Golf balls have a nasty habit of finding the worst lies and chances are, you will be faced with a plugged ball in a bunker at least once every few rounds.
Golf Australia reader Bill Norton says he can’t recall the last time he was able to escape a buried lie, let alone get one up and down. “Every time I get a buried lie, it’s like an automatic bogey or double bogey,” he writes.
A buried ball in the sand should not strike fear into your heart. By adopting a few basic fundamentals, you can get the ball out and give yourself an opportunity to save par.
As with any shot out of greenside sand, you never actually hit the ball. You have to let the club get into the sand and under the ball, which will effectively lift the ball out of the bunker on a bed of sand.
Two of the most important things to remember when playing from a buried lie are to set-up with your hands forward of the ball and make sure the clubface is square, or even slightly closed, to the target.
The angle the clubhead enters the sand also plays a major part in getting the ball out. With a square or closed clubface, you don’t want the leading edge of the club digging into the sand too far behind the ball. Pick a spot about a two to three centimetres behind the ball and swing steeply down into the sand.
This will have the effect of ‘popping’ the ball out of its own lie and into the air, just like it is here for Scott Hend (pictured above).
Unlike normal bunker shots, the square clubface and the amount of sand being displaced will prevent any backspin being created.
The popping nature of the shot will also cause the ball to come out a bit lower than normal. You should keep both of these factors in mind when determining where you want the ball to land on the green.
As you can see with Hend, your follow-through should be abbreviated so as not to let the clubhead get past your hands.
Lastly, your grip pressure on all shots from plugged lies should be a little firmer than normal. This will help you cope with the harder impact of the clubhead hitting the sand.