OK so I am watching the replay of todays PGA golf tournament on my DVR and on the second playoff hole a par five one pro hits his second shot up short of a bunker in front of the green and the other pro hits his second shot into the bunker. Everyone tells me that the pros are so good in the bunkers that they actually aim at the bunkers with their second shots on par fives and would rather be in the bunker then in the rough. OK the pro who is not in the bunker hits his shot four feet from the hole (he was not in the rough) and the pro in the bunker chunks his bunker shot just barley out of the bunker. They both end up making par but my point is sand bunkers SUCK!!! And it is very hard to hit good consistent shots out of bunkers. I know that the pro today had a very difficult lie in the sand and a difficult stance but that only adds credence to my point about how hard playing out of the sand is. We are always finding ourselves in those same type of conditions when we play golf as our sand is even more unpredictable than the sand at the tour courses.
I am finished ranting about the difficulty of playing golf from sand bunkers as I am convinced that playing out of the sand is the single most difficult shot in the game of golf and nothing will ever change my mind on this subject.
This message has been edited by gsw on Jul 9, 2012 12:34 PM
Actually Stan I couldn't disagree with you more - indeed I think their skill out of bunkers is one of the many ways in which pros distinguish themselves from amateurs. How often have I heard a commentator ( often ex-pros themselves ) comment on how difficult a bunker shot is going to be, has short-sided himself, yadayadayada, and the guy calmly drops the thing stiff. Remember Gary Player refusing to leave the practice bunker until he had holed out 10 times ?
Of course they can get bad lies, plugged etc and then they're in trouble, but give them a decent lie and they'd much rather be in sand. Last year I was marking for the better of the Molinari brothers on the European tour and he put his 2nd shot into a real deep pot bunker ( Harry Colt design, couldn't see the flag at all) and the flag was cut no more than 7 yards away on a steep downslope, fast greens. Molinari steps in, one quick look - and the ball comes out just onto the top of the lip with so much spin I swear you could almost hear it buzzing, inches its way down to the hole and after what seems like about 5 minutes comes to a halt 6 inches from the flag. Even his fellow competitors applauded and you don't see that very often...
I used to be terrible out of sand until I sorted it out, now I'm quite happy - made 2 sandies on Saturday and believe me our bunkers are far from tour quality - we have all sorts of animal life running through them so you never know what you're going to get !
that is the best example given the stance he had to take for that bunker shot. There are many other tournaments, particularly US Opens, where bunker shots are clearly preferred to shots from the rough and pros will aim for bunkers.
Actually the fact that he had a bad lie and stance sort of reinforces my point about the sand. When the ball goes into a sand trap the ball has a good chance of ending up in a position that gives the golfer a bad stance or a lie up against the lip of the trap either in the front side or back of the trap causing the golfer to need to hit the ball with some sort of improvised stance or swing.
I remember when Tiger Woods won the PGA at Valhalla in Louisville,Kentucky. I believe he ended up in the green-side bunker each time he went for the par 5 18th hole on his second shot. It seemed he intentionally aimed for the bunker. If I remember correctly,he got up and down for a birdie each time,including the play-off with Bob May.
"...who is not in the bunker hits his shot four feet from the hole (he was not in the rough)".
Given a level lie, with room for a good stance, and playing a ball from two inches of rough or in a normal sand lie, the pro will take the sand lie every time.
And pros don't aim for bunkers...that is a mis-conception. They aim for their target and plan for the event that if they miss they miss it in the bunker. That's positive pre-shot management and targeting.
Never quit til you have a swing you'll never forget!