The first step in fairway-bunker play: Clearing the lip

By Scott Chisholm

You’ve run down the fairway-bunker checklist in your head—take an extra club, dig into the sand with your feet, grip down on the handleaim a little right of the target—all the things you’ve been told that will help execute this shot. You’re confident this is going to work out, and you make a swing that reflects that self-assurance.

What happens next? Thud. Your ball smacks into the lip of the bunker and rolls back into the sand. So much for best-laid plans. Though I applaud the analytical approach to escaping fairway bunkers, you can’t ignore the first step—which is to clear the lip!

If you find it difficult to get out of fairway bunkers in one shot, I’ve got two options for you, and you’re not going to like the first one. You can simply take your sand wedge or lob wedge and play back into the fairway like it’s a greenside-bunker shot. (See? I knew you wouldn’t like that option.)

Your other choice is to take a longer club and try to reach the green, but you need to adjust your swing. The reason you’re hitting the lip is probably because you’re swinging down into the ball on too steep an angle. The steeper the downswing, the lower the ball will fly. I’m guessing you’re doing this because you’ve been told that ball-first contact is crucial to this shot—especially if you hope to reach the green in regulation. But to clear the lip, you have to come into the ball on a shallower approach. Ball-first contact still applies, but try to swing into the ball from inside the target line. That will take some steepness out of your downswing and deliver the original loft of the club as it strikes the ball. Unlike a shot from the fairway, you don’t want your golf shaft leaning toward the target at impact. Too much shaft lean is going to make the ball fly lower.

So here comes the part where I tell you how to clear the lip and reach the green. You know, the “gimme one thing” tip. I want you to think about your lead leg (left for right-handers) matching the position of the club’s shaft at impact. And that position should be as straight up and down as possible.

Essentially, you’re trying to post up on that lead leg during the downswing, which will let the club’s shaft return to the ball in that ideal upright position. This is crucial to striking the ball with enough loft so it doesn’t carom off the lip, and with enough force to reach the green.

Think, leg straight, shaft vertical—and you’ll stripe it.—with Ron Kaspriske

SCOTT CHISHOLM is a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher based at Rolling Green Golf Club in Springfield, Pa.

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Jack Nicklaus: Why You Lose Your Grip

By Jack Nicklaus and Roger Schiffman; Illustrations by Jim McQueen

WHAT I WROTE IN 1973

Loosening the hands at the top of the swing is a major fault of weekend golfers and a sure shot-wrecker. The answer lies not in putting a stranglehold on the club, but in maintaining a consistent firmness in the hands. If you haven’t swung the club back adequately by turning your body, loosening your grip will be instinct’s way of getting it there.

TODAY

It’s never a good thing to let go at the top. If I do it a little today, it’s because my body won’t turn like it used to. But I never, ever tried to turn. Never consciously made a shoulder turn. I let the club turn me. I let my body coil through inertia, with the momentum of the club pulling me back.

It should be a flow back, but only go as far back as your body will allow. If your swing is a little shorter as you grow older, that’s fine. When you try to force a bigger turn, you move off your plane; you lift your hips, your shoulders, your head; and yes, you loosen your grip.

When I was playing really well, I might have let go a little with my right hand, but never my left. Keep that left-hand pressure constant, and you’ll be much more consistent.

Jack Nicklaus writes only for Golf Digest. In this series he looks back at his classic lessons published in the magazine.

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It’s Wedding Wednesday!

At Twin Ponds, we pride ourselves in our elegant event venue for weddings and banquets. With our experienced background we know that planning can become stressful for the bride or the banquet planner. So every Wednesday we’ll be posting a little bit more about ourselves as well as some tips and tricks for your special occasion!

The 4 Running Lists Every Bride Should Maintain at All Times

By Erin Celletti

Budgets, guest lists, important dates, to-do lists, and more can flood your mind and make what should be a fun and exciting time feel quite the opposite. Don’t worry—thanks to digital documents and smartphones, you can stay up-to-the-minute organized in an easy way, keep everything you need to know on you at all times—and ultimately save your sanity. Enjoy wedding planning a little bit more by keeping these four running lists.

Guest List & RSVPs

Once the dreaded initial draft of the guest list has been decided upon, create a Google Doc or something similar that is editable and instantly saved and shared and that includes names, guests, and addresses. You’ll be grateful you’ve done this on a few occasions: once it comes time to assemble and mail invitations, as you track RSVPs as they come in, and when it becomes time to make the seating arrangements.

