How to get out of a sand trap with hard sand in it

sand trap2

“The difference between a sand trap and water hazard is the difference between a car crash and an airplane crash. You have a chance of recovering from a car crash.”Bobby Jones

By Ian Hardie

In the post Don’t hit the ball out of a sand trap I made the statement that

‘A shot out of a sand trap – should be the easiest shot you play in a round’

Which I’m aware that some golfers around the world probably wouldn’t agree with too much

Most golfers as they are heading towards their golf ball that is waiting for them in a sand trap

Will have a feeling of either bewilderment or fear as to how they are going to get the ball out

But it shouldn’t be like that because as I suggested in that earlier post

The sand shot is the only shot in golf where you don’t hit the ball!

The art of getting out of the sand trap is to play a shot

That allows you to take ‘a divot’ of sand out with the club – which is how the ball comes out

It’s pushed up and out by the ‘divot of sand’

This easy extraction from the sand trap is possible due to the different design of the sole of your sand wedge to the rest of the clubs in your set which I illustrated with images

In the posts How to hit a sand wedge from the fairway and How to hit a sand wedge from the fairway – part two

A sand wedge is specially designed for the shot by having the back of the sole (trailing edge) lower than the front (leading edge)

This is what is known as ‘bounce’

As the sand wedge goes down into the sand the trailing edge at the back hits the sand and effectively stops the sand wedge from digging into the sand

Which gives the effect of kicking it up and out of the sand (or bouncing)

Allowing a flowing shot (the taking of the divot) and effective extraction of the ball

Meaning that for almost every shot that you need to play out of a sand trap

The sand wedge is the right club as it’s specifically designed to help you play the shot well

But what happens when you come across a bunker that has very hard sand?

Most commonly caused by the effects of rain, snow or a heavy dew on the golf course

As you may have experienced that’s when the bounce of the sand wedge that is so helpful on virtually all other sand shots – suddenly isn’t so helpful – as it tends to give you

A similar result to when you try to hit the sand wedge on the fairway (without doing this!)

However instead of rocketing the ball over the back of the green

As you would get from the fairway sand wedge shot

The bounce on the sand wedge when played from hard sand gives you that

Extremely short and annoying shot that goes straight into the face of the sand trap

Leaving you in there for another go at the same shot and another and another………………

The solution is to use the properties that your other wedges have inbuilt already which is a much flatter and sharper sole

If you take a look at the image to the right, you will see: sandwedge1

A lob wedge with very little bounce on the left, a sand wedge with a good amount of bounce in the middle and a gap wedge on the right with a similar amount of bounce to the lob wedge

The flatter soles of the lob and gap wedges can cause a problem when used for a normal sand shot

As they simply want to dig down into the sand – with the end result being a poor shot

However when the sand is hard, it means that the sand wedge’s bounce will do just that

It will bounce off the hard sand into your ball instead of going underneath!

The other wedges in your set though, with their tendency to want to dig into the sand

Will provide exactly the movement you need through the sand to take out that ‘divot’ that the golf ball is moved out of the sand trap on

With two small adjustments to the way you would play a normal sand shot;

The first is that you will need to hit a bit closer to the ball and aim to take a smaller ‘divot of sand’ out then normal

As the hard sand isn’t as easy to get through as soft sand – is it?

And the second is that as you might have guessed by now, the wedge isn’t going to flow through the shot as well as a normal sand wedge shot would result in – meaning that its most likely that the wedge will remain buried in the sand as your ball is heading up and out of the sand trap

So be prepared to hit down into the sand and have the wedge stop abruptly

The final thing that I’m going to suggest is that a shot played from hard sand in a sand trap

Is a challenging shot for even the most skilled and experienced of golfers

Meaning that aiming at the flag may not be the best option

Getting the ball out of the sand and onto some grass as soon as possible is your goal

Unless you want to play another shot out of the hard sand of course……………….

Play well


Related Posts

Don’t hit the ball out of a sand trap

How to hit a sand wedge from the fairway

How to hit a sand wedge from the fairway – part two

Why learning how to play short game shots is a must for new golfers