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Breaking 100/90/80

Sand Solutions

June 2008

Whether you're in a fairway or greenside bunker, you've put yourself in a position that requires a recovery. The most important thing to remember: Get back in play. Don't compound the situation.

Good players avoid disasters in the sand by using experience and sound technique. For example, they assess the color and texture of the sand (light means soft; dark means firm) as they step into the bunker. High-handicappers rack up the 7s and 8s because they fail to escape in one shot -- or they hit into more trouble. See below for my bunker tips.

Just get the ball out. That's the cardinal rule for a high-handicapper in a fairway bunker. Grab your sand wedge, and play the safest shot possible. Look for the lowest point of the lip and the shortest carry distance to the fairway, and play an explosion shot, like you would from a greenside bunker.

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From a fairway bunker, your goal should be to advance the ball toward the green and leave a comfortable yardage for your next shot. To do that, you must hit the ball first.

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One big mistake 80-shooters make is thinking they're better than they are. They ignore the risks of a tucked pin or a lie in the sand. Often the result is trouble on the next shot. As a rule, aim for the middle of the green from fairway bunkers.

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Ranked by his peers in Golf Digest as one of America's 50 Greatest Teachers, Griffin runs the Grand Cypress Academy of Golf in Orlando.
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