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Bunker shots are round killers for me. It’s not that I can’t get out it’s that I can’t save the par. I just have not learned the art of distance and direction control out of the sand. I recently played a round where I was in the bunker 13 times and shot an 85. The math is kind of obvious. Fairway bunkers are not as much of an issue. I just bang those out and recover nicely for the most part.

 

 

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Usually the problem with hard sand is, the club bounces off the sand, and skips into the ball causing a bladed shot. 
There are two solutions, 
1. (Recommended) I would make sure to have at least one wedge in the bag with low bounce, and it doesn't have to be your highest lofted wedge. The low bounce will stop the skipping and dig into the sand a little more. You can also rotate in this wedge if you know it is going to be wet, so you don't use a permanent spot in the bag. 
 
2. While moving through the impact zone, make a conscious effort to keep the club grounded to the sand to eliminate skipping. 

If we’re talking wet compacted sand, I just play it like a pitch with my most lofted club unless the lip is tall enough that such a shot is impossible. Otherwise, I just take a low bounce wedge and try to throw the sole of the club into the sand as hard as I can and let the bounce take care of the rest.


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11 hours ago, SteddyGolf said:

Bunker shots are round killers for me. It’s not that I can’t get out it’s that I can’t save the par. I just have not learned the art of distance and direction control out of the sand. I recently played a round where I was in the bunker 13 times and shot an 85. The math is kind of obvious. Fairway bunkers are not as much of an issue. I just bang those out and recover nicely for the most part.

The solution to this seems pretty obvious....don't hit it in the bunker!

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8 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

The solution to this seems pretty obvious....don't hit it in the bunker!

That's the obvious answer Dave.

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Yea.....”sigh”...

I can get out most of the time, but distance control for me is hard. I never practice.

that pretty well explains my answer...

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IMO, the bunker shot is a whole other technique in itself. I used to be mortified of them mostly because I never figured out the technique and just kinda made something up every time I hit from one.. which hardly ever worked. I finally decided to spend some regular time practicing bunker shots and learning the proper technique.. well "A" proper technique as there are a few different ways to skin that cat. A few Youtube bunker practice videos and some repetition and now I no longer dread them.

Even if there isn't sand available to practice in, I'll find some fluffy grass similar to rough, make sure the ball's sitting on top and take the same swing as I would in the bunker. Club face wide open toward the target, body and stance turned out (open) about a foot, leading foot turned out nearly aiming at the target and 80% of my weight on that foot. Legs slightly more than shoulder width apart to lower stance and open face a tad more, ball in the middle or slightly back in stance, hands choked down to the bottom of the grip. Nearly vertical back swing and swing across my body and around my waist. On grass, I try to hit as little of the ball as possible. Maybe the top edge will give it a kiss to get it up in the air. 

Even in the Phoenix area where most budget course bunkers are literally like hitting off of concrete, as long as you have a good technique grooved, you can still slip that face under the ball for an up and down. 

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I've been doing better out of bunkers this year, not because of practice, but because of the club I use.  I'm using the Callaway Sure-Out, but I'm sure that the Cleveland Smart Sole, XE-1, or any wedge with a big sole would probably work just as well for me. At least now I can get out of the bunker in one shot.  If I practiced more, maybe I can get the ball closer to the hole.

My biggest issue with bunkers is the inconsistency of the the sand in the bunker.  The pros don't play the same bunker game that I do simply because all of the bunkers they play from are basically the same; practice in the bunker and they have a good bunker game.  Bunkers that I play from vary from fluffy sand, firm sand, no sand, nicely raked, not raked, footprints, goose prints, you name it.  That's golf at a muni.  I suspect I would play better from the bunkers that pros play from, so I can't get too upset about my lack of ability to get up and down.  

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Finally got in for my lesson after rescheduling twice due to weather. Basically, my setup for bunker shots was just all wrong. Got that sorted and now I’d have to say I definitely have more confidence in my ability again. Still need to practice to get back where I was though.


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For the first few years I played on a course that didn’t have any sand and when I started playing other courses I quickly decided to learn the shot. First had to practice off river bottom sand around our home, then started sneaking out to the private course my grandparents lived near when I could drive. Eventually got caught and worked out permission to use their practice area then spent a lot of time out there till I got the hang of the shot.

For practicing sand play I like to alternate targets and trajectory as frequently as possible to keep from going into autopilot. I’ll also place a club or alignment stick on the green a few feet before and after the target area and try to keep the ball inside this area just to add an element of pass/fail to things.


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For the first few years I played on a course that didn’t have any sand and when I started playing other courses I quickly decided to learn the shot. First had to practice off river bottom sand around our home, then started sneaking out to the private course my grandparents lived near when I could drive. Eventually got caught and worked out permission to use their practice area then spent a lot of time out there till I got the hang of the shot.

For practicing sand play I like to alternate targets and trajectory as frequently as possible to keep from going into autopilot. I’ll also place a club or alignment stick on the green a few feet before and after the target area and try to keep the ball inside this area just to add an element of pass/fail to things.


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Something you might want to try on the practice green is a kids 'hula hoop'. It creates a nice target are about 3' in diameter.


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I practice bunker shots about once a month. My club has two practice greens with practice bunkers - those bunkers have different sand in them so it’s nice.

