Sunday, August 18, 2013

Golf Sand Shots - Don't Be Afraid of Bunkers Cont'd - Making the Short Shot

We have gone over the past few blogs how to overcome fear, understanding why the traps or bunkers are there, strategy, types of sand, bunker designs and now we will go over how to hit the shot out of these bunkers.

We will take a look at shots out of Fairway and Greenside Bunkers.

Before we go into those bunkers let me just state the standard shot from a good lie is called a splash shot because it is played with feeling; gently, yet firmly, without the sheer force used in an "explosion" shot from a difficult lie.  The basic fundamentals, you dig your feet in, bring the right, open your stance, keep your weight left, cock your wrists early and swing back slow, then strike the match, splashing through the sane under your ball.

Once you have mastered it through plenty of practice you will have a general purpose bunker shot in your bag.  You will also be well on your way to mastering even the most difficult sand saves.  The action you are practicing I used in every type of bunker shot you play around the green, with different variations of set up.  From long ones of 40 yards plus, high shots with no pin to low shots with plenty of bite and short shots of a few yards away you only need to understand how to adapt the basic shot to gain real confidence n the sand.


On these shots that have good lies he shorter the shot the more you open the club face.  For a shot just over the front lip of a bunker, say four or five yards of green to play with, I stand so open that my body almost faces the target area, with the club face as open as you can.

Grip the club with your left hand in the usual position, but your right hand strengthened a little, turned more to the right, so that it is under the left through impact.  Play the ball off your left heel, with weight on left side and plan to enter the sand about one and half inches behind the ball.  As stated above slow takeaway with same tempo, cock the wrists quickly and the backswing is full.  Timing a shot with a short swing is difficult, although you must guard against decelerating the club from a full one.  Swing like you are striking a match.  Remember when striking a match and you go easy the match won't light.  You have to pull the match quickly through the striking area firmly so the stick will start the fire.

The set-up creates an abrupt up and down, almost V-shaped, swing arc, which gets the ball up quickly.  Your positioning of the right hand allows it to flip under the left through impact, which farther increases the loft of the club and holds the club face open.  This action has your club face go through the ball slightly ahead of your hands and there will be a concave break in the back of your left wrist through impact.

This will give you two point to bear in mind.  If you don't practice this shot, swinging with a wide open club face often results in you hitting the ball with the hosel or the neck of the club, driving it deep into the bunker face.  When you start practicing it, try addressing the ball more off the toe of your sand wedge rather than the center of the club face.  Remember also, your ultra open stance and club face will put a lot of cut, or slice, spin on the ball.  On a level green, it will spin to the right o landing; something to think about when you're picking your target spot. 

As I continue writing about the Golf Sand Shots, I will cover the High Shot without Spin next.

Until next time, while in the sand keep your tempo smooth........

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