Here in New England, golfers have become accustomed to hitting balls off concrete. No, we’re not practicing shots on the sidewalk. Our bunkers are like hardened cement, and not just in the winter. Finding a patch of soft sand to push the ball is rare.
We’re not alone. If we were, there wouldn’t be so many videos about hitting off hard pan. With the warm weather fading into the chilly winds of fall, it’s a good time for a brush up on green side bunker shots. The video below offers some good instruction.
Bunker Shot Terminology
Before you watch the video, let’s review some bunker shot terminology. Hard pan is pretty obvious. When the sand becomes packed down from cold temperatures or excessive rain, it hardens like cement. Pushing the sand to move the ball is not really an option.
A standard lie is on flat ground, in soft sand, with a chance to take the shot the way we’ve all been taught. It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s not a huge wall in front of you. We’re only talking about the lie here, not the degree of difficulty or loft.
Fried eggs are my favorite. It basically means you’re buried in the sand and have to dig in with the club to get the ball out. You only get one try. Practice swings are allowed inside the bunker, but you cannot touch the sand with any of them. If you do, it’s a stroke.
Forward is Not Always Best
Obviously, the objective of the game is to get to the hole. Sometimes, you have to take a step back (or sideways) to minimize the number of strokes to do that. Fried eggs buried deep behind a forward wall often necessitate escaping in a different direction.
Th video below shows you how to do some fairly difficult things while in the bunker. Don’t be a hero. Chipping away from the green to get out of the bunker is okay. You’ll pick up an extra stroke, but trying an impossible shot will cost you far more than that.