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WUTiger

Hardpan and dirt-heavy bunkers - How to handle?

11 posts in this topic

My home course has Signature designation from design by a famous golfer. It has quite a few bunkers, some of which are shoulder deep.

As in other parts of the USA, we have had lots of heavy rain in late spring and early June. As a result, the bunkers in the lower half of the course are in pretty bad shape. Basically two problems:

  • Sand washed to one side, giving a hardpan lie in most of the bunker.
  • Soil from shoulders of bunker have washed down, creating layer atop the sand.

Anybody have any tips on how to hit out of the hardpan and dirt-sand mix lies?

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There is a muni I play at occasionally with hard bunkers. They're complete garbage. You can't even rake them, you only end up drawing lines in the ground.

What works for me is to hit it like a lofted chip shot. Set it back in your stance a bit and open the clubface. Try to swing with little wrist movement, like a chip. The idea is to actually catch the ball before the sand.

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I use a normal pitch shot for this lie.  The bounce is your friend, even on hard pan.  Also, if it is not really hard sand, then the pitch and sand shot are very close anyway and you won't chunk it.  The the Quick Pitching Video thread.

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Good advice guys. I had two such shots Sunday afternoon between rain storms.

Waist-deep bunker: Hit 1/4 pitch shot. Shallower bunker: chipped out. Used my PW for both shots, got two-putt bogies.

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I wouldn't put the grip behind the club face in hard pan or "river sand." I also choose not to open the face.

Like above, I play it vertical or slightly forward like a pitch or chip depending on the bunker you must clear. I like to take a little dirt if it's not hard pan. If it's hardpan and a high bunker, relax everything and make certain the leading edge stays low. Use some speed, soft arms, and relaxation techniques, and then pray.

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.............or you can ask the grounds keeper when the traps are expected to be repaired, if not soon , then look for a new home course.

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Keep driving through the sand and keep your wrists a bit firmer and hands lower  to make sure the club doesn't bounce off the sand.

You will find that if the sand  (or dirt) is firm but not too firm the shots are quite easy to play.

If it is really firm and  there is no lip, don't be afraid to putt.

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Don't fear the bounce. If you can hit a high bounce wedge off concrete, you can use it off packed sand. I would just play it as a tight fairway lie. Don't try to dig into the sand, use the bounce to glide through it, but take a very shallow strike. I try not to dig down, but to swipe the club under the ball

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Originally Posted by saevel25

Don't fear the bounce. If you can hit a high bounce wedge off concrete, you can use it off packed sand. I would just play it as a tight fairway lie. Don't try to dig into the sand, use the bounce to glide through it, but take a very shallow strike. I try not to dig down, but to swipe the club under the ball

This.  I opted to use a sand wedge from a dirt cart path for a 20-25 yd chip.  On the green and 2 putt for bogey.  Could have been a worse.

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Agree w Saevel25 Don't go steep Go shallow
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Pro solution: Ask for "ground under repair" ruling.

I played 18 with a club pro who stopped by our course for a practice round. He was getting ready for his playing test for the next level of his PGA card.

When I showed him a couple of bunkers that were a bit washed out from recent rains, he said he wasn't worried. He expected the greenskeeper to mark such bunkers " ground under repair" during the competition.

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