Egg Fried lie normally have a disaster, either not getting out of the bunker or hitting over the other side of the green. In this article, I am going to show you that actually, if you know how to play the shot correctly.
This article is dedicated to the egg fried lie. It is something that very little has been written on because players of all levels do not think there is any other method of playing the shot other than positioning the ball to the right, closing the clubface and hitting down steeply at impact. Even some Professionals think they cannot get up and down and save par with this shot, most of the time, accepting this with the goal of just on the green, making sure of a bogey. Amateur players from the same Egg Fried lie normally have a disaster, either not getting out of the bunker or hitting over the other side of the green. In this article, I am going to show you that actually, if you know how to play the shot correctly and open your mind, there is a different way. It is not a situation that you should be scared of. Also, it is having the correct mind set, when I miss the green in a bunker and walk up to see the ball half covered in the sand, in some ways, I have a sense of enjoyment because of the challenge. I believe it is possible to get up and down and save par. While my percentages of saves from the egg fried lie will not be as good as from a normal lie, I will still make a par save more often than not.
The Standard Method
The way you probably play this shot is to close the clubface a lot at address, position the ball well to the right in your stance, swinging steeply up and down to get the club underneath the ball, lifting it out of the bunker. The thinking is that with this method you will be using the leading edge of the sand wedge to act like a knife, helping the club dig deep into the sand below the ball, perhaps up to 3-4 inches. I am not saying this method does not work; it does, but the problem is you have almost no chance of getting the ball close to the pin. In closing the clubface so much and positioning the ball towards your right foot, you have greatly reduced the loft of the club. The loft at impact would be closer to a 3 iron or 4 iron, producing a very low shot with no spin. If the pin is on other side of the green, then maybe you have a chance of getting it close, but a very high percentage of bunker shots are less than 15 m in length, meaning you normally do not have a lot of green between the edge and the flag. If you keep the clubface square or open so you can play the shot with loft helping you stop the ball, you cannot get the club deep enough into the sand to get underneath the ball. Well, this is the thinking everyone has, but there is a way.
The New Method
First, let’s understand what we are trying the do. To have a chance of getting the ball to stop close to the pin, we need to have a method of playing the shot that will have the ball landing soft on the green so it does not run out of control. To do this we need to keep the loft the sand wedge was designed with at impact or perhaps even a little extra loft. The problem is a sand wedge is designed with bounce on the sole and when the clubface is square or open, the bounce is designed to stop the club digging into the sand. On a regular bunker shot this is exactly what we want; it helps take a thin cut of sand from underneath the ball which allows control of the distance and spin. In an Egg Fried Lie, to get underneath the ball you might need to take 3-4 inches of sand. I believe if you know how to create the correct angle in your swing so that you can get enough force into the sand, you can play this shot with a square or open clubface; it is all about vertical force. Everything I do in my address and swing is to create vertical force into the sand.
Stance & Ball position – I start by taking a wider stance than normal and positioning the ball left of centre. The ball being to the left of centre allows me to tilt my spine a lot towards the target with my left shoulder almost lower than my right. The wider stance is important as it gives me the stability to do this. Hopefully, you can see already that this address is going to give me a chance of swinging with force deep into the sand behind the ball.
Clubface – As said above, I am not going to close the clubface as so many would for this shot. If the pin is in the middle of the green, I will keep the clubface square, and as the pin gets closer to me, I will start to open the clubface. An important point is to open the clubface before you take your grip.
Aim – I will aim slightly left of the target – this is only a small amount and a mistake is to aim too much to the left.
The key to the swing is to keep the club head swinging up and down as close to vertical from the ball as you can. The further the club head gets away from vertical, the more difficult it will be to swing deep into the sand.
Backswing – To keep the club close to vertical, there are 2 keys points:
1) I will cock my wrist more than normal, helping to pick the club head up in the air quickly.
2) I will let my left arm bend slightly; again, this helps to put me in a position at the top of the backswing that I can hit hard down into the sand behind the ball.
Downswing & Impact
My key thought in the downswing and impact is to not swing towards the target. I swing hard into the sand behind the ball. If I make a mistake about how hard to hit the sand, I will have too much speed, not too little. Hitting the ball a little over the pin is ok, but not enough speed will result in not getting out of the bunker. Remember, you have a lot of sand to remove from underneath the ball.
Follow Through – There is no follow through because all of the speed is going down into the sand and not towards the target; the club will stop in the sand. Do not fight this and try and follow through. The club stopping in the sand is a sign you are doing it correctly!
So the next time you have an egg fried lie, do not worry. Enjoy the challenge and give this new method a go. You will need to try it a few times to develop some feel for the speed of swing you require but with time you will surprise yourself how well you can play the shot.