Top-Rated Golf Tips – Your Comprehensive Guide On How To Get Out Of A Sand Trap
Spending time on a beach may sound fun, provided you are not playing on one of your favorite golf courses. There are a lot of golfers, from scratch to professionals to beginners that find it very difficult to achieve the correct impact, loft, or spin to successfully get their ball out of a bunker or sand trap in a single stroke. When your ball does land in a bunker, rather than fearing the shot, you should embrace it by using the right technique.
The method of how you hit and swing your way out of a bunker will depend on the lie. For example, is the ball stuck in either a greenside or fairway bunker? Are you facing a large lip along with an uphill shot? Is the ball buried or is the lie favorable? These are all very common scenarios, and each one should be taken into consideration before you step onto the sand.
In this guide, we will discuss all the different scenarios and provide you with the best shots and techniques to make sure you get your ball out of a sand trap in one or two shots.
Top-Rated Tips On How To Get Out Of A Sandtrap
If you have a strategy in mind to avoid sandtraps completely, then it might be time to rethink your approach. Even the top professional golfers are unable to avoid them. Getting your ball out of a sand trap or bunker is among the most difficult shots to learn or master when it comes to golf.
From professionals to beginners, just about every golfer will face a hard time when it comes to bunker shots. Achieving the right impact, spin, and loft on your ball is often complex which can harm your score. Rather than aiming to avoid these shots altogether, it is better to come prepared. If you are in search of ways to improve your game when it comes to sand traps, here is a list of tips on how to hit successful sand trap shots.
Making sure you are using the correct club is the first decision you need to make when approaching a sand trap shot. Your choice will depend on where the ball has landed in association with where the green is. If the green area is small between the hole and you, try using your high-loft wedge. If the green area is larger, go for a lower-loft wedge. The answer to hitting your way out on a fairway involves hitting more club. This means hitting the ball in the same way that you would for a greenside shot, and when you use more club it provides you with a way to achieve more distance.
Your set up will involve making sure your feet are grounded into the bunker. This will provide you with a more solid base and give you an idea of what the ground is like. The next step involves making sure that you play your ball off the front foot. This set-up will assist with increasing the overall trajectory of your ball. There might be situations when a low trajectory shot becomes necessary, but in most cases playing the shot forward is the general “rule of thumb”. From here you need to open up your stance along with your club-face. To do this aim to the slight left, and open your club-face by 2 to 3 degrees. The last step involves making sure that 80% of your weight is on the front foot and 20% is on the back foot. Distributing your weight in this way will give the ball backspin as soon as you take the shot. Try not to shift your weight back-and-forth in the way that you usually do for normal swings.
The correct grip is also an important factor to achieve the best bunker shot. Approach this type of shot using a weaker grip and soft arms. This doesn’t mean that you will be holding your club using less pressure. Instead, it will refer to releasing the hinge in the wrist. A weak grip will allow your wrist hinge to release earlier. This will ensure that your ball goes higher and stops faster onto the green.
Once you feel comfortable with the set-up, it is time to move onto the swing. It is best to use an outside-in swing pattern, with a slight bend in your wrist as you reach the top part of the swing. The distance that you swing your club back will depend on what type of range you are hoping to achieve when you hit the ball. This is a swing pattern that assists with the overall loft of your ball and allows these shots to be soft and high.
When you are hitting your ball out of a sand trap you want to avoid moving your weight back-and-forth as you do for normal shots. This is when it becomes important to pay particular attention to the follow-through. With a bunker shot, you must focus on staying down longer to ensure a full follow-through. If you stop or slow down the swing as the club impacts with the ball, then the ball won’t be going anywhere. In most cases, hit the ball slightly fat (from behind), which will mean some of the sand will be pulled up with the shot. When your follow-through is strong, there will be enough strength to drive the ball straight out of a sand trap.
Similar to how several of the famed golfers have mentioned, your “mental game” is one of your strongest tools when it comes to golf. If you are approaching a shot with feelings of doubt and fear, this will have a negative impact when it comes to your game. Each shot needs to be approached with confidence. Think about where the ball should go, and try to clear your mind of negative thoughts before taking a shot. You will experience poor shots from time to time, but the key lies in moving on from these and making sure your mind is clear before approaching each shot.
