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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Loft Down in the Bunker

No doubt you've heard the "Loft UP" commercials, telling you how the new adjustable drivers almost require you to use more loft to get the ball flying further.

Well, I've got a video here from Shawn Humphries at golf.com advising you to loft DOWN for bunker shots:



Although this may sound somewhat strange, it's right in line with the "easier to hit short shot" techniques that are being taught more frequently now. You're often advised to chip with a 9-iron -- and sometimes with as much as a 7-iron -- to get better results with your chipping. (The "taller" faces of these clubs make it easier to get solid contact.) And the logic is the same with this sand shot tip.

When you use a less-lofted club -- Shawn recommends a 52-degree wedge but I would recommend even trying a 9-iron if the sand is fairly soft -- you don't have to swing as hard to get distance, so it's easier to hit the sand where you mean to hit it.

But in this video Shawn points out that he didn't hit the shot quite the way he intended but he still got a decent result. The "taller" face of the less-lofted wedge is less likely to go right underneath the ball, especially in soft sand, so you have a better chance of getting the ball out with a less-than-perfect shot. And when you use a less-lofted club, you also create more bounce when you open the face... and bounce is the key to good sand shots.

So when you end up in a greenside trap, don't automatically grab that 60-degree wedge. Unless you have to get the ball up really quick from a deep bunker, you may get a better result using less loft.

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