Understanding sand

Metro Creative
Do you ever notice a difference in the quality of sand in certain sand traps you play out of? I’m sure that most of you are answering yes. As a golf professional, I have had quite a few players complain about the lack of consistency with sand in the traps. It’s a common problem among most golf courses, and it is a common complaint heard by most golf course superintendents. Rather than complain about the quality of the sand, I’d like for you to be better prepared for hitting out of whatever sand you are faced with. Sand traps are usually one of two things: either too firm or too soft. Generally, players will take too little sand when the surface is firm, and they’ll take too much sand when the surface if soft. This is where bounce comes into play with your sand wedge. If you are unaware of the effects of bounce in your wedges, here is a straightforward way of answering your questions. When the ground is firm, you want less bounce than when the ground is soft. Sand that is firm requires that the wedge digs a bit deeper under the ball to pop the ball out. Yet, sand that is soft requires that the wedge bounce a bit more to splash the ball out. An example I will often use with my students is to have them imagine standing in a swimming pool. To hit the ball out of a firm sand trap, the image is to splash yourself in the face with the water. You will have a much steeper descent and almost feel as though you are burying your club into the sand. However, you will do just the opposite out of softer sand. In this case, I’d like for you to imagine splashing water on a friend that is further away from you. You will have a much shallower approach to the water, thus almost creating the feeling of bouncing your hand off the top of the water. This is the same idea you want to have when hitting a ball out of soft sand. Sand traps can be a tricky obstacle for many golfers. The lies can be inconsistent, and the quality of sand is typically quite different depending on where you are playing. If you keep in mind the differences between hitting out of firm and soft sand, you will find more success.