Finding your ball 'plugged' in a hole or footprint in the bunker

Pop the plugged ball out

Finding your ball ‘plugged’ in a hole or footprint in the bunker can be incredibly annoying. The shot looks a nightmare but don’t panic – there is a way out.

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Golfers who are knowledge enough to adjust their technique on plugged lies usually close the face. The thinking is, a closed face digs better and can get under the ball. That’s true, but the ball comes out low and fast. If you’re facing a lip or don’t have a ton of green to work with, you’re in trouble. You need to start by opening the face.

From a setup perspective, I’d like you to play this shot with the ball slightly forward in your stance, for a right-handed golfer, make sure there is more weight on your left side (lead side) at setup.  The weight distribution should be around 60% – favoring your left side.

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You need a steeper angle of attack on this particular shot compared to other bunker shots where a shallow angle of attack is favorable.

With the ball just forward of center and the face open, take the club back abruptly with a full wrist hinge. Stay focused on a spot a couple of inches behind the ball, about at the edge of the little crater made by the plugged lie. The steep backswing sets up a steeper downswing, which makes the club dig, even with the face open.


3.  Hinge and Pop

You need speed, so smack the sand good and hard. But don’t follow through: Stop a few feet after impact, keeping the face open, or pointing to the sky. Why stop? Because it’ll help you hold the face open so you can clear the lip and stop the ball on the green. Remember, swing down steep and go at it hard — that’s how you dig deep enough to pop the ball out.


Source: LGA Vietnam.