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Friday, October 27, 2017

How Visualization Helps on the Beach

Instructor Will Robins has a new Golf Digest article on how to get out of the sand without practice. Sound interesting? Let's check it out.

Will Robins hitting sand from a bunker

How can Robins make such a claim? Because he says your problem with bunkers isn't your technique. Rather, it's your fear of bunkers.

Alright, I'll bite on that. He says that when you're afraid you tense up, and that screws up your technique. If you just relax, your muscles will do what you know to do without a problem. After all, you can hit several inches behind the ball and still get it out of the bunker.

I'd like him to clarify that a bit. You can hit behind the ball and get it out of the bunker as long as there's a lot of sand in the bunker. If you're in a bunker with a thin lie or just hard sand, hitting too much behind the ball results in a skulled shot. Most of the time, that's not going to get you out.

So I think his advice here is good as long as you've got a standard lie in the sand. If there's some sand under the ball, his advice is probably going to help you... and he's right that you won't need much practice to make it work.

Since you can hit as much as three or four inches behind the ball when you've got a standard lie in the bunker, Robins suggests that you forget about the ball. Or to put it another way, since you don't have to hit the ball at all during a normal sand shot, why worry about what the ball does?

Robins wants you to use a visualization image: Throw a handful of sand onto the green with your club. That's it. You can practice your swing in the rough beside the bunker, making a nice swish that doesn't dig into the grass. Then just do that in the bunker, swinging hard enough to throw some sand onto the green.

The ball will just happen to fly out of the bunker as well.

I really like this advice. Rather than directly trying to attack the fear of leaving the ball in the bunker, Robins wants you to do something you KNOW you can do -- swing hard enough to throw some sand onto the green. From a standard lie, you don't even have to be particularly accurate with your entry point behind the ball to get both sand and ball out of the trap and onto the green.

Once you get over your fear of leaving the ball in the bunker -- however long that takes -- then you can worry about those thin lies. (To be honest, you might just try chipping from a thin lie. The ball's going to come out low anyway.)

In the meantime, just sling some sand onto the green. I bet you can do that just fine.

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