Golf Magazine

How to Get Out of Hard Sand Bunkers

By Golfforbeginners
How to Get Out of Hard Sand BunkersDuring the spring and summer months, when there is more rain than usual, you might not be able to find a fluffy lie in the sand - bunkers are water-soaked and packed hard, thus the term "hard-pan".
No bounce, hard-packed sand and lots of water can turn a normal bunker shot into a two or three shot mistake. How can you get out of these hard sand bunkers in a single stroke?
I came upon this exact dilemma as I navigated my way through the beautiful and exceptionally maintained River Club this past week. After a deluge, even the most pristine golf courses have hard packed sand. I must admit, I was at a loss when it came to extracting my golf ball safely (and in the least number of strokes) from both greenside and fairway bunkers....and, I was racking up the shots.
These are not your normal bunker shots and I can guess that these are not shots that we normally practice so I have enlisted the advice of several teaching professionals to give us the "bounce" on the subject of hardpan.
Mel Sole, a local legend (and teaching professional) in the Myrtle Beach area says to reach for a different club when escaping hard-packed bunker sand. "You definitely don’t want to use a sand wedge…or lob wedge," says Sole.
A sand wedge gives you too much bounce and is designed to help you through fluffier sand. Mel instead suggests using a pitching wedge or 9-iron and to change your normal technique.
"Address the ball as you would a normal bunker shot. Instead of cocking the wrists early in the swing as you would normally do, have less wrist cock and a shallower arc on the backswing, taking just a thin sliver of sand. Still hit about two inches behind the ball and keep [your hands] ‘under’ so that the club won't dig."
Read: Picking Your Wedge With Confidence!
Instructor Jim McLean suggests a change in technique for a greenside bunker challenge.
"Think, Steeper, shorter and easy."
Don't open the clubface (keep the face square), adjust your stance to be on your front foot (lean towards the target), take the club back steeply and hit one-inch behind the ball.
That's it! Easy-peasy, it's off to find a wet bunker and practice!
What advice do you have for getting your golf ball out of a hardpan bunker? Let us know in the comments section of this golf blog and on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.

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