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How To Play The Sand Shot

Play The Sand Shot

Tour Quality Short Game

A very frequently asked question indeed; how to play the sand shot or the bunker shot.

Before we get to the bunker play tips, I have to preface what you are about to read with but one word… practice. Once you get the basics (which are forthcoming) you’ve got to take the time to practice and gain confidence in the execution.

Believe me; getting your sand play up to a decent level is well worth the time spent on it. With a decent sand game, it is actually more advantageous to be in a bunker around many greens than it is to be buried in the rough just a few yards away! And you’ll score better as a result.

For good bunker play you need to understand some basic techniques. Actually, before we discuss technique, you need to have a sand wedge in your bag… not a pitching wedge… I’ll tell you why in a moment.

How to play sand shot

First all, with your set up you want to open you stance, hips, and shoulders to the left of the target (right handed golfers) and the ball positioned slightly forward in your stance. Establish solid footing by digging into the sand just a bit.

With your setup to the left of the target, you now want to open the clubface (rotate the sand wedge so the more of the clubface is exposed).

As far as the swing path goes, you want your swing path to follow the alignment of your body just like you other shots.

With a sand shot you want you club to enter the sand a couple of inches behind the ball. I like to have people imagine that just underneath the ball in the sand, the golf ball is sitting on a tee; and what you are trying to do is clip the tee out from under the ball without disturbing the ball itself.

Keep your wrists firm until well after impact. You don’t want get ‘flippy’ with your hands when it comes to sand shots.

When you are first learning to play a bunker shot, strive to gain consistency with your entry point behind the ball and consistently extracting the ball onto a putt-able position on the green.

The next step for you will be to alter the distance of your bunker shot using your swing speed with you ‘basic’ bunker swing and shot. However, the first and primary goal is to gain a consistency with your swing tempo and your entry point. For the beginning sand player, gaining confidence in getting the ball consistently out of the bunker and putting is the first goal and the first building block. Just getting this first basic skill established fluently will save you strokes immediately. Don’t worry so much about variations to your bunker play… these can come later… just get comfortable and confident with that fact that you’ll be out and putting. Rome wasn’t built in a day… or something like that.

Play The Sand Shot

I touched on this earlier and now I want to give you a bit more detail on your bunker equipment (sand wedge) and why you must have one.

First of all, believe it or not, the sand wedge is designed for sand play.

Bounce – the sand wedge has a rounded sole that actually sits lower in comparison to the blade of the club. This feature allows the club to glide through the sand rather than dig into it.

Loft – greater loft that the pitching wedge – 55-60 degrees as opposed to 48-52 degrees. This gets you ball up and over the lips of the bunkers more readily rather than trying to ‘manufacture’ a shot with your pitching wedge.

Toe to Heel Design – this what gives the sand wedge the oval appearance – but more than this – it is what keeps the sand wedge from digging in and allows you to ‘splash’ the ball out of the bunker.

Bottom line – if you’re not using a sand wedge for your sand shots; you’re making things much more difficult than they need be.

Practice breeds confidence and confidence breeds relaxation over a shot. Particularly the sand shot. Tension and nervousness are shot killers. The basic sand shot is not at all a difficult shot to extract, it’s just that those who fear them are those who don’t take the time to practice them… think about it this way… it’s the only shot where you are going to actually purposely miss the ball!

So get out there and find a place to practice and get better. Remember first things first… just work to gain consistency and you’ll start improving your game.

How To Play The Sand Shot


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Seven Tips to Better Golf

Unlocking Your Golf Potential


What are the seven magic keys to unlocking your golf potential? That question can’t be answered. You could spend a round of 18 just debating it. There are not seven specific tips, hints or secrets that are going to make you compete with Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods. However, by taking note of these seven very practical, surefire tips, you will improve your game; and maybe you’ll find yourself smiling more as you approach the green on the 18th hole. Grab a pad and paper, or click print and add these few to your growing knowledge!

Seven Tips to Better Golf



No great athlete or gamesman would hesitate to tell you that the vast percentage of success depends on your mental state. Are you focused? Are you playing for fun? Are you working a specific part of your game? Are you prepared? These are all questions worthy of asking yourself before you begin any round, or if you are simply hitting balls at the range. It is said that a mad player equals a bad player. Simply meaning, frustration will lead to bad play. Most people hoping to excel in certain events are often unaware of the level of concentration needed to find success. It is not only mentally, but physically exhausting to stay intensely focused on your game. Build upon your patience and mental toughness. There is no game that calls for it more than the game of golf!


