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Are There Times Where A Sand Wedge Is The Wrong Choice In A Golf BunkerMost of the time, if golfers find themselves in a greenside bunker, they will grab the sand wedge. Just because the sand wedge has its name doesnt mean this club is the best choice when playing from the bunker.

The majority of the time, the sand wedge will likely be a good choice, but there are occasions when selecting a different club from your bag would give you a better opportunity to get the ball on the green and close to the hole.

The club you select depends on the balls lie in the sand, where the ball in positioned in the bunker and also where the pin is located. Lets give some examples of when selecting another club other than a sand wedge would be more beneficial.

  • The ball is tucked close to the lip of the bunker. In this situation you need to elevate the ball quickly. You would be best using your highest lofted wedge which would most likely be the lob wedge/60 degree.
  • The ball is in the front bunker, the pin is 40 yards away at the back of the green. In this scenario, you would be better using a pitching wedge or 52 degree wedge to hit the ball the desired distance to help roll the ball back to the pin.
  • The ball is sat on a very firm compact lie in the sand. Most set sand wedges have a lot of bounce which when playing from firm lies makes it difficult to achieve a good strike from firm sand. Use a club with less bounce.

The balls lie, position and flag position will determine which club should be used. A standard bunker shot will be fine with the sand wedge, a high, soft landing shot will require a lob wedge, and the lower running shot will require a pitching wedge.

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If you just grab the sand wedge for every bunker shot then you are really limiting your capabilities when playing from the bunker. If the ball requires a high shot which stops quickly, use the lob wedge. If the ball requires a lower shot with more roll, use a pitching wedge.

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The lob wedge when used in a bunker is great to elevate the ball high and stop the ball quickly. But the lob wedge is a difficult club to use to hit those longer bunker shots with. If you have a longer bunker shot which doesnt require a high trajectory, then use a pitching wedge to help cover the distance.

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When you are faced with a longer bunker shot, the use of a pitching wedge could be a smart play. The ball will fly lower and roll more on landing which helps cover the longer distance to the flag. If you need to elevate the ball quickly, you will need to use a wedge with a higher loft such as a sand or lob wedge.