A five minute bunker lesson with Matt
Bunker play requires a sound understanding of the technique involved. From here the standard green-side bunker shot becomes straight forward.
The key concepts are:
1. Ball forward in stance – because you are not striking the ball but rather the sand first. (the opposite of the chip shot)
2. Open club face – the sand iron is designed to skid along the sand and push the ball out. When the club face is open the sole of the club glides perfectly, when it is closed it digs in too deeply making the shots erratic.
With these ideas in mind here’s what our 5 minute entailed:
Step 1: Draw a long line in the sand perpendicular to the target line. This line is to represent the ball position (i.e. have your front heel positioned on the line). Now draw a parallel line behind the first line (towards your mid line). This line represents the contact point in the sand. This line is usually about 2 – 3 inches behind the original line.
Step 2: Open the club face. It helps if you open the club face first and then re-grip the club. A good guide is to make sure the groove lines on the club face point outside of your left foot. You’ll need to play around with this a little – adjust the club face to suit the length of shot.
Step 3: Make some swings in the sand with the objective of hitting the line (the one closest to your mid line) and keeping the club face open throughout. You should take a shallow divot (because of the open club face stops the club digging deeply into the sand). When you get comfortable you can place a ball on the front foot line and repeat.
The ball should pop out every time. If you hit a poor shot you will be able to see where the club struck the sand. It’s then easy to make adjustments and move on.
You don’t need to worry about swinging in a certain way (like out to in) or doing anything that weird. By having the ball forward with an open club face is enough to get the ball out of the sand each time.
Matt’s technique was pretty good. Like a lot of golfers he had the ball too far back. His first three shots were perfect, but he then bladed the fourth shot across the green into big trouble. By moving the ball forward he will be able to eradicate that shot and start playing bunker shots more consistently and with confidence.
The simple objective of ball forward and open club face is all that is needed. One reason why my bunker lesson never needs to go for more than 5 minutes.
Give it a go and let me know what you think.
And one more thing. Once you master the basic shot you can experiment with different clubs, swing speeds and power. But make sure you understand the basic concept first.