Saturday, March 26, 2011

More Trouble - Bare Lies and Fairway Bunkers

The last blog talked about hitting from deep rough.  To be effective, you need a steep angle of attack, to keep from catching too much grass behind the ball.  Today, we will talk about hitting from bare lies or from fairway bunkers.  With nothing behind the ball, you will no longer need a steep attack, you now need a shallow or sweeping swing to catch the ball cleanly on the downswing. 

Many people dislike having the ball flat on the ground with no grass propping it up.  This type of lie requires you to hit the ball on the down swing and the golfer who is uncomfortable with this lie probably normally hits the ball a bit on the upswing.  If this lie isn't your favorite, here are some things you can do to make it easier to hit a good shot. 
  • Move the ball back in your stance an inch or two.  This will help you catch it before you hit the ground.  
  • Put more weight on your front foot at set up and use less leg action throughout this swing.  This will keep you more centered and steady over the ball.  
  • Take a short, smooth back swing instead of swinging fully.  Many golfers who hit the ball on the upswing release early, often in their transition.  By shortening your swing, your hands should be less active and you stand less of a chance of an early release of the club. 

One thing that you often hear is to grip down on your club to hit these shots.  The problem with gripping down on the club is you shorten it which in turn changes your posture.  A shorter club causes a more upright and steeper swing.  A steeper swing might be needed if you are hitting from a fairway bunker and the lip of the bunker threatens you.  It would also be needed if the bottom of the ball is below the surface, such as in soft sand or in pine straw.  However, for most bare lies, you want to sweep the ball from the earth, not hit down into the ground. 

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