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 BERNIE'S TIP: GREEN-SIDE BUNKERS


Information for the SaddleBrooke Golfer!
August 7, 2018
Bernie Eaton, Director of Golf

News & Notes

BERNIE'S PRO TIP: GETTING OUT OF GREEN-SIDE BUNKERS! 

Bunkers have always been a staple of golf; they’re a constant at every golf course ever built. Whether it’s the fluffy beach sand of Hawaii or the pot bunkers of Scotland, effectively getting up and down from green-side bunkers is a must for low scores. Many players dread green-side bunkers because they do not know the best way to hit out of them.  Inconsistent setup, improper swing path, and wrong  ball position are three of the biggest culprits. 

For consistent play in any aspect of the game, you need confidence: you don’t want to step into a bunker worrying about getting out of the bunker. The swing thought should be, “I WILL get this on the green.”  In order to gain this confidence, you must first learn and practice the most effective way to hit it close out of green-side bunkers.

Step 1: Choose the right club

If you short-side yourself in a green-side bunker (meaning you don’t have a lot of green to work with), you want to pick a high-lofted wedge, like a 60 degree lob wedge. The ball will not role out as much. If you have some green to work with, you want a lower lofted wedge, such as a sand wedge (56 degrees) or a gap wedge (around 52 degrees). This will promote a slightly longer and lower ball flight out of the bunker with more roll.

Step 2: Take the Right Set Up

The right set up is the key to hitting an effective shot from the bunker. First, dig in: twist your feet into the sand.Besides having a good base for the shot, which is vital, you get a feel for how deep the sand is around your shot and lower yourself below the level of the ball - ensuring you make contact with the sand first.

For most sand shots you face you want to play the ball off your front foot. The farther you move the ball back, the lower trajectory the ball will take and the more it will run out. This can be useful with some shots, but as a general rule, play the ball off your front foot. Keep in mind this is NOT a pitch and run - LOFT IS YOUR FRIEND IN THE BUNKER. The shot is going to have backspin.

Next, open your stance AND the club face. This is very important. This promotes a higher, softer ball flight and allows a good angle for the club face to slide under the ball.

Finally, you need your weight on your front foot. The weight should be about 80%-20% favoring the front foot. This is vital as it causes a steep decent, creating the splash of sand and backspin characteristic of a good bunker shot

Step 3: The Swing

Now that you are dug in, with the ball forward in your stance, your weight on your front foot, and with your stance and club face slightly open, it’s time to pull the trigger. You want an  outside-in swing path with a slight wrist hinge at the top. How far back depends on how far you want the ball to fly. This swing path gets the ball to come out high and soft and with the maximum control. You will need to practice this until it feels natural and to judge the yardages correctly.

Step 4: The Follow Through

You must follow through and stay down longer on sand shots. If you decelerate or stop at impact, you chunk it. In a green-side bunker, you want to splash the ball out, and to do that you must have a steep swing and a high follow through. If you come up on it too soon, you’ll catch the shot thin and blade it. Don’t be afraid to take a slightly bigger swing; you are taking sand with the shot. It won’t go as far.

Once you are confident in your green-side sand shots, it’s time to get a little more technical. Two kinds of sand shots that we commonly face on the course are the medium-length sand shots (the 25-45 yard shot to the green), and the plugged ball. These are two of the hardest shots in Golf, but don’t be afraid of them. You hit them exactly like normal green-side shots with only slight variations.

The 20-25 yard bunker shot

Golf course architects love the longer bunker shots and the challenge they pose. They are very difficult shots to judge correctly, but there is a very simple way to handle them: hit more club. Take a green-side set up and swing, but instead of a sand wedge, take a pitching wedge or low iron and take a fuller swing. You still want to hit an inch behind the ball and get that splash out of the trap; the greatest misconception about longer bunker shots is that you have to hit ball first with these kinds of shots. While this is one way to play the shot depending on the length and lie, it is often very difficult to pick the ball completely clean. Many golfers either chunk it or blade it with no control when trying to pick it clean. By taking more club, you can take a comfortable swing and not worry about hitting the ball absolutely perfectly. Other than taking more club, everything else is the same as a green-side bunker shot. If you need a little more length, you can square the club face. The ball will fly slightly further with a lower trajectory. As long as you set up like you would for a green-side shot, all you need on these longer shots is more club.

