How to Hit a Plugged Bunker Shot

Plugged Bunker Shot

Are you having difficulty with plugged or “fried egg” bunker shots?

Leslie has been having difficulty with this type of lie and wrote to us and asked:

Hi Sean, I’ve been having a lot of trouble with plugged bunker shots or “fried eggs” as I’ve heard them called.  Can you give me a few pointers to get out of the bunker a little easier?

For almost all bunker shots, I’m a huge advocate of using the bounce of the club to assist you.

However, in the case of a plugged ball, I don’t want the bounce to be the first part of the club to enter the sand. With this particular shot, we need to dig the ball out of the lie - so it’s paramount that the leading edge of the club enters the sand first.

If you use the bounce, it will be very difficult to get the leading edge under the ball and dig it out.

Flat Stance, Plugged Lie Bunker Shot

For this particular lie, we want the leading edge of the club to enter the sand first.

You will play this shot with a square clubface, because it will be easier to get the leading edge underneath the ball.

There is no need to open the clubhead for this type of shot.

We need to drop the clubhead steeply into the sand, about an inch behind the ball.

Plugged Bunker Shot - Leading Edge

Setup

From a setup perspective, I’d like you to play this shot with the ball in the center of your stance, or just slightly back in your stance.

For a right-handed golfer, make sure there is more weight on your left side (lead side) at setup.  The weight distribution should be around 60% - favoring your left side.

You need a very steep angle of attack on this particular shot compared to other bunker shots.

I want you to feel like you’re not creating much width on your backswing, but instead creating an up and down movement (i.e. that you’re picking the golf club up).

Plugged Bunker Shot - Backswing

This will make it easier to create that steep angle of attack.

I don’t want you to worry too much about following through for this particular shot. If the club happens to stick in the ground, that’s okay.

Uphill Stance, Plugged Lie Bunker Shot

I just described a plugged ball for a level stance where there isn’t much incline or slope.

However, most plugged lies that we encounter are under the lip of a bunker, meaning our stance is very uneven and that we need to brace ourselves against the slope to hit the shot.

Everything I described for the setup in the previous shot will remain pretty much the same, with the ball position being in the center, to slightly back in the stance.

Due to the uphill slope, you’re going to have to favor 60% of the weight in your lead side - or maybe a little more depending on the severity of the slope.

Plugged Bunker Shot - Stance

I want you to feel like you’re making a backswing with very little width; it should feel like you’re picking the club up and creating an “up and down” motion.

This will make it easier for you to have a steep angle of attack, driving the leading edge of the club into the sand about one inch behind the ball.

I don’t want you to be too concerned with follow through; if the club happens to stick in the ground after you hit the shot, it’s okay.

Finally, one thing a lot of good players do with this type of stance and lie is that they fall back once the club has entered the sand. This will assist you, helping the ball get out of this lie and up onto the green.

Watch the tour players on TV; you’ll notice that when they hit a plugged lie on an upslope, they will fall back to help them get the ball in the air easier.

Check out this video where I show you how to hit a plugged bunker shot in real time:

 

Here’s The Next Step:

If you’d like something as a reminder when you go to practice bunker or golf course to help you hit plugged bunker shots, then download the bonus below.

You'll receive a free step-by-step checklist that shows you the step-by-step process to help hitting these types of shots.

 

Free Step-by-Step Checklist

How to Hit a Plugged Bunker Shot

     

    Fixing the Putting Yips

    Putting-Yips.jpg

    The yips, particularly with the putter is something most of us probably have experienced at one time or another.

    Whether it's in the middle of your round or that last putt on eighteen with everything on the line, it's just not the pro's that experience them.

    I've asked my good friend Dr. Greg Cartin, a golf performance coach who's helped golfers of all skill level including PGA Tour and Web.com Tour players talk about the putting yips.

    He shares his experiences with how to over come this four leader word and start getting in the correct mindset to make more putts.

    If you enjoyed this this blog post and want to get in touch with Dr. Cartin, the best way to do so is through his website Mindful Mindset.

    Take it away Dr. Cartin.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    The Yips – it’s one of the dreaded 4-letter words in golf.

    Those of us who have experienced them know the familiar sensations that the mere mention of the word can elicit.

