Making the correct golf club selection in the sand can be an integral element of a good round. What’s the best club to choose in a given scenario?
Bunker shots strike fear into the average golfer. But this need not be the case! No doubt you’re fed up of professionals telling you just how easy it is to get out of the sand, if you abide by the basics. This of course takes practice: you need to know the basics first, and then make sure that you can carry them out without hesitation. But here we are going to discuss your golf club selection in the bunker, because this may just give you the edge when you next need to put those basics into action.
Most people play their golf at their home clubs, but increasingly golfers are travelling abroad, experiencing the delights of golf in Europe and the United States. Golf in the Middle East has become popular, and you can imagine how important your game in the sand will need to be there! But the first thing to consider is what kind of sand you have in the bunkers at your club, or any club you’re visiting. Not all bunkers were created equal!
It’s almost like you’re deciding what type of eggs you’re going to have for breakfast; often there are too many different types to choose from. Unfortunately, with bunkers the choice is made for you, and you’re just going to have to deal with what you’re given.
Too often, amateur golfers find themselves in the bunker and immediately draw the sand wedge from their bag.
Guys and girls, don’t be fooled, you’re not obliged to use this club when you’re in the sand. In fact, we recommend against it if you find yourself in a hard-baked bunker. Often found around courses in North London and the suburbs, these bunkers are more compact and can almost feel like you’re playing out of clay. Here, you should opt for a thinner edge than the hazard’s namesake club. Something like a pitching wedge in the green side bunker of this sort would work well.
Often discovered near the seaside, you may find yourself stepping into the bunker and sinking down six inches. The sand is usually soft and loose; the challenge is asking for you to open up your club face and lift the ball out among the sand.
Here you should take the sand wedge, as it has a wide flange. This is the area from the sole of the club that extends back from the clubface. The flange of a sand wedge is given an angle towards the ground, known as the bounce angle. This promotes less resistance through the sand when you impact behind the ball, in order to lift it out of the hazard.
Light and Fluffy
If you’ve ever ventured to Florida, the sunshine state, you’ll find that the sand is light and powdery. Problems can arise when there is heavy rain and the sand becomes gooey, but generally it plays like crushed marble. Similar to our quick-sand example, this type of sand requires a higher bounce angle. Depending on just how fluffy the sand is, you may wish for a higher bounce angle than normal. This can be achieved by opening the face of your sand wedge, so that on impact the bounce angle is higher.
Golf Club Selection
We hope that this golf club selection advice will help you on your way to tackling bunkers. But remember, these tips are for greenside bunkers. If you’re struggling with getting good contact and distance from fairway bunkers, then read Overcoming Fairway Bunkers.
Don’t forget to check the rules in the bunker too! We have a couple of articles that will keep you on the right side of the law. Because as we all know, among fierce competition golfers can be sticklers for the rules!
The Rules of Golf – Ball Plugged in a Bunker
The Rules of Golf – Stones in Bunkers