The look of horror on your face as you reach for the sand wedge, the thoughts of leaving it in results in a tentative short stabbing motion and the ball is knifed, just over the lip of the bunker, zooming across the green and 10 yards over the back, Phew !!!! At least it’s out. Sound familiar, if so just follow my step by step guide to improve your play from greenside bunkers.
First of all you need to take a fairly wide square stance (just over shoulder width apart) with the ball positioned just forward of centre and wriggle your feet into the sand (position 1), this is to get a feel for the sand in the bunker and also to lower your base helping you drive through the sand and under the ball.
Now you need to open the club face slightly and put 60% of your weight on your left side, keeping it there throughout the shot, see how my hands level with the ball rather than in front of it (position 2), this will make it easier to keep the sole of the club as the first point of contact with the sand.
Your swing is going to be fairly narrow with an early wrist cock setting the club (position 3) with the club reaching the top of the backswing for this shot in what I call the loaded or ‘L’ position (position 4).
In the downswing, I want you to release the club head early with the right hand (position 5), it will feel like you throw the club head into the sand about 1 inch behind the ball with the sole of the club slapping into the sand (position 6). This way your hands are still level with the ball, just like they were at address. The ball splashes out of the bunker on a cushion of sand (postion 7).
To ensure your commitment to the shot try to get the club finishing at least in a mirror image of the backswing, a reverse ‘L’ or a little further (position 8). Follow it, trust it and you’ll never fear the bunker again.
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