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Sand Wedge for High Handicappers

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9 hours ago, Rip62 said:

Agreed but I got a lot better using the 1 out of the sand instead of a traditional sand wedge so I think I’ll stick with what’s working.

Do you allow the club to fall (using the heavy weight) or in an effort not to decelerate, intentionally move the club through the shot?

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On 9/18/2019 at 9:16 AM, RayG said:

As a beginner, I found I would be in all KINDS of trouble on the course. Rough, hardpan, sand, etc... anywhere where you didn't usually want to be is where any beginner ends up. You learned early on to play those shots. As you improved, you might find yourself in those spots less and less, but still visit them occasionally. Even better players end up in there. But because you've been there before and learned how to recover, it isn't really an issue anymore and there is no panic. Sure, there is is always the downhill, sidehill, cabbage lie to a short sided pin with water on 3 sides that might give some pause...

But what I see today a lot of the time is that a beginner is told: "Hey pick that up and move it, you're out here to have fun, not kill yourself". So... they pick it up and move it to mat like lie with no trouble. Or, they take a swipe in a trap and fail to get out and his friend says: "just drop it outside". There is no incentive to learn how to do it properly, and so they need the "magic pill" when they get 'better'. Beginners generally don't practice bunker shots. It's a few warmups with a 7 iron, then blast away with the driver for the next 100 balls in the bucket.

Let beginners take their lumps in those spots and learn how to escape properly and specialty clubs will go away... HAHAHAHAHAHA... sorry, couldn't keep a straight face.

In the league I played in, you were to play it as it lies, no moving the ball, no fluffing the lie. If you were caught it was a one stroke penalty, and everyone watched everyone else, (there was money on the line). I believe that is the only way to learn to play golf, for real. If you're behind a tree, chip out onto the fairway and take your lumps. The exception we made was if you ended up in a divot you could move the ball out.

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I have a related question on this topic:

I only ever use my sand wedge when I am on a greenside bunker.  I have one stroke for this which I learned to do properly.  I do not get creative.  I just open the face on my 56 degree sand wedge and give a strong stroke, sure to get some sand between the face and the ball.  I can reliably hit the ball 20-30 feet and I even get up and down from time to time. I am better than 95% out so I am a fairly confident bunker player for my handicap.

However...

I have no ability to hit out of a fairway bunker.  I mean, I can use the sand wedge, but I never do. What I can not do is get any kind of a good strike with any other club. I will pull something out and expect to duff it for an ugly out that goes 40 yards.(I actually started a thread for this earlier this year.) Some day I will figure out the fairway bunkers. But it does relate to this topic.

Do any of you better players use a variety of clubs on a greenside bunker?  Should the improvement process be to eventually be comfortable pulling out a pitching wedge if I have more than 40 feet of green, or a lob wedge if I am right up on the hole?  And centrally, is there a different stroke for different clubs?

 

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22 minutes ago, Cantankerish said:

I have a related question on this topic:

I only ever use my sand wedge when I am on a greenside bunker.  I have one stroke for this which I learned to do properly.  I do not get creative.  I just open the face on my 56 degree sand wedge and give a strong stroke, sure to get some sand between the face and the ball.  I can reliably hit the ball 20-30 feet and I even get up and down from time to time. I am better than 95% out so I am a fairly confident bunker player for my handicap.

However...

I have no ability to hit out of a fairway bunker.  I mean, I can use the sand wedge, but I never do. What I can not do is get any kind of a good strike with any other club. I will pull something out and expect to duff it for an ugly out that goes 40 yards.(I actually started a thread for this earlier this year.) Some day I will figure out the fairway bunkers. But it does relate to this topic.

Do any of you better players use a variety of clubs on a greenside bunker?  Should the improvement process be to eventually be comfortable pulling out a pitching wedge if I have more than 40 feet of green, or a lob wedge if I am right up on the hole?  And centrally, is there a different stroke for different clubs?

 

Whether it is a 5-iron or 9-iron I generally use one club extra out of a fairway bunker. If the lie is clean, without sand behind the ball, then you move it back in your stance just a bit and make sure to hit ball first, sand second.  It is not at all like making a greenside bunker shot.  'Tis an entirely different beast.