Your Sticks

Once you’ve set your mind to the task, take into consideration your tools. Are you playing with the right clubs? Are they too short; too long? Are your grips too small? Playing with the improper clubs will lead to poor placement and a probable bad introduction of the club face to the ball. Those grooves in your irons are there for a reason! If you are hitting the ball with the toe of the club because you’re hunched over trying to take a good swing, it might be a good idea to slide a machete into your bag so you can hack through the jungle trying to find your ball.

Seven Tips to Better Golf


Define Yourself

Without a doubt, every time you set foot on the links, you are coached by everyone and their uncle. Ignore it. You may want to consider it if they are a pro, but generally, they feel they’ve defined themselves and are going to impart their knowledge on to you. Just as easily as they may be teaching you quality, they will also help you develop some incredibly bad habits, hoping to improve your play in a scramble. Try different techniques and find your own game!


Utilize the Range

If you’re a beginner or feel a bit rusty, get back out to the driving and practice range. As a beginner, there is nothing that can turn you off more than paying for 18 holes and going through 36 balls. Hitting a little white ball with a piece of metal may sound and seem easy, but if you’ve done it once, you know, you need to do it a thousand times! Learn to hit and then play!

Seven Tips to Better Golf


Don’t Overanalyze

I can’t tell you how many times a playing partner will step up to the ball and take practice swing after practice swing, getting their aim perfect, waiting on the wind and watching all four seasons pass by as everyone else is napping in the carts: Here comes the back swing…shank! The same player steps up to the next shot, not caring whatsoever, checks his lie, lines up, addresses the ball and pop! Within ten to the pin! Feel it, don’t think it.



In regards to play, consider your entire environment. If you have ever hit a ball on a windy day, you know how the wind can help or hinder you. If the ground is wet, stay out of the rough and keep your ball in play. If it’s a beautiful, warm summer day, take an extra towel to help absorb some sweat. And if it’s snowing, what are you doing on the golf course? Yes, it’s all common sense, yet commonly forgotten during play.

Seven Tips to Better Golf


Take a Lesson

This is obvious. Find a pro you like talking to and pay them/barter with them for a lesson. They will do the analytical work and pass it on. It will offer you new perspective and will help you to improve on your own in the future!

Golf is a wonderful, social and solitary game. Enjoy the repetition of the skills you learn and all knowledge imparted to help increase your level of play. At some point, everything old will become new again. Greet it all with a smile and enjoy the constant challenge of chasing an impossible perfection! Maybe that’s the best tip ever.

Seven Tips to Better Golf


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Flex Rating For Your Golf Clubs

Choosing A Flex Rating For Your Golf Clubs


Close-up of two golf clubs


When you pick golf clubs, you may be overwhelmed by how many things you have to take into consideration. The length of the shaft, the weight of the head, the grip, and many other smaller details combine to make clubs that are perfect for your golfing style. Perhaps the most important factor is that of the flex of the golf clubs that you are buying. There are different flex ratings for different golf clubs, and choosing the right one can have a great positive effect on your game. It may be difficult to understand at first, but you should be able to pick a shaft with the perfect flex for you with no problem after you familiarize yourself with some of the basics of shaft flex.

The bend of a shaft is very subtle and imperceptible, and causes the greatest effect during your swing. The force and momentum of the club head cause a very small flex in the shaft. Depending on the material and production techniques used on your club, this flex can range from extremely stiff to fairly flexible. If you aren’t sure about the particular clubs that you have been using in the past, then you may consider asking a golfing expert to look at them and see if he can’t discern it. If you can find out what you have been using previously, then you will have a much easier time switching to something new.

The four main flex ratings are L, R, S, and XS. These stand for Ladies, Regular, Senior, and Extra Stiff. Usually L, R, or S should work fine for the casual player, so it is a good idea to simply try out the golf clubs in the category you fit into. You will find more often than not that this level of flex is perfect for you. However, if you don’t feel comfortable with the clubs then you will probably want to delve into a more technical process of choosing your shaft flex. This is accomplished by closely analyzing your swing, and deciding from there what the best course of action is.

Ladies Clubs

More Technical

The speed of your swing is the biggest factor when you decide to get into the more technical side of shaft flex choice. It all depends on how you swing the club. The fastest swingers tend to stick with stiffer shafts – if your club travels like greased lightning, then the XS style shaft is probably the best choice for you. If you tend to have a slower and more controlled swing, you can stick with R or even L. The letters are arbitrarily assigned based on data gathered on swinging habits, and if you are a man that needs a “Ladies” style shaft, there is no shame in sticking with what you need in order to play your best.

