By Jack Nickerson
Practice Time for the Sand Shots
Many golfers just do not take the time to practice the sand shot from either a fairway bunker or a green side trap. Most will ask, where do I practice that kind of shot? I must admit there are not that many practice facilities that include an area for one to practice a fairway bunker or even a greenside trap. But they can be found at most facilities. You may have to ask, but they are usually adjacent to the main practice area.
Like any other practice session, it should start with a warm-up routine. Take you sand wedge and make your way to the practice bunkers next to the practice greens. Place about 6 balls cleanly in the trap and begin to develop a feel of how far the ball will travel after hitting it properly from a clean “sitting up” lie. Continue to hit balls from this type of lie until you can get results that satisfy the 3 to 5 foot accuracy rule that leaves you with a makeable putt.
After you have mastered this type of bunker shot then purposely partially bury 6 balls in the same practice bunker and attempt to get the proper “feel” for hitting the ball close to the hole. There are times when this type of shot becomes almost impossible to stop the ball close to the hole. Accepting this fact may help you save shots by not forcing yourself to do something that cannot be done easily.
Practicing the fairway bunker shot may be more challenging than the greenside bunker. There are not that many facilities that have a practice fairway bunker in the practice area. If this is the case then you might want to simulate practicing this type of shot from a freshly placed divot. Placing a ball just with-in the divot does give you an opportunity to practice “picking” the ball clean from this type of lie which is a similar lie that you would get from a fairway bunker (most of the time).
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