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Hints for New Golfers: Escaping a Plugged Lie in the Bunker

Hitting your ball into a bunker is a bad enough feeling – but it only gets worse when you get to the bunker and realize that your ball is plugged in the sand. A plugged lie is one of the most difficult situations to deal with on the golf course, and you will have a hard time even getting the ball out of the bunker, let alone close to the hole.

When you do find that your ball is plugged, try the following tips to improve your odds of getting the ball out of the sand – and maybe even on to the green.

  • Be aggressive. Make no mistake, you are going to have to make an aggressive swing in order to get enough speed to get the club through the sand and under the ball. Since the ball is sitting down deep in the sand, you are going to have to dig the club farther into the sand in order to get the ball up into the air. Don’t just use your arms and hands to hit the shot – make a good shoulder turn and build speed like you would for a normal shot.

  • Get steep. The shallow swing that you usually use to splash the ball out of the bunker isn’t going to work properly when the ball is plugged. Instead, try leaning a majority of your weight toward the target and make a steeper swing down into the sand. It is important that you remain balanced during the swing, so try to put about 60% of your weight on that front foot and keep it there during the swing. If you feel like you need to, it is okay to choke down a couple inches on the grip of the club to gain control and make it easier to put into the sand at the right point.

  • Take the easiest angle. As soon as you get into the bunker to take a look at the lie, figure out the easiest path you have to get out of the sand and try to hit the shot in that direction. Even if you have to play away from the direction of the hole, the goal is to first and foremost just get out of the bunker and back onto the grass. It takes discipline to be patient enough to aim away from the hole, but that may be what is required.