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Friday, March 19, 2010

Mickelson on Sand Play

When it's time for Spring Break, we start to think about the beach... so I've been looking all week for some good material on sand play. As it happens, I stumbled across some footage from Phil Mickelson's new short game DVD. This seemed perfect, because it not only teaches you bunker play from a great player, but also gives you an idea what the DVD is like. If you were thinking about buying it, this may help you decide if it's worth the money to you. It's a pretty long segment -- around 9 minutes -- so you should find some useful info in this lesson.

Since the short game is both the easiest part of the game to learn and the slowest to come back after a layoff, I'll be posting more material on different aspects of the short game. Stay tuned.


  1. Nice. Thanks for posting this, Mike. I am the world's worst bunker player, which is weird because I've got a decent flop shot.

    I'll play this a few more times in the hope some of it sticks for my next trip to the beach.

  2. Tomorrow's post is on how to aim a bunker shot, Diane. It may give you some help too.

  3. Aim is rarely a problem for me, Mike. My bunker shots that actually leave the confines of the hazard generally come within a foot or two of the pin... as the ball screams past it at something in the vicinity of 40mph.

    But I'm sure I'll learn from your post anyway. 8-)

  4. Maybe it will help after all, Diane. I can't say for sure since I can't see you hit it, but it sounds like you either hit the ball (those are the rockets) or you dig in too deep. The type of sand in the trap makes a difference, of course, but it sounds like you need to check your ball position.

    One other possibility: I used to have a lot of trouble hitting my sand wedge, so I started trying to use my 9-iron out of the trap. I made so much improvement that my playing partner said he'd never play a sand wedge if he could hit his 9-iron that well!

    If you can hit the 9-iron out of the sand well, the problem may be your sand wedge. After my success with the 9-iron, I went to a wedge with a lot more bounce (14 to 15 degrees) and the problem vanished. Turns out I had a very steep approach into the sand, which means I needed more bounce; and apparently, when you open the face of the 9-iron, the extra loft and shape of the flange stops it from digging in as much with a steep swing. Give it a try; it's a no-cost way to find out.