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I have the Vokey wedges in 54*-08 M grind and 58*-12 K grind. I use the 54 for hard sand and the 58 for deep soft sand. Out of fairway bunkers I hit the most club I can to clear the lip. But then again, I am a hacker!

Edited by CharlieB

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I read somewhere to find a club that works and stick with it.

I have a 52, 56 and a 60. Went to a local range which has a practice bunker and hit balls out of there for 4 total hours and discovered I can hit out most of the time with all three with a little practice. Distance from the pin, location next to a steep lip, changes the club selection . Even a putter if its got no lip

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On 9/26/2019 at 6:28 PM, uitar9 said:

I have a 52, 56 and a 60. Went to a local range which has a practice bunker and hit balls out of there for 4 total hours and discovered I can hit out most of the time with all three with a little practice. Distance from the pin, location next to a steep lip, changes the club selection . Even a putter if its got no lip

Same, except I’ve found that I need to practice this once a week to keep that skill up.

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Great topic as I am a high-handicapper.  Like Rip62 said "Once I realized that all I had to do was hit it a little fat and don’t decelerate I started getting out of bunkers no problem.", that is how I approach bunker shots.  I am a proponent of playing it where it lies, unless it is absolutely unplayable - then I take the necessary drop.  I see that as how you learn - got yourself painted in a corner, now its time to try to figure how to get yourself out.  For example a couple of months back I hit one into a greenside bunker into the greenside wall almost burying the ball.  I knew I could pull the ball from the buried lie and take a drop. Instead l chose to see if I could play it as the sand was reasonably soft.  Getting my stance right I made a full on swing just behind the ball to try to get it up and over.  The ball plopped up and then down into the bottom of the bunker - however it was no longer in a buried lie and totally playable.  I then took a normal sand wedge swing and placed it up on the green about 15 feet from the hole.  Taking the harder path was good as it increased my confidence on getting the ball out of the bunker.  I have come to not fear them but rather its just part of the game.  By the way I did it with a Tommy Armour 845s Silver Scot 56deg Sand wedge.  I also from time to time sub in the Ping Eye2's as they are some sweet swinging wedges as well. 

To "help" my sand game, I have a small 4' dia area in the back yard that is about 4" deep with sand.  Makes the perfect area to hit practice shots from sand and the grandson loves it!  

       

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On 9/30/2019 at 8:06 AM, Lihu said:

Same, except I’ve found that I need to practice this once a week to keep that skill up.

LOL, I get my weekly practice during actual play. 

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28 minutes ago, uitar9 said:

LOL, I get my weekly practice during actual play. 

Sure, sometimes I hit a few extra chips and putts, but not sand shots...

Unless you mean ... 😂

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On 10/1/2019 at 7:18 PM, Lihu said:

Sure, sometimes I hit a few extra chips and putts, but not sand shots...

Unless you mean ... 😂

Yup, lol

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On 9/17/2019 at 5:45 PM, WUTiger said:

Getting the best sand wedge for you involves more than just hunting for some all-occasions Magic Club.

To be a decent bunker player, you need a SW with a head and grind which matches your normal turf conditions, and proper technique.

The Right Bounce

Traditional wisdom (above) says that if you play out of very firm sand, you want a SW with lower bounce. This means the clubhead will cut through the sand and not get hung up in it. If you play in fluffy or powdery sand, you want a high bounce wedge that will glide through the powder without digging in too much.

BounceDia_Words.jpg.b217d90313da42e20adb5e6387e7aa74.jpg

@iacas explains additional aspects of bounce in his forum Edel Wedges (or "Super Bounce")

Then there is technique. For starters, access @mvmac's forum on How to Hit Sand/Bunker Shots.  An excellent video begins the thread.

If you have a history of bad experiences in the sand, you take a bunker lesson. A good instructor could help you incorporate the basics into your swing.

At my course, the sand is fluffy when dry and much harder when wet. Sometimes, the bunkers are inconsistent, one will be softer (and drier) but the next one will still be wetter and harder. What do you recommend for this type of situation. I have a Volkey wedge with an M grind. I have a 54 and 58 degree wedge - I use the 58 for shorter bunker shots and the 54 for longer ones. I tend to be pretty good out of the bunker but get tripped up some when the sand is longer than I think and with longer green-side bunker shots. Note that my club has bunkers that are extremely high - course designed by Rees Jones. 

