Playing in Wet Sand
By Jon Woodroffe
At this time of year the bunkers will be wet and thus the sand takes on the same consistency as concrete. Compacted sand makes an already difficult shot that much harder, but a couple of small adjustments in style and club selection can help.
Firstly let’s look at the club selerction. You would normally attack a green side bunker shot with your sand wedge, a club that probably has a large bounce angle which is perfect for when the sand is soft and fluffy and deep, everything it isn’t at the moment. The bounce on this club will cause it to do exactly what it says on the tin and the club will bounce off the hard surface and hit the golf ball right in the belly, causing it to fly 4 feet off the floor like an exocet missile, across the green and if you are lucky into the bunker the other side of the green or alternatively into oblivion behind the green. Instead I would suggest you go for a pitching wedge, or even better if you have one, a lob wedge with a low bounce. The sharper edge of these clubs will dig into the wet sand and allow the clubhead to pass through giving the correct contact.
Style wise, I would recommend you play the ball more towards the middle of your feet in the stance and have your weight leaning less onto your front foot. Normally I am a huge fan of playing greenside bunker shots off your front foot with your weight heavily leaning to that foot as well, but as we want to hit less sand this time, a more central ball position works better. I would also try squaring the clubface up rather than the normal open face; again this will allow the front edge of the club to dig into the sand, normally the worst thing for a greenside bunker shot when the sand is soft.
My final advice with this treacherous shot is be aware that normally on this shot you try to hit very hard as there is to be no contact between clubhead and ball, and the harder you swing this allows the sand to be dislodged easier, but this time we are not looking to move a ton of sand. There will be a much closer impact to the ball although I must stress again we are not attempting to make contact with the ball. So a slightly shorter and less powerful swing would be a good idea, the sand is not going to dissipate the power as readily as normal, so if you don’t want to see the end of your Titleist disappearing into the undergrowth, take it easy.
I hope you find these tips help you approach a tricky shot with more confidence and do also bear in mind that these points will work if you are in a bunker in the middle of summer that has no sand in it, I know that should never happen but sadly it does all too often.
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