Monday, August 12, 2013

Golf Sand Shots - Don't Be Afraid of Bunkers Cont'd - Strategy

Well I have informed you about sand and bunker types now we are going to talk about Strategy.

Since you have gained an understanding of bunkers your attitude toward them will start to change.  As you start to play any hole, you start to think hard about its defenses, real or imaginary, and the bunkers in particular.  First, especially when the course is new to you, get a feel for the sand, which you can check out at the practice bunker by walking in it and digging your feet in.  You note what the sand type is, softness, or well-packed down and try to estimate the effect it will have on your shots if you find yourself buried in them.

Secondly, checking the layout of the bunkers on every hole and figuring why they are positioned that way.  You will see which ones you can play toward, the ones you can flirt with and the ones you must avoid.  Sometimes the bunkers frame and guard a specific area narrowing the fairway target making you play toward them, not giving you an option.

When faced by a cross pattern of carry bunkers stretching diagonally across the fairway, or a luster of them guarding a dog-leg and inviting you to try a little too hard on your approach, don't get to greedy.  You don't want to face to tough a recovery by risking too much.

By understanding bunkers, it can really help you score better by revealing how best to tackle any hole.  You will gain confidence, particularly if you practice your sand shots, even taking a lesson or two on them from your local professional.  In fact, most pros will tell you that they prefer to find themselves in a bunker rather than in deep rough, because they can generally control the ball much better from the sand.

Confidence is everything in golf.  It comes from practicing thoughtfully on and off the course, understanding the course and the techniques and, above all, from a positive mental attitude.  Golf is very much a mind game.  You are constantly contending with weather frustration, the course, stress and luck - the "rubs of the green".  You can't combat luck, but you can certainly control yourself and develop a positive mental attitude.  When playing with my friends and they hit a bad shot they tend to get frustrated and start attacking the mental attitude by stating what a bad shot.  I turn toward them and explain the good point of how their shot made out, such as you have a better angle to the green.  You landed in the bunker instead of the thick rough and so on.

To many golfers today go out there and let the frustration and course beat them before they even start.  Think positively.  If you are standing at the tee box and looking out to the hole and you see yourself as an unlucky golfer, if your positive you will get a bad bounce off your drive and roll into a bunker of plunge into the water, or going into the trees, then you will.  Stay positive, see yourself going down the middle of the fairway hitting long and straight, chip like a pro and putt like a champion, then you have a head start on the whole thing.  What you think, you will be.  If you think defensively, you will play negatively.  Think positive and you will play positively.  That doesn't mean I am positive I am going to play bad.

Never brood on past failures.  Your out at your home course and you remember your long drive down the middle of the 1st tee, that will allow you to take positive attitude toward the start of your game.  Don't recall the times that you hit your drive into the deep rough to the right of the fairway bunker.  Clear all the negative thoughts from your mind.  Think only of the times that you made great shots.  The long 15 foot putt you drained or the 3 foot putt you holed for your first birdie or eagle.    It is up to you to bring the memory of those shots, because your competitors surely won't.  They will probably remind you of those bad shots.

So when you go out to play and end up in the bunker, think of them as your friend and not the enemy.  Strategize what the bunkers are there for to help you decide what your outcome will be.  Learn the different sand types and practice hitting out of the bunkers so you an make them work for you and not against you.

Until next time, when we learn about shot making from bunkers, if they are your friend then they will make you happy and help your score instead of ruining your score......

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