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Help me get on the green from hard packed bunkers


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#1 502 to Right

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 09:35 PM

I really like my local course:  it's close, reasonably priced, and well maintained.  That is except for the bunkers.  The bunkers are not raked very often and have become wet and hard packed (they have poor drainage in the bunkers).  I'm normally not a bad bunker player from normal sand, but these bunkers are kicking my a**.  Every shot is over the green.  I can't possibly take enough sand to cushion the blow so I end up striking the ball way too hard.

Anyone have the remedy for how to hit bunker shots from hard packed sand?  Almost all of the bunkers are right next to the green so I don't have far to go.


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#2 rblmp32

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 09:51 PM

Use whichever wedge you have that has the least bounce and then don't hang the face open as much as you normally would for a bunker shot.  You'll want to let the club cut through the sand with the leading edge slightly, so you can get under the ball and get it out.  You have to play this shot to allow for roll, as you won't be spinning it.  The other way is to hang it wide open, and pick the ball out, just like hitting a flop shot.  Very difficult imo.

#3 ezra76

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 09:58 PM

Is it hard right below the sand or will a club dig into the hard sand? Like when you take your stance are your feet not sinking at all, like hardpan right below the sand?

#4 502 to Right

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 10:32 PM

View Postezra76, on Apr 23 2009, 08:58 PM, said:

Is it hard right below the sand or will a club dig into the hard sand? Like when you take your stance are your feet not sinking at all, like hardpan right below the sand?

There is a little bit of give--it's not like hitting off of a dried out hard packed fairway.  But I could take a swing with the intent of digging as much sand out as possible and not get much out.  I normally use my 60 degree Vokey spin milled with 8 degrees of bounce.

#5 frozen_rope

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 10:47 PM

Play your hard pan bunker shots like a normal bunker, but since there is no fluffy sand you need to enter close to the ball.
If in a normal bunker you play 1.5" behind the ball, then in hard pan play .5" behind the ball.
Go ahead and play your usual SW or LW, open the face up wide, and just enter the sand close to the ball.
Don't worry, even a little bit of sand is enough to execute a nice controlled soft landing bunker shot. Just trust it.
It's like you're playing a standard lob shot from the grass, but instead ofstriking the ball with your club face, you are entering the sand about 1/2 inch behind the ball. No big deal, You can do it and you will get to enjoy playing from hard packed bunkers.


View Post502 to Right, on Apr 23 2009, 10:35 PM, said:

I really like my local course:  it's close, reasonably priced, and well maintained.  That is except for the bunkers.  The bunkers are not raked very often and have become wet and hard packed (they have poor drainage in the bunkers).  I'm normally not a bad bunker player from normal sand, but these bunkers are kicking my a**.  Every shot is over the green.  I can't possibly take enough sand to cushion the blow so I end up striking the ball way too hard.

Anyone have the remedy for how to hit bunker shots from hard packed sand?  Almost all of the bunkers are right next to the green so I don't have far to go.


#6 Gallery_Tenementrock_*

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 10:49 PM

putt em out if you have to.

#7 resist_hard.

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 06:00 AM

I know this is more then likely the wrong text book technique... but works for me. During the winter months here every bunker is hard and wet. I couldn't get used to playing it like a normal bunker shot. I tended to hit the ball thin way too much. Now all i do is setup a tad open and play it like a normal chip shot. Its incredibly easy and i never leave myself in the bunker anymore.

#8 HackerD

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 06:06 AM

View PostTenementrock, on Apr 23 2009, 11:49 PM, said:

putt em out if you have to.
+1 if lip allows, putting them out is very reliable.

View PostnickGT, on Apr 24 2009, 07:00 AM, said:

I know this is more then likely the wrong text book technique... but works for me. During the winter months here every bunker is hard and wet. I couldn't get used to playing it like a normal bunker shot. I tended to hit the ball thin way too much. Now all i do is setup a tad open and play it like a normal chip shot. Its incredibly easy and i never leave myself in the bunker anymore.
+1 if ball sits up on top of the hard sand the chip method works well.
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#9 martinez

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 06:35 AM

Your typical iron shot....you want to have the sweetspot having a downward blow.
Basic bunker shot....you want the bounce having a downward blow with the leading edge up.
Firm bunker.....you want the heel having a downward blow with the leading edge AND the toe up.

The force used doesn't change, you just create a different tool to use.

#10 stevestrike

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 08:25 AM

We see these quite a bit at one of our local courses too, and I've learned to play them like a regular chip shot.  Play it almost like hard pan.  Easier than a regular bunker shot if you ask me!


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#11 502 to Right

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 12:05 PM

Thanks all for the advice.  I think I will play it like a chip and see how that goes.  BTW - the lip on most all of the bunkers are much too high to putt.

#12 ShoxTP

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 01:14 PM

Phil Mickleson did an article for GD a few years ago, and gave tips for fluffy and packed sand (Wet like).

I use this to great success, open the face and setup like you would your normal shot, but now put your weight on your front foot and come in to the ball just a TAD steeper and quicker than normal. My shot usually gets pretty good spin and check. The must important thing though is the weight forward.


Hope it helps,
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#13 yoonie

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 01:28 PM

i aim a little closer to he ball and come in a bit steeper.  It lets me "cut" a smaller slice of the sand, which is important sinceit 's so firm.  Comes out with more spin since you're hitting closer to the ball.

#14 QWKDTSN

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 02:16 AM

I have VERY SIMILAR bunkers at my course.  OK course.  Not many bunkers.  The ones that exist are not very well maintained and tend to get very hard packed in the wet months.  Right now the greens crew is actually finally taking some time to rake and maintain the bunkers (they look better right now than they have for the past 6 months), but I have lost a lot of confidence in bunker play at home.  On other courses with good bunkers I have amazed myself at the quality of my bunker play, but at home, hitting out of concrete, I get scared of the skull and tend to barely get the ball out by taking too much sand.  On every bunker shot I'm looking to get within 5 feet so I often don't live up to my expectations.  If the bunker is truly hard-packed, I usually don't bother with trying to play a sand shot, and just chip the ball out.




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