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Hickory play from modern bunkers


Bob Jones - "How I Play Golf no.3 - Niblick"

I suppose one has a lot of time to think about bunker play when you spend as I much time in them as I did yesterday :curse:

So I got to thinking a bit and thought I'd throw some ideas out for discussion. I may have just gotten lucky (knock on wood) but I found my sand play has really improved over the last few months. It's a challenge to adjust from modern to hickory sand clubs because, well there is no hickory sand club (unless you are one of the fortunate few to have a wide flanged niblick). I haven't come across such a club in my price range, and I'm not willing to buy a repro (no judgement, just my personal feeling). So I've had to adapt my strategy to fit the rather narrow flanged, low to no bounce, hickory niblicks.

As with most things, keeping it simple works best for me. I've reduced my bunker swings to two options: thin and spin or chunk and thunk.

For the thin and spin shot, I take a flatter back swing and strike the ball with less sand between the club face and ball. The obvious risk here is getting too close resulting in a skulled shot. However with some practice it has become my go to sand shot. The ball comes out higher with more spin and has actually gotten predictable.

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NorCal member Jim Norris demonstrates a good blast - San Jose

For the chunk and thunk shot, I take a steeper back backswing with more sand between the ball and club face. The difference between this shot and a modern shot is that my "no bounce" niblick will dig into the sand. It produces a sort of dig-blast that takes a huge amount of sand along with the ball that results in a lower "knuckle ball, no spin" shot that thunks on the green and then runs a bit. I like this shot where the thin and spin is too risky or where I'm short sided to the pin with little room to work.

There are many other approaches to take, but so far limiting my options to these two shots has helped save me strokes around the green. So until I find a good deal on a wide flanged niblick, I'll continue this approach.

Curious to hear what others use out of the sand, and what type of shot(s) you like to play.