Sand saving with a seven-iron

Western NY PGA Tips

Do you ever try hitting bunker shots with a seven iron?

According to Ravenwood Golf Club instructor and Nazareth men’s and women’s golf coach Sean Lalley, you should. 

“You’ve got to learn to use the bounce effectively in the sand. When we lay (a 7-iron) flat, you can see how much bounce we’ve got to work with,” Lalley says. “So when we have a wedge in our hand, which are designed to play out of the bunkers, it just makes it a lot easier to handle.”

Lalley will ask students to drop their base down a little lower and spread the feet out a little bit more. The hands will also drop and the butt end of the club should be pointed towards the right or back hip, instead of in front of the club head. 

The club should be laid on it’s back so that the face is pointing up to the sky. This will set a player up for a swing that’s a bit unusual. 

“Instead of swinging up, what I’m going to try to do is get that clubhead swinging more around (the body). A little bit flatter swing plane,” Lalley says. 

The swing should be more wristy than usual. It’s almost as if you’re flipping the club through the sand. 

The goal is to take a shallow divot. 

“If you’re going to control the ball out of the sand, you have to control the amount of sand you take,” Lalley says. The less sand you take, the more control you should have. Practicing with a seven iron forces a more shallow entry into the sand. 

Fluffy, soft sand is actually harder to play from because it’s harder to be shallow. 

There’s no need to change anything when you want to use the wedge. Take the same swing with the same setup. 

Lalley will often have his Nazareth teams play a practice round with only three clubs or less. The more shots you can hit with the same club, the more skills you can develop. 

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