Golf throws up plenty of tough challenges, but one of the most difficult is the plugged bunker or “fried egg” shot.
The most common error that amateurs make is immediately opening the club face, with the misconception that by doing this the ball will “lift” out of the sand when you hit it.
But when you do this, the club will bounce in the sand and strike the ball halfway up coming out thin and hitting the face of the trap.
The trick for normal bunker shots is to use the “bounce” on your sand wedge. This can vary from 4 to 12 degrees and your lofts can begin at 52 degrees up to 62 degrees. So the bounce on your sand iron is one of the keys to bunkers.
For the best result, square the clubface so that you can use the sharp or leading edge of the club. Do not try and “dig” this swing… try swinging as normal but hitting the correct part of the sand as indicated in the picture. With a normal swing, let the leading edge do the digging for you and lift the ball out.
So now that your technique is better you need to work out how hard to hit the shot as this ball will roll out quite a bit. It will not stop and check like a normal bunker shot does. If it is maximum height you need, always use your most lofted club.
Sometimes the smart play with this difficult shot is perhaps hitting the ball out where the lip is at its lowest, even if it means missing the green. Or if you know at the start of play that the bunkers are soft and plugging, you may consider playing away from the bunkers and missing the greens on the safe side. This will give you better odds of getting up and down and saving par.
Practice this shot and always remember to hit behind the ball as indicated in the picture for best results.
Grant Kenny – PGA Golf Coach