Hickory play from modern bunkers

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Hickory play from modern bunkers

Postby ebeer » Wed Aug 27, 2014

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.

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.

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Steve H

Re: Hickory play from modern bunkers

Postby Steve H » Wed Aug 27, 2014

Nice tips and suggestions. :)

Jones won the grand slam with a concave Hagen niblick in 1930 and the next year that club was deemed illegal (double hit supposedly). I'd like to try a few shots with one of those for fun! Typically about $300+ bucks on ebay, but seems worth it just for the history (grand slam etc).

Jones was a great bunker player. That particular episode never gets old. I especially admire the 5 buried shots (stomped on with his shoe) blasted to within 2 feet of the pin one after another!

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Re: Hickory play from modern bunkers

Postby hickysticky » Wed Aug 27, 2014

Cool video! Anyone know if Hagen's Sandy Andy or Ironman sand clubs originally (steel or pyratone shafts) can be retrofitted with hickory and still be legal per SoHG?

Here are a few budget busters:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Hickory ... 339451acb4

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Fine-Antique-Hi ... 20e9c70058

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Hickory ... 339451acb4


Re: Hickory play from modern bunkers

Postby Guest » Fri Aug 29, 2014

I'm not 100 percent certain, but I do believe the Ironman can be legally retrofitted. I have seen plenty of them in competition. Is there any difference with the clubheads that came with hickory versus pyratone? Is Sandy Andy the concave niblick?

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Re: Hickory play from modern bunkers

Postby pg.hickory.man » Sat Aug 30, 2014

From my post about having a "go to chipping shot":

pg.hickory.man wrote:I'll also play the flop with (the niblick): aim left, open stance, wide-open club face (completely flat), very upright take-away, immediate wrist break, and right-hand acceleration under and through the ball (trying NOT to take a divot). You can put a lot of spin on the ball, can make it go virtually straight up. But you can't wimp out on the swing. If you decide to do this, it's all or nothing. However, and trust me because I have experience, if you hit it thin (not getting under the ball) you can blade it and hit it about 150 yards over the green, probably OB (ouch!). You might also warn your playing partners not to stand laterally to the right of you (for right-handers) because, well, you know why (shank you very much). The flop is always a gamble, of course, but sometimes the shot just calls for it, and when you pull it off, it's a beautiful thing.

I pretty much hit the flop shot as described for bunker shots as well. Only difference is that I do hit behind the ball and take some sand instead of trying to pick it clean. When done correctly, you can fly it to the pin and make it stop dead on a dime.

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Re: Hickory play from modern bunkers

Postby SPearson » Fri Mar 13, 2015

pg.hickory.man wrote:Only difference is that I do hit behind the ball and take some sand instead of trying to pick it clean

This ^^
The science behind the flanged wedge with bounce is that it skips along the surface of the sand rather than digs in. With a modern club you can be a little less precise. With little bounce and virtually no flange, it would seem almost a necessity to hit behind the ball and know that it will dig in. Opening the blade adds loft AND bounce too.

I was always a terrible bunker player anyways so hickory bunker play is no different for me! :)

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