Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How to Play in Sugar Sand Bunkers in Golf?

Golf is a game of precision, and this becomes very apparent with trouble shots like greenside sand bunkers. Different types of sand have varying levels of difficulty; "sugar" sand is typically very white, fluffy sand where the ball nestles down deep into the bunker. This makes the shot more difficult to execute compared to tight, packed sand preferred by professional players. Escaping from the "sugar" sand takes practice, but once mastered, bunker shots are very easy to execute and repeat consistently. Golfers who fear the sand typically haven't practiced enough, or don't understand the proper fundamentals behind hitting a sand shot.
Step 1
Gauge your lie by paying close attention to your surroundings and the condition of the sand as you enter the bunker. Ask yourself basic questions to determine your distance from the hole, how far you are from the lip, and if the ball is sitting up or down in the sand.
Step 2
Feel the sand beneath your feel as you enter the bunker. Softer "sugar" sand requires an explosion shot with lots of sand dug up underneath the ball to slash the ball out softly. Harder sand requires contact to be made closer to the golf ball.
Step 3
Dig your feet into the sand by fanning them back and forth and pressing your body down into the trap until you feel securely in place. This provides a stable base and ensures you won't slide or fall over during the swing.
Step 4
Open your club face before setting up to the ball by fanning the edge of the club face to the right. This is essential to getting the height on the shot necessary to escape the sand bunker.
Step 5
Open your stance by setting your feet line to the left of the target. This will compensate for the open club face when you swing down your feet line, using the bounce of the golf club and popping the ball up into the air.
Step 6
Swing aggressively along your feet line -- not your target line -- holding off the release of the club and keeping the club face as open as possible to ensure the ball goes into the air.
Step 7
Enter the sand behind the golf ball -- usually 1/2 inch to a 1/4 inch for soft, "sugar" sand. This allows the bounce of the club to work with the leading edge and trailing edge, and the club will slide underneath the ball and propel it into the air.
Step 8
Follow through to a full finish. A common problem among amateurs is stopping their swing after entering the sand. This causes de-acceleration and is a fatal flaw when executing bunker shots.
Step 9
Repeat these steps throughout a good week's worth of practice -- with 50 to 100 practice balls in each session -- to become comfortable blasting out of bunkers.

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