand wedge (that`s a whole article).

The bounce in the sand wedge won`t allow the club to dig. That`s why you blade sand wedge shots out of firm bunkers and on hard pan. So that, if you have a real firm bunker, you should not use a sand wedge but use a pitching wedge (less bounce). Bottom line, test the sand and choose the best club based on the texture.

2. How long is the sand wedge shot?

The length of the sand wedge shot will determine how much you need to open the club face and how hard you must swing. Obviously, the longer the bunker shot the harder you must swing but, as much as possible, you should keep your swing effort the same for all bunker shot lengths and just change how much you open the club face. You can practice this, how much you open the club face, in the practice bunker.

Be aware, that you are adding more bounce to the sand wedge as you open the club face further. Consider using a pitching wedge or nine iron for real long bunker shots.

3. What is the direction of the wind?

Here`s a great tip. Don`t practice sand wedge shots into the wind! The only factor here is that you need to take into account the wind factor. Obviously, adjusting your bunker shot to the wind conditions.

4. How far is the golf ball going to roll after landing?

This one is pretty simple. Is the bunker shot uphill or downhill? Is it into the wind or down wind? Are you hitting the sand wedge shot off of a downhill, uphill or flat lie? All of these factors will determine how far the golf ball will roll out. The golf ball will roll less off of the uphill lie and, obviously, more off of the downhill lie.

5. What kind of lie do I have?

Is it a clean lie, semi buried or fully buried lie. Out of a clean lie, you will be able to stop the ball on the green pretty well. Out of the buried lie, the ball will roll out. Also, out of the buried lie, you will need to close the club face to take some of the bounce off of your sand wedge. You will need the sand wedge to dig a little to get the golf ball out of a buried lie.
Hopefully, these golf tips will help you improve your sand wedge shots, just like the tour pro, and remember a little practice never hurts.
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