    A scenario often plays out like this:

    First, you have a large putt that you need to address.

    A smooth stroke and solid read leaves you with a little less than 3 feet.

    You’re supposed to make these shorter putts 100% of the time, just like on TV - right?

    Your alignment seems good, your mind is clear, and out of seemingly nowhere you practically hit a shank with the flatstick!

    It’s as if someone took over your arms at the last second and decided it would be funny to maneuver the putter in a way to make you barely strike the putt on the face.

    What are some of the causes of this terrifying act, and how can we best get ourselves in a mindset to prevent it from recurring?

    These are the questions to be explored in the following blog post.

    The Reasoning Why

    Why is it that we often have a long, smooth, free-flowing stroke on long putts - yet when we get to 3 feet and in - we experience such spastic movements?

    If you’re like me, you think that we’re supposed to make every 3-footer, and if we miss we will experience great shame.

    We think our playing partners will laugh and that we wont be able to face our families when we return home.

    On the other hand, the 30-footer with 5 feet of break on lightning fast greens causes us no issues at all.

    We put a smooth stroke on it and hope for the best.

    The two putts, while rather different, still count the same, yet we apply so much pressure to make the short one that it’s no wonder we end up trying to steer them into the hole for fear of missing.

    If we can remove our overwhelming focus on the end result, it will help to smooth out our stroke.

    Replace your attention on results with an attention to the process and routine.

    Whether it’s golf, business, or our relationships, we are wired to be overly focused on results and usually spend little to no effort focusing on our process and routine.

    When we emphasize our routine, we subconsciously assign the same value to every shot; helping us to avoid putting unwanted pressure on ourselves to execute what we perceive to be “easier” shots.

    Process and Routine

    The next time you’re out, accept the fact that you will be thinking about results.

    But instead of reacting to these thoughts, simply accept them and move on to focusing on your routine.

    You may find those 3-foot putts are no longer so daunting, and you may even enjoy yourself a little more on the golf course.

    Drills

    1.) Putting for Speed – No Target

    Often times our strokes can get locked up when we over-analyze the break of a putt, or put too much emphasis on results (i.e. making the putt). When practicing and to help unlock your natural feel, practice putting for speed only.

    Place two balls a few feet away, creating a “gate.” Without reading any break at all, practice rolling your ball so it just makes it through the gate.

    The Yips

    Vary the distance of the gate until you feel comfortable with your distance control without feeling the need to hole a putt.

    2.) Look, React, Stroke - Move On

    Place three balls around the same hole so you have three, 5-foot putts.

    The Yips Putting Drill

    Step into the first ball, look at the hole, and make a stroke.

    Without waiting for the result, make a move to the next ball and follow the same procedure.

    The thinking behind this is that again we have taken the result out of the equation.

    We have added a specific target (the hole), but by moving on to the next ball– and preventing our waiting for a result – we can help free up our stroke.

    Now, the only focus is on a smooth stroke.

    These drills will help remove both the analysis and result-oriented pieces of your routine – both of which can cause tension and lead to shaky strokes.

    The more that we can train ourselves to react to our initial instinct without letting thoughts of fear and doubt creep in, the better chance we have at making a smooth, tension-free strokes.

    Here’s The Next Step:

    If you’d like something as a reminder when you go to driving range or golf course to help you get control of the putting yips, then download the bonus below.

    You'll receive a free step-by-step checklist that shows you the step-by-step process to help your yips.

     

    Free Step-by-Step Checklist

    How to Get Control of Your Putting Yips

       

      Mastering the Uphill Lie Golf Shot

      Uphill-Lie-Golf-Shot

      Do you struggle with uphill lie golf shots?

      Depending on the golf courses you play and how hilly they are, you could face the uphill lie shot numerous times throughout your round of golf.

      This post will help to prepare you for those times.

      Albert struggled with an uphill lie and recently asked this question:

      "Hi Sean, I struggle a lot with uphill lie golf shots; could you suggest or share any techniques to help me be more consistent?"

      For those of you like Albert - there are a few things you need to do to become more consistent and execute this type of shot in the way that you want.

