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Although while playing golf we generally want to avoid sand traps, we're not perfect. At some point in time, we will end up in a sand trap. This instructable will provide you with the necessary steps you should take in order to properly address and hit a sand shot. I will be addressing how to approach a sand shot when the sand is very hard/wet, when it is soft/dry, as well as when you are beyond a radius of 30 yards from the hole. This instructional procedure is intended for the intermediate to experienced golfers. Users of this instructable should have an apt ability to hit a golf ball, a generally understanding of the mechanics of a golf swing, knowledge of the range of each of your clubs, as well as an understanding of how the loft of a club affects ball flight.

Step 1: Requirements:

  • Skill Level:
    1. Intermediate-experienced: adept at the game of golf with an understanding of the mechanics of the golf swing.
    2. Understanding of the lofts of wedges.
    3. Knowledge of how far you hit your clubs.
  • Wedge Collection: following the 14 club limit by the PGA, it is essential to have wedges that fit your play style
    1. For soft sand(within 30 yards): A sand wedge (56 degree) with a moderate to high degree of bounce(8-10)

    2. For hard sand(within 30 yards): A lob wedge (60 degree) with zero to low bounce.

    3. Beyond 30 yards: Pitching wedge and beyond depending on range, you will want a club with very little or no bounce at all.

  • Necessary apparel: golf glove, golf cleats, etc.

Step 2: Correcting Your Alignment

Alignment:

  1. When first addressing the ball, you should line the ball in the front of your stance, with your feet and club head aligned in the desired direction. As shown in the top image.
  2. It is important to have a stable stance, as shown in the bottom video you should grind your feet into the group while maintaining your alignment. After this is completed you should open your front foot towards the hole, as shown in the bottom video.
    - Opening the front foot allows for faster and easier hip rotation which will allow for a greater club head speed as you are coming down on the ball.
  3. If you are on any sort of slope in the sand you should also have your shoulders parallel with the plane, as shown in the top video.
  4. It is also important to have your hands in front of the club head so that the club is angled towards the hole, as shown in the beginning of the top video.
    -Having your hand aligned in front of the club head allows for you to come down on the ball a lot more, which helps when trying to hit the ball higher.
  5. Having your hands forward aids in this next step, but it is also important to have about 60% of your weight shifted towards the front of your stance.
    -Having your weight shifted forwards allows for a further low point of the swing. This allows for a you to hit down on the ball more and hit the correct amount of sand while still hitting the ball.


Step 3: Hitting the Sand

  1. Once you have correctly addressed the ball, we begin by initiating the back swing. Hitting out of the sand requires you to come down on the ball a lot sharper and quicker than you would with a normal golf shot. Therefore, it is necessary for the back swing to be fairly quick and sharp, as soon as your hands begin moving back, they should be rising quickly. As shown in the beginning of the first video and second video.
  2. If you are right handed, your left arm should remain unbent throughout the back and down swing. The top of your swing should stop before your left arm bends as shown at around 2 seconds at the beginning of the second video.
  3. Keeping a slow back swing helps maintain control over your swing, but your down swing should be fairly quick as shown in both the first an second video.
  4. It is also important to come down at a sharp angle in your down swing, so that the maximum loft of the club is applied to the ball.
  5. When hitting the sand shot, it is important to take a lot of sand when you are close to the hole (as shown in the first and second video), this provides two benefits, you are able to get the height achieved from a powerful shot, while softening the impact of the shot so that the ball does not fly as far. As your distance from the hole increases, the amount of sand that you are hitting should decrease. For our purpose within 30 yards of the hole we begin hitting in the position shown in the sand as shown in the image above.
  6. As in all golf shots it's important to keep your head down. Watch the club head hit the ball and then complete the follow through. As shown in both videos.

Step 4: Hitting an Embedded Ball

When approaching a hole from a distance occasionally you will end up in the sand. This results in your ball hitting the sand with a lot of force, an will unfortunately have the same effect as plugging your ball as shown in the image above.

  1. Hitting an embedded ball will be very similar to hitting out of soft sand, you will be taking out a lot of sand.
  2. You can follow similar steps as shown in the previous step for the back swing, but as you are coming down on the ball, you are hitting through a smaller distance of sand but are hitting down on the ball a lot more. The area in which you should be swinging through can be shown in the second image.
  3. Swinging through a smaller distance of sand will benefit you in two ways. First you will be swinging directly down on the sand, effectively digging your club deeper into the sand. You will be taking out a lot more sand but you will also be delivering more down force onto the ball resulting in a greater ball height. As shown in the video.
  4. To hit this area more accurately you can begin by aligning your hands further in front of the club head, as previously described, which will result in a greater club head speed and more force upon the ball.

Step 5: Hitting a Ball in Front of the Traps Edge

Hitting a ball out from in front of an edge is similar to hitting an embedded ball, where you will want to come down on the ball a lot more. It is less important to get as much sand in the shot, as it is to have the ball get a lot of height.

Tips:

  • Having your front foot opened more towards the hole, as shown in step 2, will allow for your hips to turn more therefore giving you greater clubhead speed. This is important because it is necessary for the ball to gain height quickly since you are close to the edge.
  • Along with having your front foot opened more, it is also helpful to have your hands a bit more forward which will allow for a shorter stretch of contact within the sand, and again greater clubhead speed.
  • Often it will be difficulty to complete a follow through when you are this close, as shown in the video above

<p>Nicely documented...! I'll come back to this next time I'm out on a course...!</p>

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