Today I’d like to talk about green side bunkers; swing path and club choice.
I’d advocate a slightly open stance; wiggle your toes into the sand for stability and to test the depth of sand. Weight favouring the left side (60/40) for right handers and the handle of the club in a neutral position pointing at your sternum or zipper. Knees flexed to keep you low in the sand. If the sand is deep, grip down the shaft slightly to compensate as you wil be lower in the sand after the toe wiggle.
Take the club pack on a path in line with your toe line, so slightly out/in. Aim to strike the sand about 1” behind the ball. Rehearse at a practice bunker and listen to the sound of the club entering the sand. You’re looking for a dull “thud” sound as the “bounce” of the club enters the sand first. If your hands are too far forward at address (too much shaft lean) then the bounce will be eliminated causing the club to dig in and stall.
I have a tendency to drop the club on the inside at the commencement of the downswing leading to an in/out path; not ideal for effective bunker play. So we worked on turning the body more on the downswing with the shaft finishing on plane and to the left of the target see photo)
This movement produce defective bunker shots but I needed to add more speed in order to create distance.
There comes a point where rather than trying to hit the ball harder, it’s easier just to take more club and swing smoothly. So for a 15 yard bunker shot (as long as the lip of the bunker is not too steep) try taking a gap wedge instead open the face a little and just commit to the shot. You’ll be amazed at the results!
Golf Pros prefer greenside bunkers to grassy lies as they find playing out of sand more predictable than grass. If you stick with the fundamentals and make some time for practice, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve. I use a “splash plate” during lessons ( A plastic sheet about 6”x 4” placed on the sand with a small mound of sand on the splash plate and the ball sitting on the mound. It’s really good at building confidence out of bunkers.
If you’d like to try the splash plate with me at the excellent short game area at Parley, just get in touch.
firstname.lastname@example.org 07764 895 045
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