      Uphill Lie Golf Shot Setup

      The first thing we have to do is to get your body level with the gradient of the slope:

      • Hips

      • Torso

      • Shoulders

      Hitting Uphill Lie Golf Shot

      You will find that when you set up correctly and hit the shot, the ball is going to come out a lot higher than it normally would.

      Keep in mind this will also cause you to lose distance, so you will have to make sure you club down one or two clubs.

      For example,  if you are 140 yards from the green - and that is typically your 8 iron distance - I would suggest selecting a seven or six iron.

      Additionally, when you are faced with this type of shot, make sure you swing smoothly.

      This isn't a shot you need to hit hard or try to force.

      Uphill Lie Golf Shot Weight Distribution

      When you get into your setup, one thing I want you to focus on is where your weight is distributed.

      I would suggest you set up with the gradient of the slope, but try to feel like you are pressing your lead foot into the ground and creating a little pressure under your lead foot.

      At impact, try get fifty-five percent (55%) of your weight on your lead side.

      It will be a little difficult and feel awkward, because we are setting up with our bodies at an angle.

      We want to make sure that we get a little bit of pressure into our lead side at impact; having proper weight distribution at our setup will help ensure this.

      This will allow our hands to lead the club and catch the ball first to get it up on the green.

      We certainly don't want to get too much weight into our lead side, because if we do, we will dig the club into the ground.

      Uphill Lie Impact

      Conversely, if we hang back on our trail side,  we will simply balloon the ball into the air.

       

      Watch this video on Mastering the Uphill Lie Golf Shot:

      Here’s The Next Step:

      If you’d like something as a reminder when you go to driving range or golf course to help you hit an uphill lie golf shot, then download the bonus below.

      You'll receive a free step-by-step checklist that shows you the exact step-by-step process to hit off an uphill lie.

       

      Free Step-by-Step Checklist

      How to Hit an Uphill Lie Golf Shot

         

        Hitting the Sidehill Lie Golf Shot with Ball Below Feet

        Hitting the Sidehill Lie Golf Shot with Ball Below Feet

        Do you find that when you're on a sidehill lie and the ball is below your feet, your shots start to the right of the target?

        It happens to the best players in the world - but they make just a few simple adjustments so that the ball lands at their intended target.

        Connor struggled with his own sidehill lie golf shots with the ball below his feet and asked:

        Hi Sean, I find when I'm on a sidehill and the ball is below my feet, I have a tendency to hit most of my shots right of my target.  Could you please help me understand why this might be happening?

        Face Plane Tilt

        If you could imagine standing on a flat lie you can see that the face magnet and my target line are pretty much parallel to each other.

        Read More

        How to Hit an Uphill Bunker Shot

        How to Hit an Uphill Bunker Shot

        Have you ever been faced with an uphill bunker shot, and asked yourself how you should play it?

        This shot can certainly pose a lot of difficulty for golfers, but with good fundamentals and a sound technique, it’s definitely possible to get better and more consistent.

        Anthony was experiencing some frustration with this type of bunker shot and recently asked:

        Hi Sean, I’ve been having a lot of issues with my uphill bunker shot.  Typically I come up short -  and more often than not I leave my shots in the bunker.  Do you have any suggestions or techniques that can help me improve?

        Proper Club Selection

        The first thing I would like you to examine is you club choice.

        Read More

        How to Stop Hitting Irons Too High

        How to Stop Hitting Irons Too High

        Do you find that you’re hitting irons too high?

        Do you feel you’re losing a lot of distance as a result?

        Doug, one of our readers, wrote in and asked a question on this topic:

        Hey Sean, I'm having a lot of issues with my iron play.  I'm hitting shots way too high.  Do you have any techniques or suggestions to help me bring the height or trajectory of my shots down?

        Ball Position

        The first thing I would like you to check is your ball position.

        If the ball is positioned too far forward, this could be a contributing factor as to why it's gaining too much height.

        Read More

        How to Hit a Downhill Bunker Shot

        How to Hit a Downhill Bunker Shot

        The downhill bunker shot is one of the more challenging shots you’ll encounter on the golf course.

        We know that based on the slope, the ball will launch lower than normal. The main concern is getting the shot airborne quickly enough so that the ball carries the lip of the bunker and stays on the green.

