Spending time in the sand can be fun -- if you're at the beach. Playing from the sand on the golf course, however, is no picnic. Bunkers, also known as sand traps, are common golf hazards you should do your best to avoid. Although it's never good to hit the ball in a bunker, landing in wet sand shouldn't add to your anxiety, as long as you know how to adjust your swing to account for the dampness.
Don't Fear the Dampness
Golf is as much a mental as a physical game. If you see your ball in wet sand and don't believe you can hit a good shot from that lie, then you won't. Take a positive attitude by focusing on the fact that it's easier to hit from wet sand than from a dry bunker, according to legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus. Hitting from a dry, greenside bunker is difficult because your sand wedge must cut through the sand before you strike the ball. In his book, "My 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score," Nicklaus notes that your clubhead is more likely to bounce off of soggy sand, so you can strike the ball more cleanly.
Open Your Stance
Assume an open stance and play the ball opposite your front foot when you hit from wet sand. If you're right-handed, set your feet as if you were aiming a bit left of the flag. Adjust your grip in the address position so the clubface is open, with the clubhead's toe farther from the ball than the heel. The open clubface prevents the club's leading edge from digging into the wet sand, where it may get stuck. Instead, take advantage of the wetness by hitting the sand with the club's bounce plate.
Swingin' in the Rain
If you hit into a bunker during, or immediately after a rain shower, assume your open stance and then take the clubhead back a bit outside of the target line, recommends Nicklaus. Keep your hands low and take the clubhead back about halfway, although the exact length of your backswing depends on your distance from the hole. On the downswing, aim for the sand about 1 inch behind the ball. Swing just hard enough so your clubhead can slide under the ball. The wetter the sand, the harder you'll have to swing. As with all bunker shots, swing through the ball and follow through aggressively.
Water in the Hole
A pool of water within a bunker is considered casual water, which is a type of abnormal ground condition. If you hit the ball into a standing water inside a sand trap you have two options for relief under Rule 25-1b(ii) of the standard Rules of Golf. You may lift the ball and take a free drop within the bunker. The point of relief must remain in the bunker and must be no closer to the hole than your original lie. You may also drop the ball outside of the bunker and take a one-stroke penalty. The dropping point must be part of a line that includes the hole and your original lie.
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