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Over the years I’ve become partial to Cleveland wedges, specifically the CG14.  It is getting harder to find good ones, but they are pretty cheap.

I use a 60* with 12* of bounce.  I really don’t have to open up the face and it has enough bounce.  Just hit it fat, as has already been suggested.

John

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On 9/26/2019 at 6:50 PM, Double Mocha Man said:

Whether it is a 5-iron or 9-iron I generally use one club extra out of a fairway bunker. If the lie is clean, without sand behind the ball, then you move it back in your stance just a bit and make sure to hit ball first, sand second.  It is not at all like making a greenside bunker shot.  'Tis an entirely different beast.

I also choke up some and bend knees less to make up for the fact that I dig my feet into the sand

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That xe-1 wedge that Aaron Oblehoser (or whatever his last name is ) was hawking in the Golf Channel a couple years ago is magic.  A couple of our high handicap,members have them and swear by them out of the sand and heavy rough.  

Works as advertised, don't open it up, just swing, the heavy head and wide sole design do the rest.

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1 hour ago, Typhoon92 said:

That xe-1 wedge that Aaron Oblehoser (or whatever his last name is ) was hawking in the Golf Channel a couple years ago is magic.  A couple of our high handicap,members have them and swear by them out of the sand and heavy rough.  

Works as advertised, don't open it up, just swing, the heavy head and wide sole design do the rest.

I’m not buying it, pun intended. They made the same claims with their shank proof wedges which I easily disproved and got a refund. And statements like this are just nonsense:


Your traditional wedge is poorly designed. And that’s killing your short game.

 


 

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23 hours ago, Vinsk said:

I’m not buying it, pun intended. They made the same claims with their shank proof wedges which I easily disproved and got a refund. And statements like this are just nonsense:


Your traditional wedge is poorly designed. And that’s killing your short game.

 


 

True, that is a stupid statement.  The only way to use the xe1 wedge  is if your sand technique is poorly designed.

 I tried it today chipping around the green.  Long grass, great.  Fringe, if you use a proper chipping set up, forget it.  If you set up square, don't break your wrists, use a pendulum motion, the ball pops up in the air as advertised.  Same thing in sand.  If I used my normal bunker stance I was awful.  If I stood there square and took a normal swing it slid under the ball and it popped out.

For me it would bounce off a tight lie and sand.  If I set up " wrong" it worked perfectly.

 

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On 9/26/2019 at 12:25 PM, Cantankerish said:

I have a related question on this topic:

I only ever use my sand wedge when I am on a greenside bunker.  I have one stroke for this which I learned to do properly.  I do not get creative.  I just open the face on my 56 degree sand wedge and give a strong stroke, sure to get some sand between the face and the ball.  I can reliably hit the ball 20-30 feet and I even get up and down from time to time. I am better than 95% out so I am a fairly confident bunker player for my handicap.

However...

I have no ability to hit out of a fairway bunker.  I mean, I can use the sand wedge, but I never do. What I can not do is get any kind of a good strike with any other club. I will pull something out and expect to duff it for an ugly out that goes 40 yards.(I actually started a thread for this earlier this year.) Some day I will figure out the fairway bunkers. But it does relate to this topic.

Do any of you better players use a variety of clubs on a greenside bunker?  Should the improvement process be to eventually be comfortable pulling out a pitching wedge if I have more than 40 feet of green, or a lob wedge if I am right up on the hole?  And centrally, is there a different stroke for different clubs?

 

For fairway bunkers I use what ever club I would use for the yardage remaining including using a fairway metal,e.g., 3W. Having said that, a lot depends depends on the bunker and the lie. If we end up in foot print we are allowed to lift the ball, rake under it and place it where it was. If it is plugged you're screwed. We are not allowed to ground any club we are using. If there is a big lip in front of you you'll need a higher lofted club to get over it, obviously.

For me it is a matter of picking it off cleanly, assuming a low lip. I take my stance as I would on a fairway, I don't dig my feet in, and make sure I don't dip during my swing thus hitting it fat. I keep my head very still and swing easy. 

I've had some fantastic shots out of fairway bunkers with my 3W, I almost like them better than being in the rough, again depending on if you have a big lip or not. I have had occasions where my only choice was to chip it out sideways due to being to close to a high lip, but that's golf.

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