Tight Lies, Wet Sand And Other Scary Things
The series on bunker play just doesn’t seem to want to end, so let’s keep talking about the various scary shots you can find in the bunkers. I got a question from David Smith about wet sand and those aggravating bunkers where there is a thin layer of sand on hard clay or other subsoil. David’s question was rather long, but the gist was that he too often finds his wedge skipping into the belly of the ball on these kinds of shots. David also explained that his highest lofted wedge was a 56* sand wedge with 13* of bounce.
So, let’s start with the shots that David says give him fits – wet or packed sand and those bunkers with a thin layer of sand over hard subsurface.
When you walk into any bunker, the first thing you want to do is assess just what you’ll be dealing with there. With your feet, feel the softness and depth of the sand to get an understanding of what you can expect the wedge and ball to do. If you feel the sand is firm, or if there is very little sand over a hard subsurface, you’re going to have to change your thoughts from a typical explosion shot to one that is more similar to hitting from any tight lie. The fact that you are in a bunker becomes rather secondary, actually.
For these tight lies on firm sand, play the ball a little further back than you would for the “normal” bunker shot, and set up a little more square to the target line. Don’t open the face of the wedge as much and pick out a spot closer to the ball, or even focus on the back of the ball. This shot can be hit much more like a regular shot from the fairway, or even one from a tight hardpan lie. Only allow for the amount of sand resistance your feet tell you will be there.
Shots from tight sand, like any tight lie, will come out lower and a little hotter than normal, but if hit right, they’ll have lots of spin. Allow for both of these aspects of the shot.
Now, I can’t leave this without addressing David’s equipment side of the issue. If your highest lofted club is a 56* sand wedge, there are going to be some shots that you just won’t be able to hit. Loft can be your best friend around the greens on any shot, but particularly from greenside bunkers. And as for bounce, wedges from all other companies are specialized tools with high or low bounce, making them great for some shots, but horrible from others. David, if you play these kinds of bunkers often, you might want to scrap that high bounce 56 for one that has a lower bounce angle, or supplement it with a 58-60 degree wedge with lower bounce. Or . . . . (and I don’t do this often here, but he asked for it)
Try one of our patented V-SOLE wedges which combine the advantages of a low and high bounce wedge in each loft. This technology really does what we claim and it outperforms any other wedge on the market. At least that’s what our research showed, and that’s what our thousands of customers continue to tell us.
So, if you find yourself in tight sand, or one of those bunkers with little sand at all . . . play the ball a little further back, hit closely behind or actually hit the ball first, and allow for a lower ball flight, hotter trajectory and more spin.
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[ comments ]
Hacker Al says:
I have to purposely skull an iron out of the sand because I have no idea how to play it. But then again I'm a 32.6 handicap. haha.
David, get out of my head. I was planning on sending a similar question regarding hard/wet sand. Great column. Thanks, Terry.
The bunkers at my regular course are SO HARD it's easier to putt out of them than use a Wedge.
Our bunkers are firm and crusty and it seems I always have a down hill lie from the back of the bunker with water on the opposite side. I don't care what wedge you own, that is a scary shot. Can we all say . . ."hit it fat"
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