It seems as though there are many amateurs that have this tremendous fear of greenside bunkers. The sand almost seems like a foreign language to most players due to not knowing the right techniques that are required to hit good bunker shots. Once we get into the sand it seems unfamiliar because we have been hitting all of our other shots around the course off of green grass. But with a little bit of practice and a correct set up these shots will become much easier. Now, let’s take a look at what we can do to improve our bunker play.
The stance that we take upon entering the bunker will dictate how the ball will come out. Go ahead and take an open stance of about 20 degrees or so. Be sure to dig our feet into the sand about an inch. By doing this we will ensure stability for our body to make a good swing in the sand.
Now that our stance has been taken, the next step is to open the club face. Obviously, the loft on the club has now been altered. Along with the loft of the club changing the “bounce” has also been changed. The bounce is the degrees of angle from the front edge of a club’s sole to the point that actually rests on the ground at address. This is what is allowing the club to hit the sand and jump up, propelling the ball up and onto the green.
So, now that we have our stance and are holding the club correctly, we need to focus on the point at which we are going to want to hit the sand. Many amateurs believe that we want to pick the ball from the sand. This could not be further from the truth! Our point of entry into the sand is going to be about an inch behind the ball. Put the ball in the middle front of your stance and be sure to take an aggressive and confident swing.
The next time we go out to the course take some time to practice your bunker play. An easy way to train our eye is by drawing a line in the sand about an inch behind the ball while we are in the practicing these sand shots. It will give us an idea of where our club actually enters the sand, relative to the line that we have drawn. Turn that bunker fear into an opportunity to save more strokes from your game.
Assistant Teaching Professional
Todd Kolb Golf Teaching Academy