You know the feeling – you hit what you think is a great shot to the green only to watch it come down short in the bunker. As you approach the green and see your golf ball, your entire foursome groans at the sight. They feel your pain. The “fried egg” lie awaits.
Recently (within the month), I read an article on how to hit this shot. With all the golf reading I do, I was surprised I’d never come across this information before. It seemed like an unusual solution, which is probably why the words stuck in my head. I wish I could remember where I read it so I could credit the author/instructor. I searched my latest golf magazines and couldn’t find it so I figure I must have seen it online. I searched online and found TONS of articles on the subject and even some videos. Many of them gave the same tips I read but some gave opposing information.
On Saturday, I found myself facing this dreaded shot on the 18th hole. My third shot on this par-5 ended up in the greenside bunker in a classic fried-egg position. Its image could be used for the dictionary listing of a fried-egg lie. A real thing of beauty – only it was my shot. In fact, I wish I would have taken a picture of it because I can’t find a good one online to use as an example here. Some images show a crater around the ball but I think of a fried egg as just seeing the top and sides of the ball, with a very small crater around it with some rippled sand a couple inches around it like the white of the egg. Not buried, not completely plugged but there is sand surrounding it.
I remembered the article I read and even though I had never attempted what the article taught, I figured I had a better chance of getting out that way than by using any of my failed methods. After all, most of what I know about how to play golf I learned by reading.
I used my sand wedge (55 degree loft) and I picked the spot on the green where I wanted the ball to land. Optimistic, I know, but your odds for hitting a target are better if you know where that target is.
I positioned the ball back in my stance and dug my feet in a bit and balanced my weight toward my front foot.
I closed the club face a little. This is the part of the instruction that surprised me, though more seasoned golfers seem to already know this.
I steadied my lower body and brought my club slowly up and down towards the ball (without actually swinging or touching the sand) a couple times until I felt comfortable that my spine angle was correct. This is my normal method for any bunker shot.
I took a little more than a half back swing and came down steeply on the ball, hitting about an inch behind it with a strong swing. My follow through was abbreviated because of the steep angle and the sand stopping my club momentarily.
The ball popped up and out of the bunker, actually hit near my selected target (rather softly!) and ended up about 8 feet from the cup.
Sweet! I wonder if it was a fluke or if I can continue to make this work for me. I don’t get a lot of fried egg lies (and rarely practice in bunkers) so it could be awhile before I get to test it again. But for now, I’m a believer. It was all sunny-side up… until I missed the putt.