How to Play a Plugged Lie in Bunker

May 24th, 2018
VIDEO: Transcript

If you have been on the golf course and face the situation where you’ve got a plugged bunker lie and you either didn’t play it too well or you just struggled with those shots. In general, you don’t really know what to do, I’ve got five things here for you that can hopefully help you play those a little bit better.

So, the first thing is just making sure you have a basic understanding of the components of the wedge and what they do because understanding this can be important for being able to effectively play the shot. So, the first part here that I want to point out is when you come down the clubface on the wedge here around to the bottom, this pointy part is called the leading edge, and then the part underneath there is called the bounce, this little curvy part here, and those two things are really important with bunker play and just short gameplay in general, understanding those, because of this leading edge here part, if the club comes down to the ground and particularly if the shaft is leaned forward or just the club is pretty square, you are like best, the leading edge can grab and the dig into the ground whereas if you say un-may be a normal bunker situation where you open the club face here and expose this bounce so when the club comes down, you got a little protection here and the design of this is going to help keep the club from going down in the ground. So, with this particular situation, we have the balls sitting down in the sand, so we need to go down and down into the ground and get it, so for something like this, you will want to be using the leading edge a little bit more, and if I get into that, actually, let me back up, and just knowing the leading edge, bounce here, different wedges have different amounts of bounce. So, usually, the sand wedge has the most amount of bounce and that’s typically because that’s the situation where you will need the most amount of bounce, but for this plugged life actuation, you don’t want the bounce because remember, the bounce is going to keep you from getting to the ground, whereas the leading edge will help you dig so you need something that’s going to help you dig into the sand there. So, for a plugged bunker lie, you probably don’t want to use your sand wedge. You can play a shot with a sand wedge but you probably don’t want to. Maybe you will be better to use a lob wedge for a gap wedge, or pitching wedge, something with less bounce than the sand wedge, and that will depend I guess a little bit on how far of a bunker shot you need to hit. If you need to get it up pretty quickly and you don’t have a lot of room to work with, you probably want to use a lob wedge. If you’ve got a little bit of a clearance to get out of the bunker and you maybe you get a longer shot, maybe you want to use the gap wedge or pitching wedge, but basically, the point is, you probably don’t want to use the sand wedge for this shot because it has the most amount of bounce and you want the least amount of bounce for this particular shot. So, that’s the first part here, just understanding what the wedge does. The couple main parts here. Second part, using the wedge with the least amount of bounce.

The third thing is a little bit more about the setup. So, when you are setting up to hit the bunker shot, you probably want to have the ball – let me back up here again – unlike most bunker situations where they tell you to open the club face, with this particular one, because when you open the club face, it exposes the bounce a little bit, you want to play this one with more of a square clubface because then, that square clubface, we can take advantage of that leading edge and get the wedge to dig into the sand is there a little bit. So, that is one thing, keep the clubface square when you set up. You may want to have a little bit of shaft gleaned and began, though more the shaft leans forward, the higher propensity I guess for this leading edge to grab and dig, so having a little bit of shaft lean is okay on the situation, so you can either – I almost dropped the wedge – you can either have your hands a little bit more for word to get the shaft lean or you can maybe tilt yourself a little bed so that when you swing, you’re going to basically get the same effect where you are hitting down on it with a little bit of shaft lean and it’s going to use that leading edge to dig into the sand and get down in the sand, get down to the ball, and then the last thing I would say is just too, when you hit it, you want to try and hit – remember in bunker shots, you want – on normal shots around the green, usually, you want to hit the ball first, and then the ground, but in bunkers, you want to hit the sand first, and then the sand deflected, shoots the ball out, basically. So, with this particular situation, normally, with a regular bunker shot, the ally is pretty good, you can hit anywhere between one and maybe 3 inches behind it, and you’re going to be okay, but this particular situation where the ball is sitting down, you probably don’t want to be too far back. You are using the wedge without a lot of bounce, you maybe got a little shaft lean, maybe you are tilting a little bit to get down in there, so if you go too far back, you’re just going to get too much sand and the club is just going to stall and die, and it’s not going to come out, so for this one, you got to play a little bit closer, maybe an inch or two behind the ball, and then get down in the sand by again, using that leading edge with a square face, a little bit of shaft lean, maybe a little tilt and hitting down in there, and then get the club to go down in there and pop that ball out.

So, that’s basically how to play that shot. Just to recap real quick, understand the different part – the two main parts of the wedge there, the leading edge and the bounce. The leading edge is going to dig, the bounce is going to skip, so for this situation, you want to dig, so you use the leading edge. So, that means you keep the face square when you set up. Pick a wedge that have the least amount of bounce, so probably not your sand wedge, have a little bit of shaft lean or maybe tilt yourself to encourage the shaft to be a little bit more forward so that that leading edge does get in and dig under there, and then lastly, just make sure that you are hitting a little bit closer than you normally would. You cannot get away with hitting too far back, so maybe you want to two inches behind the ball and that should be enough to get it out, and with having to go into the sand, you may have to give it a little bit more of a swing. It doesn’t mean give it a hard tense swing, you still want to be smooth and loose and relaxed, I guess, but you may have to make a little bit bigger backswing or just give a little bit more speed, like soft, supple speed, I guess to get the club to get down in there as well. So, hopefully, those things will help you, give those things a try.

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