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Couple why questions

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Why do you have to pick the ball cleanly out of a fairway bunker? I know you have to but I don't understand why exactly. If you catch the ball cleanly striking down on the ball before you hit the sand what causes it to behave differently? We know from watching slo-mo vids that the ball doesn't actually compress against the ground so what is going on? I understand the club slows down drastically after coming in contact with the sand but that also happens when pros smash the club face into the ground causing the shaft to deflect but the ball is already gone at that point.

Another quick question. Why is it that I can chip off cement fairly easily but not off dirt? I know its not just me having seen tons of people duff shot after shot on dirt lies. 'not hardpan'
post #2 of 32

Re: Couple why questions

Originally Posted by Avidgolfer999 View Post
Why do you have to pick the ball cleanly out of a fareway bunker? I know you have to but I don't understand why exactly. If you catch the ball cleanly striking down on the ball before you hit the sand what causes it to behave differently? We know from watching slo-mo vids that the ball doesn't actually compress against the ground so what is going on? I understand the club slows down drastically after coming in contact with the sand but that also happens when pros smash the club face into the ground causing the shaft to deflect but the ball is already gone at that point.

Another quick question. Why is it that I can chip off cement fairly easily but not off dirt? I know its not just me having seen tons of people duff shot after shot on dirt lies. 'not hardpan'
1.you lose alot of distance if you hit sand first

2.your catching them fat and concrete keps you from doing it
post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 

Re: Couple why questions

I don't think that answers either one of my questions. By picking it cleanly I meant you have to hit ball first and following that you aren't really supposed to hit any sand. I'm aware of what hitting the sand first does.

Secondly wouldn't the bounce on my sand wedge cause a skulled shot the same way off cement as it does off dirt? All other things being equal, it seems cement would cause even more deflection than dirt.
post #4 of 32

Re: Couple why questions

Originally Posted by Avidgolfer999 View Post
I don't think that answers either one of my questions. By picking it cleanly I meant you have to hit ball first and following that you aren't really supposed to hit any sand. I'm aware of what hitting the sand first does.

Secondly wouldn't the bounce on my sand wedge cause a skulled shot the same way off cement as it does off dirt? All other things being equal, it seems cement would cause even more deflection than dirt.
you where saying you were duffing shots
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 

Re: Couple why questions

So your answer to my question of why am I duffing is that I'm hitting the ball fat. Thats what I meant by duffing so yea I know. My question had more to do with why one extremely tight lie 'cement' seems more forgiving than dirt.

If I had to guess it would be that dirt doesn't have the same surface consistency that cement has making it even less forgiving on a flat angle of attack.

The old bumpy dirt lie in my opinion is the hardest surface to chip off of. Would the bounce on a standard pw or lw be better suited for this lie maybe?

This is another situation where some people encourage picking the ball with little contact with the ground but this goes along with my first question. Why would this be necessary.
post #6 of 32

Re: Couple why questions

Originally Posted by Avidgolfer999 View Post
My question had more to do with why one extremely tight lie 'cement' seems more forgiving than dirt.

If I had to guess it would be that dirt doesn't have the same surface consistency that cement has making it even less forgiving on a flat angle of attack.

The old bumpy dirt lie in my opinion is the hardest surface to chip off of. Would the bounce on a standard pw or lw be better suited for this lie maybe?
what it sounds like is your bottoming out early and keeping the club on the ground try moving the ball back in your stance for a chip.trying to hit down on it.
post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 

Re: Couple why questions

Maybe I'm explaining this poorly. I'm not asking for help on how to hit this shot. I'm trying to understand why it is so difficult to begin with. I know the obvious answer is people tend to hit this shot fat, swing bottoms out before the ball etc... or skull it, the club head deflects and they hit it thin I get all of that which is why I compared it with hitting off cement which poses less of a problem for some unknown reason. <- my question.

Its possible the answer to the first question might shed some light on the second.
The difficulty of this shot is similar to the difficulty of chipping out of bunker which people don't generally have to do.
post #8 of 32

Re: Couple why questions

its a difficult shot because you have little room for error in both situations. where as with a good lie on the fairway you can hit the ground a little early and not lose much club speed and strike the ball well but in sand you would lose to much club speed and hit a short/fat shot.

