Universally, golfers fear bunkers. When a golfer’s ball lands in a bunker, his hands start sweating, he starts imagining the worst, and fears that he’ll never get his ball back out again.
Don’t worry! There is good news about bunker shots. If you do one thing correctly in a bunker, you will get your ball out of it on a regular basis. So, what is that one thing?
The bottom of your swing needs to hit the sand in the right place to play a successful bunker shot. Imagine your ball sitting on a dollar bill. When you play a bunker shot, the back of the club (the bounce) should slide underneath the dollar bill. If it does that, the ball will come out with the sand.
Pretty easy, huh?! Unless the clubhead slides across the sand underneath the ball, you may well be stuck in the bunker for a while. The biggest mistake I see in bunkers is that players hit the sand in the wrong place. If you take the sand too early, it is like not taking sand at all! The club will have entered and exited the sand by the time it gets to the ball. Similarly, taking the sand after the ball won’t work either.
To practice taking the sand in the right place, try this drill:
- Draw a lengthy line in the sand and straddle it. It should run between the center of your feet.
- Start at one end of the line and make a swing trying to get the back of the club sliding across the line.
- Notice whether you hit too early, too late, or at the right place in the sand.
- Move along the line and if needed, try and adjust where the club hits the sand.
When the club consistently hitting the sand in the right place, your bunker woes will be over!
For more help with your bunker shots, contact Jason Dawber, PGA (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sue Shapcott, PGA of GB&I is the Director of Instruction at Change Golf Instruction. Change Golf Instruction partners with Pine Ridge Golf Course in Paris, TX and provides accessible golf instruction to help players learn and improve their golf. For more information visit www.changegolfinstruction.com