The material of the shaft can also affect the way that you swing it. Graphite and steel are the two materials that almost every golf club is made out of, and each of them is very distinct when you look at them from a flex viewpoint. Steel clubs have a lower torque rating, which means that they will be useful more to one group of golfers than another. When you are faced with the choice of picking new golf clubs, it is a good idea to know which one you prefer so that you can choose the one that you will be most accustomed to.

Picking the flex level of a new set of golf clubs can be one of the hardest choices you will make, especially if you are new to golfing. But once you try out enough and get a feel for your personal needs, you will know it for the future. Every time you buy clubs from then on, you will know exactly what to choose, and you will always be able to stick with the same clubs. This allows you to really be constant in your game, and improve your skill.

Flex Rating For Your Golf Clubs



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Senior Golf Strategies That Work

Senior Golf Players


Golfer swinging club


As a senior golf player, you want to keep up with the younger players and keep your handicaps right where they are or better. To do this you need to have a few tips on the strategies that other senior golfers use. The first one is the club. The club is important for distance as well as how the ball sails down the fairway. If you have the right club with the proper amount of flex, you are going to keep with your game. If you do not make adjustments, as you get older, you may see your game and handicap slip away.

The next strategy that senior golf players need to consider is the stance. If you are a little older, the way you present yourself to the ball will have a big impact on the game. You are going to stand differently as well as move differently when you swing. You should always keep this in mind when you are trying new clubs. If you have back problems, you will probably stand and move your body differently, which will great affect the distance you get with the ball as well as how you use the golf club.

The most important thing to remember about strategies is the course you are playing. Not all golf courses are created equally. Many courses are going to require you to adjust your swing and distance. Some of the best golf courses are the ones that require some degree of thinking and planning your drive. If you are playing against a wind, or on a drizzly day, you are going to have problems no matter how good you are in the game. Playing against the wind might require a different flex shaft because the wind is going to push the ball backwards.

The entire game is going to depend on how you tee off. As you age, you will have to change the way you position yourself over the ball. You may need to continually change this as the years go by. You can play golf for years after reaching fifty, you just have to realize when you need a change in your stance and positioning. Your distance not only comes from the club, but also from your presentation to the ball. Hit the draw is a term many golfers use to describe how you stand over the ball and how you will hit that ball

The best strategy is the tactical and practical strategies rather the mechanics. This is the thinking of many of the senior golf pros including Jim Hartley, who wrote a book about just that way of thinking. Golfers also have to have the mental image of the course in their minds in order to play more efficiently and know how many hits they need to make the putt easier and closer. Keeping all this mind should allow you to play the game and keep your handicap the same or better as you enter into your senior golf years.

Senior Golfers Guide

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Golf Putting Problems

Cure For Golf Putting


Golf Putting Problems


It is perhaps the supreme irony in golf that the simplest shot in the book seems to cause the biggest problem to the largest number of golfers.

Let’s face it, the putt is the only golf shot that it is really possible to execute flawlessly without any tuition at all. We all start off doing this as kids. Some of us are even superb at it at this young age. It is this shot that is often the spur that leads to a lifelong addiction to this wonderful game of golf.

What then, goes wrong? How can this easiest of golf shots become the absolute bane of an adult golfer’s life? Sorry to say, there is no easy answer. Experts are just as baffled as inexperienced amateurs over this one. The saying ‘it’s all in the mind’ was probably never more true than in this golfing case.

 Golf Putting Machine

Several years ago, an American company developed a golf putting machine. They carried out tests in optimum putting conditions and were gob-smacked to discover that their pride and joy couldn’t hole every putt. They took that machine apart and tweaked every element of it until they were certain that it was in perfect working order. And, guess what? It still failed to hole some putts. If this doesn’t go to prove that there is at least an element of ‘black art’ about golf putting, then nothing will.

The best lesson to take from the above is that you really never are going to achieve putting perfection. If a machine in perfect working under operating under perfect putting conditions fails to hole every golf putt, then a human being with all his or her imperfections never is.

So, the first rule is, stop giving yourself such a hard time whenever you miss a few putts. It happens to even top professional golfers. In fact, any problem you have with putting is much more likely to be psychological than physical, so the very last thing you should be doing is getting down on yourself mentally; this can only make matters worse.

Is there anything you can do if you really do have severe, regular putting problems? Well, apart from working on the mental side of things to inculcate strong belief that you really can putt (try some self-hypnosis tapes etc.) the best advice is to see if a change of putter will do the trick. Take your lead from the professionals. So many professional golfers who’ve suffered terribly from the ‘yips’ on the putting green, such as Bernhard Langer, found their salvation in the broom handle putter – maybe you should give one a try.


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