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"Take nine strokes off your score. Skip the last hole."  Bob Hope
Home Up Break 100? Your Clubs Two-Plane Swing Feel the Swing Bunker Play Your Putting Your Practice Short Game

MASTERING

BUNKER PLAY

THE BURIED

BUNKER LIE

THE DOWNHILL

BUNKER LIE

THE UPHILL

BUNKER LIE

THE LONG

BUNKER SHOT

Mastering Bunker Play

Sat., Jan 11, 2003 - By Bob Dougherty

 

First and Foremost -DONíT PANIC!

Most amateurs are afraid of the sand when it is really one of the easiest shots to play. The normal sand shot, one where the ball is sitting on top of the sand and on a reasonably level surface, is really a pretty easy shot to execute. I know that you have probably heard this before but itís true. This shot is one of the two shots in golf that do not require precise ball contact to obtain good results.

All sand shots must be played by creating an explosion of sand that carries the ball out of the bunker. Think of having a handful of sand with the ball perched on top, and then you make an underhand toss to the target. This same motion, only using a sand wedge instead of your hand, is the basic feeling you are after when you make this shot. All you are trying to do is slide the club head under the ball. Anytime you can do that, you can get the ball in the air and out of the bunker. No matter how deeply the ball is burled, if you can get the club under it, it will go up.

You want your club head to enter the sand 2-3 Inches behind the ball, and with a reasonably good swing you can hit the sand anywhere behind the ball (up to 5 inches), and still get the ball out!

Set up with an open stance and the ball in a forward position. Grind your feet into the sand to get a solid footing, slipping can spell disaster, and itís also a good way to test the texture of the sand, determining how soft, or firm, it is. You canít test any other way because you are not allowed to ground the club in the sand. (Itís a 2 stroke penalty II) Open the club face about 20-40 degrees to allow the flange, or bounce, to work properly. (Thatís the bottom part of the club that hangs below the leading edge on a sand wedge). The club face should be square to your target line, but you should swing the club along the line of your feet, (outside to in swing). Because the club face is square to the target that is where the ball will go even though you are swinging left along the line of your stance. If there is a secret to successful sand play, it is that you must have a full follow through and finish facing the target with your hands over your shoulders. If you make a half swing, thatís what will happen to the ball- a half shot. Remember, you are trying to take a slice of sand, AS WELL AS THE BALL! We see so many people who come to our school who try not to hit the ball over the green and they have become so good at it that quite frequently the ball stays in the bunker or screams over the green because they didnít take 2-3 inches of sand with their swing. This is an aggressive shot and you should attack the sand and make a full swing.


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The Buried Bunker Lie

Sat., Jan 11, 2003 - By Bob Dougherty

 

This is the one shot in the bunker that you play with the club face closed, the reason being to make sure that the club Ďdigsí Into the sand on a steep angle so that you can get under the ball and let the sand lift the ball out. Set up with the ball back of center in your stance with the club face closed. On the backswing pick up the club early in the swing to promote an early wrist cock and hit down into the sand with some force. Donít worry too much about following through on this shot as it is more important that you dig down into the sand so that the sand lifts the ball out. The ball will come out with no backspin, like a knuckleball, so allow for a lot more roll than normal.

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The Downhill Bunker Lie

Sat., Jan 11, 2003 - By Bob Dougherty

 

This shot is more difficult than the uphill lie. The idea is to swing the club head under the ball without hitting the ball first or bouncing off the sand into the ball, which is usually what, happens if you are not careful with this shot. As with the uphill lie, you must align your shoulders with the contours of the slope, only this time your weight will be mostly on your left foot and your left shoulder lower than your right at address. The ball is positioned up to 4 inches farther back in your stance depending on the severity of the slope. The backswing should be an abrupt lifting of the club setting the wrist cock very early in the swing and on the downswing make sure to concentrate on hitting the sand behind the bail, making sure that on the follow through the club head continues down the slope of the sand, staying open as long as possible. The ball will fly out Ďhotí and low, running after it lands with little, or no, back

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The Uphill Bunker Lie

Sat., Jan 11, 2003 - By Bob Dougherty

 

This is probably the most misunderstood shot in the game. Amateurs treat it like a normal shot and end up sticking the club in the sand. When you address the ball itís natural to lean into the slope which is precisely the opposite of what you should do. Align your shoulders parallel with the slope, with most of your weight on your right foot, which should make your right shoulder lower than your left. Then concentrate on making the club swing up the slope taking 2-3 Inches of sand. The ball will come out like a regular bunker shot only much higher because of the way your shoulders were aligned at address, so remember to be aggressive with this shot.

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The Long Bunker Shot

Sat., Jan 11, 2003 - By Bob Dougherty

 

This shot is probably one of the more difficult shots to play in golf. Set up with the ball in the center of your stance, and with your club face just slightly open. This swing should be more shallow than for a regular sand shot. You must still enter the sand 2-3 inches behind the ball and make as full of a swing as you can control. You will have to practice this shot to find your Ďmaxí distance with this shot but you will need to change to a pitching wedge, or more, if the shot you are facing is more than forty yards.

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Home Up Break 100? Your Clubs Two-Plane Swing Feel the Swing Bunker Play Your Putting Your Practice Short Game

 

 

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