February 4, 2010

Buried Lies: Pick The Right Club

The choice depends on where the hole is
__Plugged?__ Use a sand wedge (left) for short shots

and a pitching wedge or 9-iron for longer shots.
__Plugged?__ Use a sand wedge (left) for short shots and a pitching wedge or 9-iron for longer shots.

I play a buried bunker shot one of two ways, depending on distance.

LONG SHOTS: I was playing an old Sandy Andy wedge when I first learned the standard technique from my dad: Strengthen the grip, toe in the club about 30 degrees, play the ball back of center in your stance and make a steep downswing. Today I might use a pitching wedge or 9-iron if I'm sure I can clear the lip. Those clubs have less bounce than a sand wedge so they dig easily under the ball, rather than skim into it. The ball comes out hot and rolls.

SHORT SHOTS: Lee Trevino taught me to weaken my grip, open the face about 30 degrees, position the ball forward of center with my weight on my left foot and swing even more steeply. I swing harder to generate enough speed to produce a softer shot that stops fast. It's even OK to leave the clubhead in the sand.


More Thoughts From Tom:
Over Thanksgiving I had an opportunity to visit Iraq and say thanks to some of our men and women in uniform for all they're doing to help the Iraqi people learn a new form of government. Our group over there included Corey Pavin, Tim Simpson and country singer Matt Snook. We hope the visit took our troops away from their serious business for a few moments to laugh, listen to some good music and learn a little more about our great game.

*Tom Watson is a Golf Digest Playing Editor and the golf professional emeritus at The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. *


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