For PGA Tour and CBS broadcaster Mark Immelman, surviving from the sand is a matter of having the right tools in your arsenal. In the latest edition of his “On the Mark” podcast, Immelman breaks down his keys to mastering one of the game’s toughest bunker shots to help make your sand woes a thing of the past.
How to blast out of a plugged lie
“I find so many golfers I teach, they see a plug lie and they panic,” Immelman says. “They start swinging like banshees and all of the sudden, they don’t move the ball out of the bunker or they take this all-mighty whack — big arm swing, big body movement — and they miss it so badly, they don’t get enough velocity on the golf ball to get it out of the sand.”
While it feels natural to take a harder swing at a ball we see caked into the sand, Immelman says the approach should be the opposite.
“The first thing to realize from a plug lie is you are sacrificing backspin,” he said. “The truth of the plug lie is that you only have to get the ball out of the sand and onto the ground and then it’s going to propel forward.”
Given that information, Immelman says it’s about doing more with less, trying to achieve the basic goal (clearing the edge of the bunker) without overusing your arms or body.
Here are Immelman’s three keys:
1) Keep the ball close to the center of your stance: Just to the left of center if you’re a right-hander, just to the right of center if you’re a left-hander. Pushing the ball too far forward in your stance could lead your club to hit too far behind in the sand.
2) Keep the clubface square: Squaring your clubface lets your club’s lead edge do the work for you, digging your ball out of the sand and clearing the way for clean contact.
3) Focus on the wrist hinge: Your wrist hinge allows you to generate power without overusing your arms or body. Immelman recommends using wrist hinge “like you’re throwing the club back into the sand.” This will keep your body steady and give you the greatest opportunity to splash the sand with ease.
Listen to those three keys from Immelman and before long, the only fried eggs on your mind will be at the breakfast table.
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