        A sound technique will make this shot easier to play - with consistent practice leading to better results.

        Brett was having trouble with his downhill bunker shot and wrote:

        Hi Sean, I have been having a lot of difficulty with downhill green side bunker shots. I really have no idea how I should play them.  Could you please suggest some tips and share some information on how to play this type of shot?

        Downhill Bunker Shot Setup

        Brett, the first thing I want you to do is to address the ball so that your body is level with the gradient of the slope.

        Read More

        Hitting the Sidehill Lie Golf Shot with Ball Above Feet

        Hitting the Sidehill Lie Golf Shot with Ball Above Feet

        Do you find when you have a sidehill lie golf shot, and the ball is above your feet, that you have a tendency to pull the golf shot?

        You’re not the only golfer; this is a very common result.

        Even professional golfers have a tendency to pull the golf ball when the ball is above their feet.

        Martin recently experienced the same situation and asked:

        Hi Sean, when the ball is above my feet, I feel that I have a tendency to pull my shots.  Could you please explain what might be happening?

        You Won’t Believe Your Eyes

        I'm going to use a face magnet and attach it to my club face to help illustrate my point.

        What you are experiencing is a term we use in golf called Face Plane Tilt.

        Read More

        How to Hit Long Bunker Shots

        How to Hit Long Bunker Shots

        Most golfers who I meet feel that they have a good grasp of how to play a greenside bunker shot - but what about long bunker shots?

        Do you hit the shot with a square face?

        Do you swing harder?

        For the purpose of this video, we’re going to define a long bunker shot as a shot anywhere from 40-60 yards in length.

        Applying a good technique can make this shot easier to execute, help you get the ball onto the green, and in time help make more sand saves.

        Brian read our post on ‘Hitting a Greenside Bunker Shot,’ and had a question about hitting long bunker shots:

        Hi Sean, I saw your video on the high bunker shot and my greenside bunker play has really improved.  However, I’m  still having a lot of issues with fifty yard bunker shots. Do you have any techniques or suggestions on playing this type of shot?

        Read More

        How to Stop Casting the Golf Club

        How to Stop Casting the Golf Club

        Figuring out ways to stop casting the golf club is something with which a lot of amateur golfers struggle; it can cause many issues - including loss of distance and accuracy.

        Jason, one of our readers, wrote to us and asked how to stop casting the golf club:

        Hi Sean, I’ve been having a lot of issues with casting the golf club.  I feel it’s costing me a lot of distance.  Can you please explain what causes this, and some solutions to get rid of it?

        Casting the Golf Club

        ‘Casting the golf club’ - or ‘early release’ as some people call it - is when we start the downswing with a premature release of the wrists.

        Casting causes you to loose wrist angle on the downswing; in turn, the club head is delivered to the ball with a cupped left wrist. This adds loft to the club face at impact and causes you to hit high, weak shots that don’t go as far as they should.

        Read More

        How to Hit a Flop Shot Like Phil Mickelson

        How to Hit a Flop Shot Like Phil Mickelson

        Knowing how to hit a flop shot can be very beneficial, especially when you find yourself short-sided to a tight pin.

        You can use the flop shot in situations in which you need to get the ball up in the air quickly and have it land soft - with very little roll.

        Phil Mickelson makes the flop shot look easy because he follows a few basic steps every time he hits this type of shot.

        Bradley wrote to us and asked how to hit a flop shot:

        Hi Sean, I’ve been having some issues with my flop shots, especially when I have to go to a tight pin over a bunker.  I find I often catch shots thin or heavy.  Do you have any techniques or suggestions to help my consistency?

        Playing this shot is going to incorporate some of the same techniques and  philosophies that we use with hitting a high bunker shot.

        Flop Shot Setup

        First, we are going to take our set up and evenly distribute our weight fifty percent (50%) on the left leg and fifty percent (50%) on the right leg.

        Second, we want to make sure that we aim the body slightly left of the target, maybe two to three yards.

        Read More

        How to Prevent the Shank Golf Shot

        How to Prevent the Shank Golf Shot

        The dreaded shank is a shot no one ever wants to experience during a round of golf.

