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Golf Trouble Shots: Never Fear The Sand Trap Again
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What is your first response when you hit into a greenside bunker? If you are like so many other weekend golfers you aren't celebrating right then, are you? Most of us dread having to attempt escape shots from a sand trap.

Yes we've heard the TV instructors and analyst talk about how easy it is to hit a bunker shot successfully. They make it sound so simple don't they. Just "blast" it out like there is nothing to it. Simple as that. So they say.

For so many of us that just does not translate in real life to the golf course. When we attempt to "blast" it out onto the green we do everything but. We either leave it in the bunker or clip it way over the other side of the green. No matter how you slice it that means we've added at least one stroke. Maybe more.

Is it that we are intimidated by the steep face of the bunker? Could be. Are we haunted by past sand trap failures. Surely. Would failure be embarassing? Certainly.

With all these negative thoughts running around in our heads it is no wonder we want to be certain we succeed this time, huh? As a result, whether consciously or not some of us employ a lifting technique during our shot attempt. That is we want to help the ball up into the air. I've seen a couple of the more popular techniques golfers use.

They either flip at the ball with their hands or pull their front shoulder up high and away during the swing. Both lead to failure nearly every time. The golfer slows down the clubhead invariably while trying to make these kinds of swings which if they make contact behind the ball like they are suppose to you means the ball will end up short, often times still in the bunker. Otherwise, the rising clubface and particularly the leading edge will strike the back of the ball driving it low and fast across the green to who knows where.

Here are a few quick tips to getting these sand trap shots right.

* Pick a target behind the ball where you intend to enter the sand. * Now focus on that spot during the swing. * Forget about the ball * Open the club face * Swing down and through to a full finish

Unlike most every other shot the sand trap shot requires that you not focus on the ball but rather train your eyes on the spot about and an inch or two behind the ball. By nature you will hit what you're looking at so look behind the ball instead of the back of the ball like you normally would from the fairway.

Now forget about the ball altogether. Yes, that's right, forget about it. Your goal now is to slice through the sand under the ball with a very open clubface to a full and complete finish.

Think about the clubface moving through an inch or two below the ball. I'll share with you a swing thought that helped me improve my sand trap performance.

Imagine that there is a tee under the ball down below the sand. Your thought then is to break that tee in half. Somehow that idea made all the difference for me and my sand trap results.

I'm thinking that it will help you never fear the sand trap again.

Street Talk


Good advice Wayne. Nobody likes being in the sand, but if they did follow your advice and practice it, the sand would become much less of a "trap" and just part of the game. Most of the pros actually don't mind being in the sand because their comfort level is so high... I am not there yet but hope to be one day!

  about 1 decade ago
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