Bad Lie, New Trick: Pelz on Buried Lies

Photo: Leonard Kamsler

The rules for escaping sand don't apply when your ball is buried.

The fundamentals for blasting from the sand are well documented: play the ball forward in your stance, open your clubface at address, aim left of your target and swing through to a full finish. Following these basics allows your wedge to scoot under and past the ball, lifting it up high and spinning onto the green.

That is, when you have a good lie in the sand.

The situation changes when you're plugged in heavy or wet sand. In these conditions, your club has almost zero chance of scooping under the ball while maintaining its speed, robbing you of the spin and lift you need to get the ball on the green. If you open your clubface, you risk bouncing off the sand, hitting the top of the ball and burying it deeper into the bunker.

The correct escape technique for this situation is the "Cock-and-Pop" swing. At address, toe in your clubface slightly to help the clubhead dig into the sand, and then aim the face at your target with the ball in the center of your stance. As you start your backswing, cock your wrists quickly and completely. Stop your backswing at threequarters and then smack the club into the back of the ball as cleanly and firmly as possible (photo, left). This will drive the ball forward into the sand in front of it. What you get is a soft shot with very little backspin — this one will roll out on you. For the best results, use your highestlofted wedge — I recommend a 64-degree model. Don't worry if your clubhead stops after impact. In fact, the longer your follow-through, the lower the ball will launch and the farther it will roll.

More From the Web

More Instruction