Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Golf Sand Shots, Don't Be Afraid of the Bunkers Cont'd, Low Running Shot


When I have a lot of green to play with and the flag is on a plateau, this is when I would consider using this shot.  when you have a plateau to play to you don't want to pitch it directly on the plateau, because you could find it difficult to stop your ball rolling off the green into deeper trouble.

Play this shot planning your landing spot and the amount of run you need.  Play the ball off the center of your stance, with weight o left and your hands slightly ahead of the ball.  This technique is similar to that required for the low, spinning shot.  Only this time you use your pitching wedge instead of your sand wedge.

Open your club face and stance just a little.  This delofts the pitching wedge and allows the ball to fly out low.  Stand Closer to the ball and aim to hit to the sand about half inch behind the ball.    If you did this with your sand wedge the ball would bite, but the loft of the pitching wedge will send it running on the green.

Next we will go over Long Bunker Shots,

Until next time, Don't be afraid of the beach and learn to play in the sand......

Friday, August 23, 2013

Golf Sand Shots, Don't Be Afraid of the Bunkers Cont'd, Low Spinning Shot


Another shot you want to add to your bag is the low bunker shot that bites on the green.  As all shots, they are made in the set up, this one is opposite of the high shot, although, still just a variation of your standard shot.

You play this shot with the ball off the center of your stance.  Have your weight on your left side as usual and your hands, with your normal grip, are lightly ahead of the ball.   Don't set up very open and the club face will be a little open from square.  Also, stand closer to the ball and aim to hit into the sand closer, perhaps half an inch behind it.

By opening your sand wedge very little - is delofting it - resulting in the ball coming out lower.  Reason you get more spin is that you have less sand between club entry and ball.  The ball should land on the green, take one bounce and then grip firmly.

Next we will go over the Low Running Shot.

Until next time,  keep your shot low and your spin hot....

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Golf Sand Shots, Don't Be Afraid of the Bunkers Cont'd, High Shot No Spin


This shot has a very similar V-shaped action, although there is little spin on landing.  You need to play this shot sometimes when you're in the deep greenside bunker and there is little or no green between you and the flag.

To successfully hit this shot, you set up with the ball even more forward toward the left foot.  maintain a wide stance, but this time you should set much of your weight on your right foot.  This shot you will place your hands slightly behind the ball, having your right hand turned well to the right, as you are aiming for an even earlier flip action through impact.

You will strike the sand farther behind the ball than for a standard shot, about two and a half inches behind the ball.  The extra sand will help provide no backspin, just a high flying ball that drops gently and stays put.  Once you have set up correctly, just swing back with a smooth tempo and strike the match.

Next I will write about low spinning shot.

Until next time, enjoy the sand and bring your shovel.....

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Golf Sand Shots - Don't Be Afraid of Bunkers Cont'd - Making the Short Shot

We have gone over the past few blogs how to overcome fear, understanding why the traps or bunkers are there, strategy, types of sand, bunker designs and now we will go over how to hit the shot out of these bunkers.

We will take a look at shots out of Fairway and Greenside Bunkers.

Before we go into those bunkers let me just state the standard shot from a good lie is called a splash shot because it is played with feeling; gently, yet firmly, without the sheer force used in an "explosion" shot from a difficult lie.  The basic fundamentals, you dig your feet in, bring the right, open your stance, keep your weight left, cock your wrists early and swing back slow, then strike the match, splashing through the sane under your ball.

Once you have mastered it through plenty of practice you will have a general purpose bunker shot in your bag.  You will also be well on your way to mastering even the most difficult sand saves.  The action you are practicing I used in every type of bunker shot you play around the green, with different variations of set up.  From long ones of 40 yards plus, high shots with no pin to low shots with plenty of bite and short shots of a few yards away you only need to understand how to adapt the basic shot to gain real confidence n the sand.


On these shots that have good lies he shorter the shot the more you open the club face.  For a shot just over the front lip of a bunker, say four or five yards of green to play with, I stand so open that my body almost faces the target area, with the club face as open as you can.

Grip the club with your left hand in the usual position, but your right hand strengthened a little, turned more to the right, so that it is under the left through impact.  Play the ball off your left heel, with weight on left side and plan to enter the sand about one and half inches behind the ball.  As stated above slow takeaway with same tempo, cock the wrists quickly and the backswing is full.  Timing a shot with a short swing is difficult, although you must guard against decelerating the club from a full one.  Swing like you are striking a match.  Remember when striking a match and you go easy the match won't light.  You have to pull the match quickly through the striking area firmly so the stick will start the fire.

