How to Conquer the Long Greenside Bunker Shot

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This week the PGA Tour heads over to the Valero Texas Open held at TPC San Antonio. Last year’s tournament made a first time PGA Tour winner out of Steven Bowditch, and it punched his ticket to The Masters. TPC San Antonio is known for their natural and rugged bunkers.  This minimalist design around the edge of the bunkers emulate the canopy of the native oak trees that can be seen throughout the entirety of the course.

“The topographic subtleties of the rolling Texas Hill Country terrain, framed by magnificent stands of mature live oaks, create a pristine natural setting that is as playable as it is beautiful.”  -Greg Norman

 Set Up

To pull off this shot you’ll need to adjust your stance, ball position, and the clubface. You’ll want to widen your stance a little more than a traditional bunker shot and your weight distribution should be even between your two feet. You should then position the golf ball a little more forward and towards your front foot as opposed to being in the middle of your stance. During your normal set up the leading edge of the golf club is closer to the ground which will make the club dig into the sand. To combat this, you’ll then want to open the clubface.

long-greenside-bunker-shot-set-up

Shallow Your Swing

To help alleviate the club from wanting to dig into the sand, take a shallower swing. This can be done by taking the club back more around your body as opposed to taking the club back more upright (which you would do on a more traditional golf shot). You’ll still want to take a divot, so be sure to hit about an inch and a half behind the golf ball. Keep in mind the golf ball will generally come out with a little less spin than normal, so be sure to allow for more roll out.

Practice

Pulling off a long bunker shot takes a lot of practice. Practicing this shot will teach you how far the golf ball will travel depending on the length of your swing and the golf club you’re using. To gain some feedback you’ll want to hit your SW, PW, 9-iron, 8-iron, etc. to see how far the golf ball will travel.

Quick Recap

1. Set Up – Check your ball position, weight, and alignment. Place the ball a little forward in your stance with your weight distributed evenly. Take an open stance and an open the clubface.

2. Shallow Your Swing – Taking a shallower back swing and follow through produces a lower ball flight with less spin.

3. Practice –  This cannot be emphasized enough! Try different clubs to determine the best results.

Taking all of these steps will ensure balance and stability for pulling off the long bunker shot!

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Looking for more instruction from our PGA Professionals? Take a look at some prior weeks that you may have missed including: Swing Like a King, 4 Ways to Improve Your Lag Putting, How To Hit The Stinger Off the Tee, and How to Master Playing in the Wind.

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Posted in Instruction, Scoring

Callaway XR Hybrids: A New Era of Technology to Fly It Higher, Straighter, and Farther from Everywhere


As the game of golf has continued to evolve over the past decade so has the popular long iron replacement that have made their way into the majority of amateur’s bags and a growing number of PGA Tour players as well. Whether you call them hybrids or rescues, it makes no difference because they have transformed the way the modern game is played. I can speak from personal experience that after adding a 3 and a 4-hybrid to my golf bag to replace my 3 and 4-iron over seven years ago, my confidence improved and as a direct result, so did my scores. I used to dread pulling a club out of my bag from 190-220 yards. I never knew what I was going to get from either of those irons.

Even as a very good player, looking down at that thin, small-faced blade made me cringe before and during impact! I’ve played several brands of over the past few years, but last year, I settled on the Callaway X2 Hot hybrid as up until that date, I hadn’t seen performance like that before. Bringing fairway wood technology to the hybrid was a new venture at the time. From first-hand experience, the Callaway X2 Hot hybrid was about as good as it gets. I was longer from everywhere regardless of the lie or where I hit the ball on the face and also launched the ball higher for more control coming into the smaller greens with trouble surrounding the flag.

Many proponents, including myself, wondered how Callaway could possibly make a hybrid better than what they packed the X2 Hot with in 2014. Once again, Callaway has used their world-class research and development team to create a new hybrid that will usher us into this year’s golf season, one that provides all players alike with more speed, distance, and forgiveness. And who doesn’t want that? So step aside X2 Hot, there’s a new sheriff in town and his name is XR.

So How Did They Do It?

Expanding on the face cup technology that debuted in their X2 Hot hybrids, Callaway has produced a new generation of face technology in the XR called Forged Hyper Speed Face Cup. This latest improvement increases the flexibility of the face and will increase ball speeds regardless of where you hit the ball on the club face. What this means to you is that not only is the Callaway XR hybrid going to be longer than what you’ve got in your bag now if struck squarely in the center of the face but also longer and more forgiving on those common mishits.

callaway-xr-hybrid-face-cup

What you will also notice with the Callaway XR hybrid is a more aggressive head shape construction than the previous collection of hybrids. The traditional low toe and low heel height has been enlarged more than ever before, creating a bigger face area for more confidence when you set the club behind the ball at address. Because the shape of the head has been intensely redesigned, it has allowed Callaway to position their largest and heaviest internal standing wave to date inside the club head all the way from the heel to the toe. The result of this is a center of gravity that is now 46% lower and an MOI (a measure of forgiveness) higher than the X2 Hot. The combination of the new head shape and the revised standing wave has produced a hybrid that launches higher, spins less, and is up to 13 yards longer than its predecessor in recent testing.