Consistent and regular practice is what is going to assist you the most. As we mentioned earlier on, rather than trying to stay away from bunkers, rather come prepared instead. Hitting your ball into a bunker is inevitable, but when you practice regularly this will help to build up your confidence when it comes to approaching these complex shots. When you are practicing, focus on how you think for every shot. When you are prepared physically and mentally this can really assist you when facing your next big game.
How To Deal With Greenside Bunkers
The majority of the greenside bunkers will be situated below a green. This means you will be needing loft in order to drop your ball where you would like it to go. Using a sand-wedge, open the clubface while focusing on not striking your ball directly. Take the shot 2 to 3 inches from behind your ball to achieve the momentum you need to push the ball forward. Your weight should be on your front foot, your shaft vertical, and your arms should be soft. When taking the swing, act like the pitch is from a 40 to 50-yard distance. Avoid swinging too hard and make sure that you focus on the follow-through turning your body towards the target to ensure you ball lands where you want it to.
How To Deal With Fairway Bunkers
When you do land your ball in a fairway sand trap, you will probably still be a fair distance from a green, which means you should be choosing one of your lower irons. In comparison to a greenside bunker, your initial impact should be on the ball rather than the sand. Your stance should be open and use a punch-shot to connect with your ball. In most cases, the fairway bunkers won’t have bad lies or big lips, so a punch shot usually works well to get out of a sand trap.
What To Do When Your Ball Is Buried In A Bunker
When your ball is buried inside the sand, this is usually one of the more stressful situations you will need to face when trying to get your ball out of a bunker. Rather than opening your club-face, swing hard and aggressively, with a closed face. It is important to still impact with the sand that is just behind your ball, but your ball should be put into the back part of the stance you are using. When your clubface is closed, swinging down with force will help your club to dislodge your ball.
Sand Trap Shots For Beginners
The main take-away to achieve success when it comes to sand traps includes 3 essential fundamentals that are simple to practice.
Your club-head will begin behind your ball using a full backswing before it returns to your ball. This ensures that your club will cut through the sand with ease while continuing onto a complete finish. Focus on painting a complete circle using your club-head inside the sand. Practice getting familiar with full backswings and driving the shot through to a complete finish.
It is very important to maintain the speed of your swing in a bunker. Your main area of focus needs to be on sustaining ample swing speed with your club-head and your impact area. The main aim is to maintain the speed of your club-head as it cuts into the sand. You need to make sure your club-head reaches a full finish.
To do this either sink your knees or dig your feet in slightly. When your center-of-gravity is lower it provides a way to take a more aggressive and full swing. This also ensures that the club-head will impact slightly under your ball instead of directly impacting with the ball, which softens the distance and flight.
Even the most experienced golfers will experience uncertainty when it comes to certain parts of the game. Putting is an area when confidence becomes a very important factor. One of the parts of a game that makes experienced and beginner players nervous would be sand trap play. In certain ways, there are more margins for errors when it comes to explosive shots out of the sand when compared to the iron shots on a fairway, because you are not required to hit your ball precisely, but rather to make sure you drive the ball out of the sand. When established routines are lacking along with consistent approaches to bunker play, it often results in players dropping unnecessary shots.
Here is a step by step guide on how get out of a bunker:
Approach the shot with an open-stance, with your feet facing 10 to 15 degrees to the right side of the target, and the ball should be facing to the opposite side of your heel (right). Make sure your feet are settled in the sand which will provide you with a steady and firm stance.
Direct your club-face at your pin. This will open the club-face up which will point to the left-hand side of your overall stance. When you are swinging back focus on following a path that is parallel to how your feet are lined up. This allows you to cut over the sand and then under your ball, using an open-face which will direct your ball towards your pin.
Make sure your club-face remains open throughout your shot. If it closes up, you will most likely experience the club digging too deeply in the sand, which will either result in leaving your ball inside the sand trap or hitting the ball to the right side of your pin.