The set-up creates an abrupt up and down, almost V-shaped, swing arc, which gets the ball up quickly.  Your positioning of the right hand allows it to flip under the left through impact, which farther increases the loft of the club and holds the club face open.  This action has your club face go through the ball slightly ahead of your hands and there will be a concave break in the back of your left wrist through impact.

This will give you two point to bear in mind.  If you don't practice this shot, swinging with a wide open club face often results in you hitting the ball with the hosel or the neck of the club, driving it deep into the bunker face.  When you start practicing it, try addressing the ball more off the toe of your sand wedge rather than the center of the club face.  Remember also, your ultra open stance and club face will put a lot of cut, or slice, spin on the ball.  On a level green, it will spin to the right o landing; something to think about when you're picking your target spot. 

As I continue writing about the Golf Sand Shots, I will cover the High Shot without Spin next.

Until next time, while in the sand keep your tempo smooth........

Monday, August 12, 2013

Golf Sand Shots - Don't Be Afraid of Bunkers Cont'd - Strategy

Well I have informed you about sand and bunker types now we are going to talk about Strategy.

Since you have gained an understanding of bunkers your attitude toward them will start to change.  As you start to play any hole, you start to think hard about its defenses, real or imaginary, and the bunkers in particular.  First, especially when the course is new to you, get a feel for the sand, which you can check out at the practice bunker by walking in it and digging your feet in.  You note what the sand type is, softness, or well-packed down and try to estimate the effect it will have on your shots if you find yourself buried in them.

Secondly, checking the layout of the bunkers on every hole and figuring why they are positioned that way.  You will see which ones you can play toward, the ones you can flirt with and the ones you must avoid.  Sometimes the bunkers frame and guard a specific area narrowing the fairway target making you play toward them, not giving you an option.

When faced by a cross pattern of carry bunkers stretching diagonally across the fairway, or a luster of them guarding a dog-leg and inviting you to try a little too hard on your approach, don't get to greedy.  You don't want to face to tough a recovery by risking too much.

By understanding bunkers, it can really help you score better by revealing how best to tackle any hole.  You will gain confidence, particularly if you practice your sand shots, even taking a lesson or two on them from your local professional.  In fact, most pros will tell you that they prefer to find themselves in a bunker rather than in deep rough, because they can generally control the ball much better from the sand.

Confidence is everything in golf.  It comes from practicing thoughtfully on and off the course, understanding the course and the techniques and, above all, from a positive mental attitude.  Golf is very much a mind game.  You are constantly contending with weather frustration, the course, stress and luck - the "rubs of the green".  You can't combat luck, but you can certainly control yourself and develop a positive mental attitude.  When playing with my friends and they hit a bad shot they tend to get frustrated and start attacking the mental attitude by stating what a bad shot.  I turn toward them and explain the good point of how their shot made out, such as you have a better angle to the green.  You landed in the bunker instead of the thick rough and so on.

To many golfers today go out there and let the frustration and course beat them before they even start.  Think positively.  If you are standing at the tee box and looking out to the hole and you see yourself as an unlucky golfer, if your positive you will get a bad bounce off your drive and roll into a bunker of plunge into the water, or going into the trees, then you will.  Stay positive, see yourself going down the middle of the fairway hitting long and straight, chip like a pro and putt like a champion, then you have a head start on the whole thing.  What you think, you will be.  If you think defensively, you will play negatively.  Think positive and you will play positively.  That doesn't mean I am positive I am going to play bad.

Never brood on past failures.  Your out at your home course and you remember your long drive down the middle of the 1st tee, that will allow you to take positive attitude toward the start of your game.  Don't recall the times that you hit your drive into the deep rough to the right of the fairway bunker.  Clear all the negative thoughts from your mind.  Think only of the times that you made great shots.  The long 15 foot putt you drained or the 3 foot putt you holed for your first birdie or eagle.    It is up to you to bring the memory of those shots, because your competitors surely won't.  They will probably remind you of those bad shots.

So when you go out to play and end up in the bunker, think of them as your friend and not the enemy.  Strategize what the bunkers are there for to help you decide what your outcome will be.  Learn the different sand types and practice hitting out of the bunkers so you an make them work for you and not against you.

Until next time, when we learn about shot making from bunkers, if they are your friend then they will make you happy and help your score instead of ruining your score......