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Sand Play with Mark Lye

sand-play-with-mark-lyeThis month’s instant lesson will focus on sand play. If your sand game needs a little improvement, be willing to try different sand wedges for different length sand shots.
Every tour player I know has at least 2 sand wedges, one with lob wedge loft, say 58-60 degrees and another one with 54-56 degrees. You can see the club in my gloved hand is the one with more loft. The sand wedge in my NON gloved hand is the strong sand wedge.

Close in Sand Shot, 40 feet and in

Golf-SandPlay-MarkLye3Golf-SandPlay-MarkLye2Golf-SandPlay-MarkLye4Always use your most lofted sand wedge for this shot. Concentrate on impacting the sand at a spot around 2 inches behind the ball. Just open your stance and let the club slide under the ball. Do not chop or hit down on the ball. Instead, make a level swipe, cutting across the ball. It should come out high with plenty of spin.

Long Sand Shot, 40 feet plus

Golf-SandPlay-MarkLye5Golf-SandPlay-MarkLye6Golf-SandPlay-MarkLye7I almost always use my strong sand wedge for this shot. This club allows me to still hit 2 inches behind the ball. Since there is less loft on the club, the ball will go farther with the same force used on the short sand shot. The exact swing technique is used on both the longer sand shot and the close-in sand shot.

Tip Summary

Longer sand shots played with a lob sand wedge are riskier, because a player has to swing harder and take less sand to make the ball go farther. Using a “strong” sand wedge on longer bunker shots allows one to take more sand with less clubhead speed to hit the ball the desired distance. So, the next time you’re in a bunker assessing the shot, consider both sand clubs. Personally, I like using the less lofted sand wedge whenever I can…give it a try.
FINE Magazine Golf Writer, Mark Lye, was a player on the PGA Tour for 18 years, and was with the Golf Channel for 18 years as well. Mark is currently the Director of Membership at the Old Collier Golf Club in Naples, FL

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