Gaining consistency out of the sand
Doug Hammer

Scottsdale, AZ (Sports Network) -- Do you dread seeing your ball travel into the sand? Are you tired of leaving your sand shots in the bunker or hitting them thin and watching those sail across the green and into the bunker on the other side? Does it sound as if I was spying on your last round of golf?

Inconsistent sand play may not be entirely your fault. Chances are, if you are playing public golf courses and like to try different courses, the bunkers are different each time you tee it up. Some may have a lot of sand; many of them may have too little sand. This can make for difficult times in the bunkers.

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson is considered one of the best bunker players on the PGA Tour.
Next time you step into a bunker to hit your shot, try these steps:

1. -- Make sure your ball position is closer to your forward foot.
2. -- Open your stance and dig your feet in as much as possible.
3. -- If the sand is deep, grip the club with an open clubface to use the bounce (sole) of the club. If the sand is thin, grip the club with a square or slightly closed clubface to get the club to dig.

When hitting shots with an open face in the bunker, you should get more height and stop the ball quicker. If you have thin sand and hit the shot with a square face, expect the ball to come out a little lower and roll when it hits the green. Remember to adjust your target line according to the shot you are planning to hit, for example, do not try to fly a shot all the way to the hole if you have a square face.

Good luck with all your sand shots in the future!

PGA professional, Doug Hammer, is the Director of Instruction for Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale, AZ. Doug has been with Troon Golf since 1998, teaching full time since 2001. Doug has studied under some of the game's greatest teachers in Tim Mahoney, Hank Haney, and Mike and Sandy LaBauve. Since 2001, Doug has taught in 10 U.S. states and a short stint in Japan. With this experience, he brings a very patient and consistent approach to the lesson tee, and feels that he can help all levels of players reach their goals.

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