Confidence Hitting Out of the Sand Trap

Confidence is everything in golf. You could have the most beautiful and effective swing ever and play terrible golf without confidence. This mental skill is born out of attitude, success, and desire. And without it, playing out of sand traps is virtually impossible.

Before making one step into the sand, it is very important to be mentally prepared to make a successful shot. Regardless of the lie or distance from the pin, it is important to be confident that making this shot is easy and doable. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks this way:

Over 40% of respondents think they will flub their sand shot. For those players, I suggest you check out my previous post and watch the video by Phil Mickelson.

After years of playing out of the sand, I can say without a doubt that my confidence is rooted in on aspect of my sand play – the follow through. I was taught years ago that regardless of how I make any other aspect of my sand save, following through to complete the swing was the ultimate key to success. It works all the time and as a result I will extricate my ball from the beach 99 times out of 100. And this is the first key to successful sand play – getting the ball out and on the green.

The next step for me is determining how far I want to hit the ball. This skill is determined by how hard or fast I swing my sand wedge. I try to always hit 2 inches behind the ball and keep the club under the sand for 2 inches past the ball; this consistent depth allows me to adjust my swing speed to judge distance. Before I even swing the club, I am confident about how I am going to execute contact with the ball. This is a very helpful skill to have and as such, I do not fear playing our of the sand. Let me show you:

Playing well out of the sand is a stroke saver. There are many different techniques for effectively playing out of the beach and the most important is confidence in our ability to hit solid shots. It is a mental skill developed with just a little bit of practice. Once you have the confidence, then playing from the sand becomes another routine chip that helps lower your golf scores.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

4 thoughts on “Confidence Hitting Out of the Sand Trap

  1. Jim, bunker play is still the weak link in my short game. Yesterday in the first round of our club championship on #1 we had three guys in the same greenside bunker. The first guy hit one heavy and barely got it out. The next skulled it over the green. And then it was my turn. My head was swimming after seeing those two and I skulled as well. Hadn’t been practicing bunkers since Labor Day and it cost me.

    I’ll usually get into a period where I’ll practice heavily in bunkers and then my confidence grows but I don’t hit into a lot of bunkers and figure to spend the vast majority of my practice time dialing in my wedges and working on chipping and putting. Round 2 is today and I need to shoot at some more pins and probably bring a few bunkers into play. Gonna be interesting!



    Liked by 1 person

  2. Playing lots of different courses I find my confidence out of the trap to be directly related to the quality of the sand more than anything. And getting out isn’t something I worry about, just hitting it close. The big question is which wedge will do the job best. I used to think that choice should be made based on distance but I found that to be wrong. In some conditions like say wet, compacted sand, the lob wedge works best and with light fluffy sand it’s the sand wedge I find does the job best. Different types and/or quality of sand can sometimes make choosing the right wedge not to mention how far to open it a difficult decision.

    BTW nice shot. That sand trap would cause me worries the first time or two. It looks nothing like what we play in here. Though you made it look easy enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Kevin you are right about the different wedges available when hitting out of the sand. It provides many options that most amateurs do not think about. As for quality of sand, I would say ours in the courses around here is not the best. But something we live with because of the cost for top quality sand.

      Cheers Jim


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