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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Rickie Fowler Bunkered to His Knees (Video)

This video from Golf Digest featuring Rickie Fowler and Butch Harmon covers a shot you hope you never have to hit -- a plugged bunker shot from your knees. I've never seen a presentation on how to play this specific shot before, so I wanted to pass it on.

Note that Rickie can't go toward the hole if he takes a normal stance. Don't rule that possibility out too soon! If you have a better angle to the fairway than the hole, that might be your best play. But obviously Rickie is showing you how to play this bizarre shot, so let's get on with it.

I want to focus on the stance because that's the real key here. Here's a frame snagged from the video so you can follow what I'm saying.

Butch with Rickie on knees beside bunker

First, Rickie isn't down on both knees. I know there are numerous videos showing how to hit shots from your knees, but in this case -- a plugged ball -- you may lose your balance when the clubhead hits the sand. You have to move A LOT of sand to dig this plugged ball out. By going down on only one knee, you create a wider base so you stay steadier over the shot.

Note also that Rickie's TRAILING knee is the one on the ground. This helps you avoid any movement backward during your downswing, which might result in a fat shot that is more likely to leave the ball buried in the bunker. If you do move a little, you want to move toward the target, not away from it.

The extra 'twist' you can get from using your lower body this way also helps you get the ball out.

From there it's basically just chopping down on the ball with the club, like an ax chop. You want to hit just behind the ball, not way behind it -- remember, this shot is plugged. You may end up sticking the head of the club in the ground. That's okay, as long as the ball pops out.

Remember, there's some luck involved here. A plugged ball may not come out, no matter how perfectly you hit it. But Rickie's technique gives you the best chance of making your next shot a putt.

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