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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Playing from Hard Sand

Alright, let's start the New Year with a tip for playing from packed or thin sand. This video is from Michael Breed and it makes playing from hard sand simple.

As you can tell, some of Breed's keys for this shot are similar to playing a pitch from a tight lie... but there ARE some differences. Let's summarize the process.
  • Pick a club with low bounce. Michael gives 7° as an example, but just pick a club with a smaller sole. If the bunker lip isn't too high and you've got a little green to work with, you might even want to try a pitching wedge or 9-iron.
  • As usual with a sand shot, you want the ball a bit forward in your stance -- say, a little inside your lead heel. But you don't want to open your stance as much. Michael says it's more closed but you might find it easier to think of setting up with a square stance, and just open up a bit if you need to.
  • You want to dig a bit with the lead edge -- that's why we take less bounce -- so you don't open the face as much. Michael has a good visual here. Out of soft sand you might open the face enough that a line drawn along the leading edge would point at your lead big toe. For this shot off hard sand, you want that line to point toward your lead HEEL. That's almost square to your target -- ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE.
  • You want to swing a little slower. Now, this should seem logical to you but I'll say it anyway: If your swing is slower, it has to be longer. Take a look at Michael's swing in the video and you'll see that it's almost a 3/4 swing.
  • Finally, all of this will result in a lower trajectory shot so you'll have to allow for a bit more roll after the ball hits the green.
I know that sounds like a lot to remember but most of it's just common sense once you understand how this shot differs from a 'soft sand' shot.

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