Make sure you are taking a full-swing. It is important to keep your acceleration up as the club passes through the sand and ensure that you complete the follow-through. Slowing down or stopping the shot as the club impacts the sand happens to be one of the more common reasons that the ball remains in the sand trap.
Aim at hitting the sand from about 1 and a half inches from behind your ball. You can use this distance from behind your ball for most of the green-side bunker shots. You can vary your distance in the way of swinging either softer or harder across the sand, but always make sure you complete the follow-through.
Additional Warnings And Tips
Try to imagine that your ball is resting on a tee hidden under the sand. Your goal is to impact the tee and to knock it out from under your ball while trying not to touch the ball.
The main reasons behind failed sand trap shots involve slowing down on your shot, and hitting your ball rather than the sand directly behind it. You want to try and not hit your ball at all, as the sand will perform the role of lifting your ball out the sand trap as your club is swinging through it. The best way to get out of a sand trap is to accelerate your way across the sand and to finish your swing.
Golf Bunker Rules
When you start to weigh up your options on how you are going to get yourself out of that sand trap, it is important to realize that sand traps fall under the category of hazards.
Similar to the water hazards, sand traps, and bunkers are linked to their own rules when you compare them to standard shots from either the rough or a fairway. What this means for you is that you do have options, and you won’t always be forced to play the shot as the ball lies.
Things You Cannot Do
Due to the hazard status of a sand trap, there are some things golfers are not able to do when their ball lands in a bunker. You are not permitted to ground your club or use your hands to touch or move the sand before you take your shot. However, there are a few exceptions when it comes to these rules, which includes supporting yourself to prevent you from falling. Once you have struck the ball, you are allowed to touch the sand.
There are also specific types of objects that you are not allowed to move even when they are directly interfering with your shot. These are objects known as “loose impediments” that you are not allowed to move. An example of this may include your ball landing in a pile of leaves. Other types of impediments that you are not allowed to move include snow, dung, twigs, worm casts, and natural ice.
One of the exceptions in a bunker includes stones. Stones are classified as posing a risk to a golfer if they are struck, which means you are allowed to move them without facing a penalty. Other items that you will be permitted to move include either dead or living animals.
What You Need To Know About Unplayable Lie
Golfers are allowed to decide when there is an “unplayable lie” anywhere on the course aside from the water hazards. What this means is that if you are overly concerned about a specific sand trap shot there are options available to you when it comes to taking your penalty drop.
Play your ball as close as you can from where the last shot was played. This is commonly known as “stroke and distance”.
Drop your ball directly behind the position where your ball lies, maintaining the point between the spot where the ball will be dropped and the hole. However, your ball must remain in the bunker. You are not allowed to drop your ball outside the sand trap.
Drop your ball within 2 club-lengths of (not closer) to the hole from where your ball lies. Once again this must remain inside the bunker. The same rules apply when taking a lie that is unplayable outside the bunker, with an added exception that involves dropping your ball back into the hazard. You should familiarize yourself with these rules and how they are applied, as they may help you to save numerous shots.
Why Are The Bunker Shots So Difficult?
A bunker shot becomes difficult when over analyzed and over thought. The successful sand trap shots involve achieving a full-swing motion that is backed up by ample swing speed.
The golden rule includes maintaining the swing speed that you need so that your club-head ends up cutting easily through or into the sand. Your center-of-gravity only needs to be lowered slightly which will give you the 1 and a half inch sand thickness you need between the clubface and your ball which aides in softening the flight.
Regular Practice In Bunkers
When you practice your shots in a bunker, try to keep things as creative and fun as you possibly can. Always focus on maintaining your swing speed and full-swing motion and you will be surprised at the results. Once you have mastered this technique, your balls should fly out of the bunkers every time.
Final Thoughts On Getting Out Of The Sand Trap
While this is classified as one of the more complex shots when it comes to golf, don’t allow hitting your ball out of either a sand trap or bunker to become a frustrating and stressful experience. With enough practice and using the correct set-up, you will soon find that you are able to approach these shots with ease and confidence. It is also important to find out more about a course before you intend to play, to account for all the potential hazards and how you plan to tackle them when your ball does land in the wrong place.
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