        It’s a shot that has assumed many different names over the years, such as the ‘hosel rocket,’ the ‘Davie Crockett,’ and the ‘socket.’

        Regardless of what we call it, it’s a shot that is struck off the hosel, resulting in a ball that flies off at right angles to the intended target and leaves your playing partners diving for cover.

        We’ve all experienced it.

        Everything is going smoothly and out of nowhere - BOOM...Sh-sh-shank!

        Some people don’t even like hearing the word because it starts to stir negative thoughts and emotions.

        Have you ever asked yourself, “What am I doing in my swing that is causing this shot”?

        If so, this blog post and video below is for you.

        Mitchell had a similar question and he emailed to ask:

        Hi Sean, every now and again I go through a case of the shanks.  I have absolutely no idea what might be causing them, or what I can do to avoid them.  Can you please help me out?

        Read More

        How to Hit a Fairway Wood Perfectly Every Time

        How to Hit a Fairway Wood Perfectly Every Time

        Have you ever wondered how to become more consistent when hitting your your fairway woods off the ground?

        The three-wood off the ground is one of the more difficult shots for amateur golfers to master.

        By making a few simple adjustments at setup, this club can be a whole lot easier to hit.

        Claude, one of our readers, wrote in and had a similar problem:

        Hi Sean, I’ve been having a lot of trouble hitting my three-wood, especially off the fairway.  Do you have any tips or suggestions that will help me become more consistent?

        How to Hit a Fairway Wood - Ball Position

        One key ingredient to becoming more consistent with this shot is the correct ball position.

        I would like you to use two alignment rods to help ensure that you are placing the golf ball in the correct position in your stance.

        Read More

        How to Fix a Duck Hook with the Driver

        How to Fix a Duck Hook with the Driver

        Have you ever been on the golf course or driving range and wondered how to fix a duck hook with the driver?

        The duck hook is a shot that nobody wants to hit - especially if there is trouble down the left side of the fairway.

        Neal was experiencing some of the same issues and wrote:

        I’ve been struggling lately with my driving.  I’ve been hitting a duck hook with the driver, and I would love to be able to hit the ball straighter.  Do you have any suggestions to help me out?

        Before we get started, there is one thing I would like to bring to your attention, which is the importance of where you are striking the ball on the club face.

        I would like you to get a canister of Dr. Scholl’s foot spray, and lightly spray the face of your driver.

        After you’ve done this, I’d like you to hit a few shots.

        The chalk on the face will give you visual feedback, showing you where you’re striking the ball.

        If the ball marks happen to be out on the toe, this is contributing to the excess curvature that you’re experiencing on your tee shots.

        We must address and fix this issue before we start working on anything else.

        If the ball marks are in the middle of the club face, and you are still struggling with a duck hook, then this next segment is going to be for you.

        Read More

        How to Grip a Golf Club

        How to Grip a Golf Club

        Have you ever wondered how to grip a golf club?

        If you watch the pros on television, you’ve likely noticed that all of them have different golf grips.

        So, is there a “right” or “wrong” way to grip the club?

        AJ had a similar question after watching a golf telecast:

        Hi Sean, I was watching the PGA Tour on television this weekend and the commentators were talking about a strong, weak, and neutral grip.  Could you please explain the differences between these three grips and suggest which one you think is best?

        Strong Golf Grip

        The first grip we’ll talk about is a strong grip.  (right-handed golfer)

        When we hear commentators on TV talking about a strong grip, they are typically referring to how a golfer places their left hand on the club (i.e. a strong left hand grip).

        When you look at your left hand, you will see a "v", which is created between the index finger and thumb.

        Read More

        The Truth About the Left Arm in Golf Swing

        The Truth About the Left Arm in Golf Swing

        Are you one of the many golfers who worry about whether or not they should try to keep their left arm in golf swing straight?

        Have you read golf magazine articles saying that all pros keep their left arm straight, and that this is the key to hitting it longer and straighter?

        Miles read something similar to this as well, and wrote to us asking:

        I'm fairly new to playing golf, but I have heard that I need to keep my left arm straight and that it will help me hit better shots.  Is there any truth to this - and if so - what can I do?

