A beginner's guide to getting out of bunkers with ex-LET player, Sky Sports commentator and coach Sophie Walker.
Bunker shots - many golfers are scared of the sand and this is because they haven’t learnt the correct technique to be confident every time they step into a bunker.
Follow this instruction and remember, the first rule is to GET THE BALL OUT.
Bunker shot set-up
You need to create a higher launch out of a bunker, so set-up is key to conquering height and the sand.
Grip - Open the clubface then grip the club, don’t grip and then open the clubface. Why? This will help to keep the blade open throughout the swing and hopefully at impact.
Stance - The ball position should be forward of middle (to promote higher launch). Take a slightly wider stance and work your feet into the sand for stability and to feel the deepness.
Where to make impact
You DON'T want to hit the ball. A bunker shot is the only shot in golf when this happens.
Pick a point in the sand about 1-2 inches behind the ball. Set the club up to this mark, watch this mark during the swing and hit it at impact.
How much sand do I take?
Imagine a £5 note on the sand and the ball sitting on top. Take the sand the same amount of distance as the length of the note.
Keep the clubface pointing to the sky at all times, especially as you follow through.
Imagine the clubface is a tray and you are carrying a drink on it.
Height needed - To create more height you should break your wrists and swing the club steeper.
Swing speed - Key to the swing is speed and this must be maintained at impact and post impact. Do not stop at the ball, complete your follow-through.
Head position is important
Where your head is positioned at impact affects shoulder tilt, which can then affect how much sand you take.
If your head falls back and you catch the ball heavy. This means you are taking too much sand. Too much sand between the club and the ball causes a roadblock and the ball doesn’t travel very far.
If your head pushes towards the target and you catch the ball thin. This means that the forward movement of the head has brought the bottom of the arc forward and made it shallow. The head causes the club and body to be in an aggressive position. The club de-lofts and the shaft leans. Less sand is taken and the ball comes out too well and too low.
How to combat this...
Ask a friend to hold an alignment stick close to your right ear (right-handed golfers). Your aim is to avoid touching the stick during your swing.
⬅️ Draw a line in the sand and see if you can hit it with your club, this aids sand impact position. This is so much harder than you’d think. The thought behind this is to bring your impact position on your arc forward as golfers hit the sand too early.
Long bunker shots
Often described as the hardest shot in golf. Players assume that if you are in a bunker you should use a sand wedge. This isn’t always the case, especially if it’s a shot over 20 yards and the bunker doesn’t have a steep lip. Why not choose a 52-degree wedge for shots over 20 yards and see how the ball flies and how they run out?
The above Instruction article was taken from the Mar/Apr 2020 issue of Women & Golf magazine.
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