NCG’s golf glossary: What is a sand save?

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Don’t know your dormies from your doglegs? NCG’s Golf Glossary is here to help...

Here at NCG we pride ourselves on being the publication for the everyday player, so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to delve into the wonderful world of the golfing lexicon.

Sometimes the most obvious terms have the most interesting story, so you might find yourself an interesting conversation starter…

What is a sand save?

No, it’s not a scene from Baywatch. It’s usually when you get up and down for par out of a bunker – invariably from a greenside trap. That’s known as a sandy par.

You can, of course, hole your bunker shot and achieve the same purpose in rather more impressive style.

How would you use it in a sentence?

“That was a lovely sand save there on the fifth.”

What are its origins?

Glad you asked. Back in the days of Old Tom Morris…

sand save golf

Look, I don’t know. It’s one of those terms that’s been around forever. I can, however, tell you that ‘sand’ comes from the Dutch word ‘sant’.

It didn’t always refer to the golden stuff that gets stuck between your feet…and other places. It originally – so the internet says anyway – described unstable ground close to a river bed.

Any other business?

Sand saving is big business. It’s worth lots of money on the tours. Luke Donald got to world number one on the back of an exceptional short game and, in 2017 only Rickie Fowler was better at saving from the sand than the Englishman on the PGA Tour.

But next time you’re beating yourself up when you fail to make your par, and threatening to throw your club, consider this.

Fowler, the best player in the world at sand saves, only manages the trick 68.66 per cent of the time.

So when you leave it in the trap, maybe don’t be quite as hard on yourself.

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