Bunker woes cured (video)
If you are one of the many golfers with an aversion to sand on the golf course, here are some simple technique tips to turn sand into your strength.
*NOTE: This advice is for during practice sessions and can not be done during regular play of the game.
As you enter the bunker you need to gauge the depth of sand in the bunker. Wriggle your feet about to see how deep the sand is. If there is only a thin layer of sand before firm soil, select a pitching, gap wedge or lob wedge as these wedges are sharper and won’t bounce off the subsoil.
If the sand depth touches your lace height on your shoes, select you sand wedge which has ‘bounce’ to slide through the deeper sand.
Lay your clubface slightly open above the sand and take a weak left hand position – seeing no knuckles on left hand for a right-handed player. Then position your ball in line with the inside of your left heel, body open to target and weight sitting on your left side.
As you swing back, your thought is to hinge your wrists straight away on takeaway so the shaft position at hip height points vertically. Keep weight on your left (or forward) side as you create this position. The backswing is dominated by your upper body, primarily your arms lifting and shoulders turning. Notice that while there is minimal lower body action (hips and knees are very quiet) during the backswing, the downswing exhibits an active lower body that turns through to face the target well before the club gets back to the ball. To take the right amount of sand and hit the shot correctly, to maintain your wrist hinge that you created from your backswing as your body turns through to face the target. You must hold these angles with your wrists – don’t allow your wrists to unhinge until after your body faces the target.
Your finish will end up completely through and high above your shoulder line.
The key to good consistent striking is to practice these angles by hitting sand out of the bunker, focusing on consistency of entry position into the sand. This way you can gauge your entry and exit marks in the sand. Also you need to check that the sand you are hitting is exiting the bunker. If this is happening, you are well on the way to playing good consistent bunker shots.
Written by Lee Harrington, PGA Member
Lee Harrington is the most accredited female professional in Australia and a Participation Development Officer for Golf Queensland. She owns and manages one of the most successful golf schools on the Gold Coast of Australia and is a leader in women’s golf and junior golf promotion. She is also an official panellist on the iseekgolf.com teaching panel