        The answer to this question, Miles, is that it depends on the golfer.

        The range of motion in your Thoracic Spine (T-spine or upper back), in almost every case, will determine how straight you can keep your left arm or how much you’ll have to bend it (for a right-handed golfer) to make a complete backswing.

        For me, I do like to see golfers keep the left arm fairly straight.

        I don't want it locked, but I only want this position if the golfer’s range of motion can support it.

        One of the main reasons why some people are able to keep their left arm straight is because they have great range of motion in their T-Spine.

        I’ve had students come to me who’ve read an article telling them that they must keep their left arm straight.

        They come for a lesson, begin making a few swings, and then ask me if they were keeping their left arm straight during their swing.

        Read More

        How Chipping with a Hybrid Can Save You Strokes

        How Chipping with a Hybrid Can Save You Strokes

        If you find yourself just off the green or your golf ball has come to rest against the collar of the rough, what club would you normally use?

        Have you ever tried chipping with a hybrid?

        After reading this, you just may consider the hybrid.

        It’s a versatile club that can be used for more than just hitting full shots from the fairway or rough.

        Colin had this same thought in his question:

        Hi Sean, I was watching my club championship the other weekend, and one of the participants used his hybrids quite a lot around the greens. Is there a special way you like to play this shot?"

        I like to use the hybrid every now and then around the greens, and it is definitely a good shot to have when you need it.

        There are a couple of things that you need to know when chipping with a hybrid.

        Chipping with a hybrid setup...

        In your setup, I would like to see your feet very close together. Because it’s such a short shot, we are not looking for any weight transfer at all.

        Read More

        Two Senior Golf Swing Tips

        Two Senior Golf Swing Tips

        Are you retired and feel like you no longer have the flexibility to produce the correct golf swing?

        If you are you looking for ways to increase your range of motion this is going to be helpful.

        Charles wrote into us and asked a similar question:

        Hi Sean, my name is Charles. I am retired and I just don't have the same flexibility - particularly in my hips - that I used to have.  Is there any way for me to improve my range of motion?

        There are a couple of things I look for when assessing range of motion in the hip area - especially for senior golfers.

        First, a common problem I see it that their stance is too wide. I find that when I ask my students to narrow their stance, this helps to increase the range of motion.

        Read More

        How to Fix a Slice Using Ball Flight Laws

        How to Fix a Slice Using Ball Flight Laws

        It’s a Saturday morning, and you’re playing in your club’s weekend game or with a group of friends.

        You tee off on the first hole, starting your drive down the middle of the fairway; however, the ball curves right into the rough or trees.

        On the next hole, your ball again starts down the middle of the fairway, but curves too far to the right.

        By now, one of your friends has probably mentioned that your “club face is open.”

        But you’re probably wondering: if the ball starts where you want it to, and then curves right, is the club face really the issue?

        Jay recently had this same problem: 

        I'm struggling a lot with a slice. Typically, my drives start down the middle of the fairway, then slice into the trees on the right-hand side.  My experience is the same with my irons.  Ideally I would love to hit the ball straighter; do you have any ways to correct this?

        Before we get into techniques and ways for you to reduce a slice, the first thing I want you to focus on is actually where you are striking the ball on the face.

        A prominent factor that I see with some of my students is that they are striking the ball out of the heel and this is a contributing to the amount of curve they are experiencing on their shots.

        Read More

        Course Management with Tee Box Strategy

        Course Management with Tee Box Strategy

        The correct tee box strategy can make the difference between hitting a ball in a pond versus hitting onto the fairway.

        Here is a scenario we have all experienced: when you step on to the tee box, you see a large pond - or out of bounds (“OB”) stakes - down the right side of the fairway.

        You’re thinking, “I definitely don’t want to hit it in there.”

        So, where do you tee the ball up to increase your chances of missing the pond or OB stakes?

        Phil had this same question when he wrote:

        Hey Sean, is there a specific area or spot in between the tee markers I should tee up my golf ball? Should the presence of hazards or trouble influence my decision?

        Tee Box Strategy: Number One Factor

        The number one factor when deciding where to tee off in between the markers will depend on what shot shape you naturally have,  or the shot shape that you are trying to create.

        Read More