I was in two bunkers today and got up and down once, the other was easy out, easy two putt bogey so mission accomplished from the sand.




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Something you might want to try on the practice green is a kids 'hula hoop'. It creates a nice target are about 3' in diameter.


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Done that but got tired of carrying the hoop. Now I use the rods since they’re already in my bag or I’ve even used string to make a circle.



In the bag
Driver: Callaway Rogue Subzero 9.5 Stiff flex
3 wood: Callaway Rogue Subzero 15 degree
Hybrids: 17 degree titleist 816 h2
Irons: Ben Hogan Ptx 22-46 degree (4-pw)stiff flex standard lie
Wedges: Callaway Mac Daddy 4 50,54,58 degrees
Putter: Odyssey EXO seven

Gig’em Aggies!
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I've been experimenting with using my 8i to chip from shallower face traps.  One of the guys I play with does this frequently and with good results.  Anyone else use a club besides a SW? 

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1 hour ago, fixyurdivot said:

I've been experimenting with using my 8i to chip from shallower face traps.  One of the guys I play with does this frequently and with good results.  Anyone else use a club besides a SW? 

I've been practicing bump-n-run shots from the grass with a 9i and even my 50*, so I could see the use of an 8i for that type of shot...not sure if I'd have the guts to pull it off though..!🐓

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2 hours ago, fixyurdivot said:

I've been experimenting with using my 8i to chip from shallower face traps.  One of the guys I play with does this frequently and with good results.  Anyone else use a club besides a SW? 

I've done it when there is very little or no sand in the bunker, but it's not something I practice.  With the wind here, certain bunkers are wind-blown until the superintendent adds more sand.

Not at my course, but I have also putted out of bunkers.

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4 hours ago, Kenny B said:

I've done it when there is very little or no sand in the bunker, but it's not something I practice.  With the wind here, certain bunkers are wind-blown until the superintendent adds more sand.

Not at my course, but I have also putted out of bunkers.

Similar conditions here in Yuma.  Some traps have more packed, less fluffy sand that can be hard to "splash" out of.  I tried my 8i a few times the last several rounds using the same bump and run stroke I use around the green.  It seems to cut into the harder sand more reliably, reducing the chance of having a SW bounce up and gut the ball.  Also, the bunkers on the courses we're playing here aren't really deep or on high slope - though some are and still require a SW.  

I'm telling ya, some of these older guys have some little tricks up their sleeve that, while perhaps not conventional, work quite well.

6 hours ago, PING Apologist #9 said:

I've been practicing bump-n-run shots from the grass with a 9i and even my 50*, so I could see the use of an 8i for that type of shot...not sure if I'd have the guts to pull it off though..!🐓

Try using your 8i for those bump n' run shots.  I recently switched from having used my 7i for these shots, for years. I'm finding the 8i loft just the right combination to lift them and control roll-out.  I've had many more chip in's (or damn near) since this change.

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Just now, fixyurdivot said:

Try using your 8i for those bump n' run shots.  I recently switched from having used my 7i for these shots, for years. I'm finding the 8i loft just the right combination to lift them and control roll-out.  I've had many more chip in's (or damn near) since this change.

Awesome, I will give that a go. Thanks Bud!

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5 hours ago, fixyurdivot said:

Similar conditions here in Yuma.  Some traps have more packed, less fluffy sand that can be hard to "splash" out of.  I tried my 8i a few times the last several rounds using the same bump and run stroke I use around the green.  It seems to cut into the harder sand more reliably, reducing the chance of having a SW bounce up and gut the ball.  Also, the bunkers on the courses we're playing here aren't really deep or on high slope - though some are and still require a SW.  

I'm telling ya, some of these older guys have some little tricks up their sleeve that, while perhaps not conventional, work quite well.

Try using your 8i for those bump n' run shots.  I recently switched from having used my 7i for these shots, for years. I'm finding the 8i loft just the right combination to lift them and control roll-out.  I've had many more chip in's (or damn near) since this change.

There are no greenside bunkers on my course that I could get out of using an 8i and stay on the green.  Maybe Seve could have, but not me.  😀

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On 1/11/2019 at 12:01 PM, Kenny B said:

I've done it when there is very little or no sand in the bunker, but it's not something I practice.  With the wind here, certain bunkers are wind-blown until the superintendent adds more sand.

Not at my course, but I have also putted out of bunkers.

I am not above putting out of a bunker, but the lip cannot be curling back at you.  

My normal bunker shot is with the SW (54*).  On hard-packed sand, I'll use my 58* (less bounce) for shorter shots or the 49* (also less bounce) for longer shots.  I rarely leave it in the sand, but I don't get it as close as I'd like all that often.  I'm pretty much limited to the chunk and run; I can't get one to stop quickly.

 

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I am not above putting out of a bunker, but the lip cannot be curling back at you.  
My normal bunker shot is with the SW (54*).  On hard-packed sand, I'll use my 58* (less bounce) for shorter shots or the 49* (also less bounce) for longer shots.  I rarely leave it in the sand, but I don't get it as close as I'd like all that often.  I'm pretty much limited to the chunk and run; I can't get one to stop quickly.
 

There is one bunker at my home course that I putt out of, depending on pin location. Can only do it if they haven’t been raked for a few days and become hard.


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