Who doesn’t love a trip to the beach? With the sand between your toes, the ocean out in front of you, and the sun on your skin, it doesn’t get much better than that. However, when it comes to golf, there’s a certain beach most players prefer to avoid. If you’re the kind of golfer who sees the sand trap as a literal trap, let me help! Here are a few key points to each step of a bunker shot to make them a little less aggravating for you!
Step 1: Set Up
Weight forward, arms soft, and club vertical!
Put all your weight on your front foot. If you’re right handed this will be your left foot, and vice versa.
Relax your upper body, especially the arms and wrists and try to avoid a forward press with your hands. (The end of the grip should be pointed at your belly button)
Open the face, open the base!
An open club face can look terrifying. But it WILL help! Don’t be afraid. Lay open that club face, and open up your stance to match it. (Drop the front foot back slightly)
The more the face opens the more your stance needs to open. The two work together!
Step 2: Backswing
KEEP YOUR WEIGHT ON YOUR FORWARD FOOT.
Turn with your hips and your shoulders.
Hinge quickly from the start with your wrists.
Generate speed and power by keeping your wrists and elbows soft and hinging the club upward in a “V” motion.
Step 3: Swing
• A bunker shot’s worst nightmare is deceleration. As easier said than done as it is, trust your shot and commit to it. As hard as it may be at first, try to not slow down before impact! Fire through your shot.
• Always, always, always follow through. Remember part of a bunker shot is lifting the ball up and out with sand. If you don’t follow through, the sand can’t go up, and if the sand can’t push the ball up, the ball can’t get out.
Think of it this way:
When you use a hammer, do you keep your arm real stiff and hit the nail with a big arm swing, or do you use your wrist to add a little extra hit and force to the nail? Consider the wedge in your hand like that hammer, and the ball as the nail. Use more wrist, let the club head move faster, and pop the ball out without any extra effort! A bunker shot shouldn’t be strenuous!
Give these tips a try, and you’ll come to find that while you may not enjoy the bunker as much as the beach, you’ll come to find it a lot less maddening!
By: Briana Sweeny