The Plugged Ball

For those golfers who hit the ball high, plugged balls in traps are not uncommon. The Fried Egg as its sometimes called is extremely difficult to control, and the only thing to think about when hitting the shot is  “DIG!” Shots like these depend entirely on the lie, but 9 times o ut of 10 you need to dig the ball out of its impact hole. There are 2 ways to do this, and which one to choose depends on if you have to clear a lip or not. If you don’t, the best way to hit the shot is to shut the face on a high-lofted wedge and take a big swing. You want to get very steep with the shot so the leading edge of your wedge digs into the sand and gets under the ball. This may require you to swing slightly harder at the ball as you are taking a lot more sand than you normally would, but you must follow through as you would any other shots from the bunker.

If you DO have a lip to clear, you can keep the face open but you MUST dig deeper. When you open the face on a plugged ball, the chances of hitting it thin increases because the club doesn’t dig into the sand as much. So to hit the “high” plugged ball shot, one of the most difficult shots to pull off, you have to take a big swing and take a lot of sand. It is important to note that with any fried egg, the ball is going to run out a lot more than a normal shot from the bunker, so you must pick an appropriate landing zone to allot for the ball running out.

Some of the hardest shots we will face on the course come from bunkers, and knowing how to hit these shots gives us the best chance to save a low score. Follow these tips and you’ll be getting out of the bunkers like a pro!

GOLF CALENDAR OF EVENTS

 August / September Major Events


 Aug 15SMGA Partners Event 7:30 am SG 
 Aug 23BEAT THE PROS FROM ORANGE TEES EVENT 3:30 pm SG 
 Sep 1FALL GOLF SPECTACULAR 8 am SG 
 Sep 4SBWGA Shotgun and Monthly Luncheon 7:30 am 
 Sep 10SBWGA and SMGA Samson and Delilah Event 7 am Tee Times 
 Sep 12SMGA Partner's Event 7:30 am SG 
 Sep 17Catalina Course Closed for Over-Seeding  Opens  10/8
 Sep 24Tucson Course and Putting Greens Closed for Over-Seeding Opens 10/15 
 Sep 242 PIN EVENT3:30 pm SG 
Oct 1SaddleBrooke Course and Driving Range Closed for Over-Seeding Opens 10/22 


 Golf Shop Merchandise Specials!


ALL Golf Balls - 15% OFF


Men's and Ladies Sale Rack - Price as Marked



*Discounts not applicable to Special Orders and may not be combined with other discounts.  Valid for in stock product only. Additional discounts Not valid for sale rack items unless stated otherwise.  Prices do not include tax.



New Arrivals

More new clothing in September


SaddleBrooke One Golf Shop  

64500 East SaddleBrooke Boulevard• Tucson • Arizona • 85739

gavel New Local Rules

New Local Rule for 2018

Modification of Score Card Penalty

The Exception to Rule 6-6d is modified as follows:

Exception: If a competitor returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken due to failure to include one or more penalty strokes that, before returning his score card, he did not know he had incurred, he is not disqualified. In such circumstances, the competitor incurs the penalty prescribed by the applicable Rule, but there is no additional penalty for a breach of Rule 6-6d. This Exception does not apply when the applicable penalty is disqualification from the competition.

Download as a PDF.

New Local Rule for 2017

ACCIDENTAL MOVEMENT OF A BALL ON THE PUTTING GREEN

When a player’s ball lies on the putting green, there is no penalty if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved by the player, his partner, his opponent, or any of their caddies or equipment.

The moved ball or ball-marker must be replaced as provided in Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1.

This Local Rule applies only when the player’s ball or ball-marker lies on the putting green and any movement is accidental.

Note: If it is determined that a player’s ball on the putting green was moved as a result of wind, water or some other natural cause such as the effects of gravity, the ball must be played as it lies from its new location.  A ball-marker moved in such circumstances is replaced.


All Local Rules

Meet the Pros

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Bernie Eaton

Golf Director | 520-917-3750 | beaton@saddlebrooke.org

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Troy Jewkes

Golf Professional | 520-917-3783 | tjewkes@saddlebrooke.org

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