Golf Lessons: How to Choose the Right Club for a Bunker Shot
Picking the right club is important for every shot you hit on the course, and that is certainly true in the bunker. Before you hit any bunker shot, you need to analyze the situation and make sure that you have selected the right club for the job. When you are around the green, the right club will often be your sand wedge – but not always. In order to give yourself the best chance at success on a given shot, you must have the proper club in your hands.
Following are three variables to take into consideration before selecting the club that you will use for a bunker shot –
- Length of the shot. This is usually the main determining factor when picking a club for any shot on the course. If you are close to the hole when playing out of a bunker, you will probably want to use your most-lofted club in order to get the ball up into the air and stop it quickly .For longer shots, less left can help to provide you with the distance needed to reach the target. Also consider any slopes between you and the hole that will influence how far you should hit the shot.
- Lip of the bunker. This is an important point when preparing for a bunker shot. Your first goal in a bunker should always be to get out in one shot, so take a look at the lip of the bunker in front of you to determine how much loft will be required to clear it. Always error on the side of caution when making your selection – when in doubt, pick the club you are sure has enough loft to get out of the bunker and back onto the grass.
- Condition of the sand. Many golfers make the mistake of overlooking this part of the equation. Your sand wedge is designed to work properly when the sand is dry and soft, but it will not be as effective off of wet sand that is compacted. When you face this situation, try using less loft to chip the ball out of the bunker (if the lip is low enough to do so). Hitting a chip shot from the sand, instead of the normal ‘explosion’ shot, is a good way to deal with wet sand. This shot is challenging, however, so be sure to put in some practice time before trying it out on the course.