To-Do

All Type-A’s out there, rejoice—this one’s for you. Every single bride should keep a running list of tasks, even if she has enlisted the help of a wedding planner or coordinator. If you usually think nothing is more satisfying than crossing things off your to-do list, it’s 10 times better for overwhelmed brides-to-be. Whether you prefer to go old-school and use a trusty notebook or keep an app for your planning needs, as long as you have one, you’ll be organized and accomplished daily.

Gifts Received

While traditionally your maid of honor or bridesmaid will be tasked with writing down what you receive and from whom at your bridal shower, you will likely receive gifts outside of that occasion too. As a gracious and thankful bride, keep a running list so that writing out thank-you cards is a bit less overwhelming. It’s also great to save this list as an upcoming reference for when you’re a wedding guest!

“Day Of” List

It will be here before you know it, and to keep your wedding morning focused on beauty, mimosas, and excitement, you’ll need to make sure you have every single thing you need for the night before, day of, and morning after you say “I do.” You may be surprised how much stuff you will need on hand for your big day, from the more obvious items like your gown and undergarments to other details like reception decor, toothpaste, and makeup remover. Be sure you are prepared! Nothing is worse than a last-minute errand or snafu to throw off your positive pre-wedding vibes.

Source: https://www.brides.com/story/wedding-to-do-lists-for-brides

Some of the best chippers in history do these two things for extra-crisp chips

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

Top Teacher Andrew Rice has two thoughts to help your improve your chipping strike: Rotate and Rise.You probably think “staying down” is a good idea when hitting chip shots. It’s not. Staying down limits rotation and alters the radius of your swing, which has an adverse effect on strike quality. When it comes to short shots, strike is king.Study the best chippers in history—players like Seve Ballesteros and José María Olazábal—and you’ll notice they shift pressure forward onto their front foot during the backswing. This positions the body for the proper descending strike. In the downswing, they elevate or stand up slightly through impact. This might go against the grain, but getting “taller” in your downswing will encourage your chest to rotate through impact—an important element of a crisp chip strike. During practice, work to coordinate a subtle shift forward followed by a gentle rise through impact. Your swing thought: Rotate and Rise. Do that, and you’ll lift to your up-and-down percentage. — Andrew Rice 

Source: https://www.golf.com/instruction/2019/02/20/two-keys-to-improving-your-chipping-strike-golf-tip-chunking-shots?fbclid=IwAR2KLdsV9bQTuX16HG5EAjd5P-RXdW01fWEWdubhF097IrCAC1ba3k5efGc

Escape Any Bunker: How to Get Over a High Lip

By Stacy Lewis
This might go against your instinct when you’re in a bunker with a high lip, but the last thing you want to do is try to help the ball over the lip. When you try to force it up and over, it almost always comes out lower and slams into the face. Instead, do what I do.
First, try this drill. The biggest difference between hitting out of a normal bunker and one with a high lip is the amount of sand you need to take. To get the ball up quickly, your club should strike a lot more sand, and this drill will help teach you how much. Draw a circle in the bunker about four inches in diameter around your ball. Now get in your address position, playing the ball off your front foot. Before swinging, pick the ball up so all that’s left is the circle. We’ll get back to that, but first, two more things about address: Dig your feet in so you have a solid base, and open the face of your wedge before gripping the club. I know opening the face can freak out some amateurs, but don’t be scared. In a bunker, your wedge is designed to work when it’s open like this. In fact, you should keep the face open throughout the shot.
“DON’T BE SHY: TAKE PLENTY OF SAND TO GET OVER A HIGH LIP.”
Now here’s a key thought: When you swing, think about putting your hands into your left pocket as you come through. You can see me swinging toward my left pocket here. This forces the club to exit low, left and open, and cutting across the ball like this helps get it up quickly.
Back to the goal of the drill. I want you to make the circle disappear. To do that, you’re going to have to hit the sand a few inches behind where the ball would be, and swing through it with some effort. That’s the feeling you want moving through the sand in a high-lip situation. Practice the circle drill with my swing thought of getting into that left pocket, and you’ll make this shot a lot easier than it looks. — with Keely Levins
Stacy Lewis is a 12-time winner on the LPGA Tour, including two majors.
Source: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/escape-any-bunker-how-to-get-over-a-high-lip