It is the sand you are playing to the cup and not the ball. Any attempt to strike the ball with the club head will spoil the shot. Hit down sharp and when you get into the sand push ahead hard. You are really gouging out the amount of sand your club head will hold and jerking it over the bunker.
I stand well ahead of my ball with my left knee bent considerably in order to pull the club forward instead of pushing it forward, as it is easier and you can get a much greater amount of the body into the stroke. In clean, dry sea sand it is possible to send a ball well up in the air and for fifty yards forward.
The reason for the failure of the majority of players in this shot is that they think they must strike the ball with the club. Do not look at the ball at all.
Gage about the width of the club face back of the ball and hit down hard and straight into the sand and then yank the club forward and you will not only get out and over the bunker, but a little practice will enable you to place the ball very close to the pin. You must hit just as hard as you would, in playing a hundred yards on the fair green, but be careful not to hit too near the ball.
This is a shot which is well worth the time de-voted to practicing it and it is the despair of a competitor who is counting that hole as won. I have seen players not only get a half by playing this shot well but often to win the hole, as the recovery so rattled their opponent.
It is not my purpose to enter into more detailed shots with this club, such as “lofting a stymie” or “cut strokes,” or any similar shots, for the reason that such shots are only within the compass of the advanced player and the relative importance of them for the average player is not great.
Learn any of the shots I have indicated and the others will be well within your range.
Do not have the foolish idea that your niblick should only be used when in “trouble.” Many, a pitched shot is a simple pitch with a niblick which would be a very difficult shot with the ordinary mashie. Many players have the same amount of “loft” or incline to the face of their mashie that they have on their niblick; there is no sense in this because it gives you insufficient range between the two shots.