Its a tough shot just concentrate hard on the contact point.
post #9 of 32

Re: Couple why questions

Originally Posted by Avidgolfer999 View Post
Maybe I'm explaining this poorly. I'm not asking for help on how to hit this shot. I'm trying to understand why it is so difficult to begin with. I know the obvious answer is people tend to hit this shot fat, swing bottoms out before the ball etc... or skull it, the club head deflects and they hit it thin I get all of that which is why I compared it with hitting off cement which poses less of a problem for some unknown reason. <- my question.

Its possible the answer to the first question might shed some light on the second.
The difficulty of this shot is similar to the difficulty of chipping out of bunker which people don't generally have to do.
If we could get into your head and hear what you are thinking during these shots, we might be able to answer your question. Your questions assume that everyone has problems with these shots. We all miss shots for different reasons..
post #10 of 32

Re: Couple why questions

Originally Posted by Avidgolfer999 View Post
Why do you have to pick the ball cleanly out of a fairway bunker?
I don't try to do that. I try to err on the side of hitting the ball a little earlier in my downswing, but if anything I tend to take a bigger divot in a fwy bunker than I would if the ball was on grass. In fact, I try to hit down on the ball a little bit more - I don't try to pick it cleanly.

No pros really try to pick it cleanly either - they just try to catch the ball first. What happens after that is largely irrelevant.

Originally Posted by Avidgolfer999 View Post
Another quick question. Why is it that I can chip off cement fairly easily but not off dirt?
Dirt is sticker than cement. You can skim the club along cement a little bit (and if it bounces up a groove or two the shot might still be fine), but dirt makes you nervous because there's no skimming or slight bouncing, there's just "thud-and-stick."
post #11 of 32

Re: Couple why questions

i can't touch the cement vs dirt shot. really need a visual to see exactly what happens.

the other question,,,here is my take:)

for greenside bunker, to sandwich sand in between clubface and ball is important because partly it helps to dissipate the force of the blow. so, a regular sandwedge may carry the ball 80 yard, but the same swing under the above condition in the greenside bunker may carry 20 yards. of course, there are other factors at play, but keep only the above in mind when we look at fairway bunker shot.

we can assume then that if sand is sandwiched in between clubface and the ball, it will travel less far than if there is no sand, aka, direct contact between clubface and ball.

it has been mentioned that the sand does not help squeeze the ball during compression. i am not so sure about that because as with everything, it is not a matter of black or white, meaning no compression or total compression. i think sand still provides some degree of upward vector, just not as much as regular turf. some more physics inclined may argue that the simple fact that the ball is sitting on a little patch of sand is indicative that the sand is exerting a force on the ball, so as the ball is struck at an angle, downward and forward, sand provides an reaction.

another angle to look at this is that some folks, on regular turf, can hit a well struck iron shot without taking any divot. based on that observation, one may argue that some shots can be made with predominantly downward, accurate strike on the ball---that alone can send the ball up and forward.

i suspect that some folks strike fairway bunker shots with similar principles.
post #12 of 32

Re: Couple why questions

Originally Posted by golfdad View Post
it has been mentioned that the sand does not help squeeze the ball during compression. i am not so sure about that because as with everything, it is not a matter of black or white, meaning no compression or total compression. i think sand still provides some degree of upward vector, just not as much as regular turf. some more physics inclined may argue that the simple fact that the ball is sitting on a little patch of sand is indicative that the sand is exerting a force on the ball, so as the ball is struck at an angle, downward and forward, sand provides an reaction.
The sand does not provide any upward angle. The ball is NEVER compressed against the ground at all - whether it's sand or a massive, flat diamond (chosen only because of how hard it is) unless you top the ball. If you hit below the ball's center-of-gravity, the ball immediately rises and it has nothing to do with the ground beneath it.
post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 

Re: Couple why questions

Originally Posted by iacas View Post

"No pros really try to pick it cleanly either - they just try to catch the ball first. What happens after that is largely irrelevant."
While that might be true, they certainly advocate picking it cleanly as this is what I kept finding while trying to find the answer to my own question. From Tiger Woods book How I Play Golf.