Isn’t It Time That You Fly It Higher, Straighter, And Farther From Everywhere?

Two Callaway XR hybrid models are available. The first is the standard XR hybrid which is available in both men’s and women’s, right and left-hand, and have choices from 3 – 6 hybrid (the 6-hybrid will be made for RH only). The men’s standard XR hybrid will feature a True Temper Project X SD shaft, weighing between 55 and 58 grams and producing a higher launch, and will come in Light (Senior), Regular, and Stiff flex. The women’s XR will have a 47-gram Project X SD shaft. The XR hybrid is targeted to the larger majority of golfers as it has a bigger body profile for more distance and forgiveness in conjunction with Project X SD shaft to increase launch angle.

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The Callaway XR Pro hybrid has all of the same technological advancements of the standard XR hybrid but has a more compact head profile for the stronger players and more consistent ball strikers. The Pro hybrid is available in 16 (1-hybrid), 18 (2-hybrid), 20 (3-hybrid), and 23 degree (4 hybrid) lofts for both right-handed and left-handed players. It features a Project X LZ Pro shaft in Regular, Stiff, and X-stiff options, weighing between 73 grams (in Regular) and 76 grams (in Stiff and X-Stiff), with a higher kick point for a lower, more penetrating ball flight that the best players desire.
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As always, if you have any technical questions about these Callaway XR hybrids or any other golf clubs, feel free to contact a PGA Professional at GlobalGolf!

Like what you see here? Take a look at what I said about the Callaway XR Driver and Fairway Woods!

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Posted in Drivers, Fairway Woods & Hybrids, Equipment

A Golfer’s Guide to the Best Golf on the Strip

There is perhaps no other place in the world more synonymous for night life and entertainment than Las Vegas. Tons of golf courses adorn the desert making this adult amusement park the perfect destination for your yearly golf trip. Many of these world class facilities charge a premium to play, but deals are abound as competition among courses has never been stiffer.

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Photo courtesy of Shadow Creek Golf Club

Thursday

Set in the heart of the strip and built from empty desert flatland for a reported cost of $60 million, Shadow Creek stands out from the rest of the competition. Legendary architect Tom Fazio moved over three million cubic yards of dirt, pushing it to the perimeter of the property to create a berm blocking any view from the outside. An estimated 21,000 trees were planted around the sides of the course providing an intimacy in the middle of the Vegas strip. Featuring lakes, waterfalls, and rolling hillsides this golf course is without a doubt an experience like no other. Some of the signature holes include an island green with a waterfall backdrop, a 622 yard Par 5 with an elevated tee box, and a 483 yard Par 4 – where you’ll hit back into the mountains with a creek running along the left side of the hole.

Rates: $500 per player
Tee Time Booking Policy: Contact the Golf Shop for tee time availability

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Photo courtesy of Cascata

Friday

Designed by Rees Jones, many of Cascata’s holes are framed by deep canyon walls resembling the sand dunes in Scotland. You’ll also find natural rock outcroppings and ancient stream-beds running throughout the property. Upon entering the property, the private gates open to a spectacular landscape that forms a dramatic backdrop for a tremendous golf experience. There’s stunning vistas at every turn, making this par 72 layout a perennially powerhouse that’s ranked in the top 100 hundred courses in America and is a must play while in Las Vegas.

Rates: $295 per player
Tee Time Booking Policy: Contact the Golf Shop for tee time availability

Saturday

Owned by the Paiute Tribe, this championship 54 hole resort is the first master planned, multi-course facility of its kind built on Native American land. With three distinctive Pete Dye designs, Paiute Golf Resort is the perfect destination for anyone seeking a break from the strip. Opening in 2001 and still retaining the crown as Nevada’s longest course (7,604 yards), the Wolf is without a doubt the signature course of this trifecta. Consistently recognized for its undulating design with steep slope changes, Dye’s famous rail road ties, and the 15th hole which features an island green. The Wolf not only has world class playing conditions, but is a remarkable testament to the raw beauty of the Las Vegas desert.

Rates: $179 per player
Tee Time Booking Policy: Up to 120 days in advance

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Photo courtesy of Rio Secco Golf Club

Sunday

Designed and built in 1997 by Rees Jones, Rio Secco lays 13 miles from the strip in the foothills of the Black Mountain range. From the tips, Rio Secco measures 7,400 yards featuring 6 holes playing through steep canyons, 6 holes on a plateau overlooking the city, and 6 holes in a broad desert wash. Owned and operated by Caesars, Rio Secco provides a world-class golf experience coupled with stunning vistas and a challenging group of holes.

Rates: $199 per player
Tee Time Booking Policy: 90 days in advance

Other Notable Courses

Wynn Las Vegas
Rates: Contact the Resort for rates
Tee Time Booking Policy: 8 days in advance

Coyote Springs
Rates: $125 per player
Tee Time Booking Policy: 14 days in advance

Top Private Clubs in Las Vegas

Looking for more golf guides? Check out our guides featuring Palm Beach, Pinehurst, and Miami!

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Posted in Courses & Travel
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