"Hitting the ball solidly, without touching a grain of said if possible is the only way to get a lot of distance on this shot" "I try to pick the ball cleanly." 'There's a picture showing almost no sand contact'

I also read a number of times last night that the the sand doesn't compress the ball and thats why it must be picked cleanly so I can understand why many people think that.
post #14 of 32

Re: Couple why questions

Originally Posted by Avidgolfer999 View Post
I also read a number of times last night that the the sand doesn't compress the ball and thats why it must be picked cleanly so I can understand why many people think that.
That part is stupid. The ground doesn't compress the ball either. It's irrelevant that the sand doesn't.

The only way to pick the ball cleanly is to hit the ball thin. The ball is partly underground (may just be a dimple or two) and so to hit it properly, you're going to disturb sand. So long as the sand is after the ball - like a normal divot would be - your distances should be about the same.

In reality, most of the time I take an extra club, grip down a bit, and swing easier - but I've also roped 4-irons from fairway bunkers when I needed a lot of distance too.

Pros also say they do a lot of things when they don't really. Watch Tiger hitting out of a fairway bunker - he'll disturb the sand after the ball just like everyone else. What a pro likes to "think" or "feel" isn't what they always do. Another example of that from the same book? Tiger said he likes to feel as though he's putting straight back and straight through, but everyone and their brother knows he's an arc putter like 99% of the rest of the PGA Tour.
post #15 of 32

Re: Couple why questions

Originally Posted by iacas View Post
The sand does not provide any upward angle. The ball is NEVER compressed against the ground at all - whether it's sand or a massive, flat diamond (chosen only because of how hard it is) unless you top the ball. If you hit below the ball's center-of-gravity, the ball immediately rises and it has nothing to do with the ground beneath it.
The compression myth reminds me of a couple others: draws/hooks have top-spin and a tail wind blows the ball forward.
post #16 of 32

Re: Couple why questions

Originally Posted by VOX View Post
The compression myth reminds me of a couple others: draws/hooks have top-spin and a tail wind blows the ball forward.

The first one is just dumb. And I've never heard anyone say it. The second one seems true just from physics. It might also be true that it does something to the mechanics of the air flow and increases lift, but it seems a tail wind would decrease the force of the air through which the ball has to travel right off the club, and then as the ball decelerates the wind would actually be pushing from the back, and push the ball forward as it comes towards the landing zone.
post #17 of 32

Re: Couple why questions

so here is a theoretical question, possibly a clinical question that can be verified if proper set-up can be arranged...


put a golf ball on a scale. the scale registers the weight of the ball,,,as a baseline.

set it up so that the ball on the scale sits at "ground" level, allowing a decent golfer to take a regular swing at the ball.

run a high speed video cam with view on the ball and the scale. it will be interesting to see what happens to the scale at the moment of impact, before the clubface bottoms out after the impact (assuming then the clubhead strikes into the scale...bang!)

my hypothesis is that at the moment of impact, when the clubhead makes a contact with the ball below the equator cleanly, there is enough of a downward force on the ball and the scale will register a higher weight for a split moment than the original ball weight, suggesting that at impact there is an additional force into the "ground" that the ball sits on, thus a reaction if one looks the other way, which helps explain the well known yet fuzzy term, uh, compression...

unless such an experiment (or a similar one) is done, it is geeks' playground in the air...aka, anyone is entitled with an opinion
post #18 of 32

Re: Couple why questions

Originally Posted by golfdad View Post
so here is a theoretical question, possibly a clinical question that can be verified if proper set-up can be arranged...


put a golf ball on a scale. the scale registers the weight of the ball,,,as a baseline.

set it up so that the ball on the scale sits at "ground" level, allowing a decent golfer to take a regular swing at the ball.

run a high speed video cam with view on the ball and the scale. it will be interesting to see what happens to the scale at the moment of impact, before the clubface bottoms out after the impact (assuming then the clubhead strikes into the scale...bang!)

my hypothesis is that at the moment of impact, when the clubhead makes a contact with the ball below the equator cleanly, there is enough of a downward force on the ball and the scale will register a higher weight for a split moment than the original ball weight, suggesting that at impact there is an additional force into the "ground" that the ball sits on, thus a reaction if one looks the other way, which helps explain the well known yet fuzzy term, uh, compression...

unless such an experiment (or a similar one) is done, it is geeks' playground in the air...aka, anyone is entitled with an opinion
umm i dont think there is a scale that could registerthat in the millasecond your talking about,but then again i could be completeley wrong
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