There are few things worse in golf than contemplating your next shot knowing that you’re going to be walking up to a ball that’s stuck in a greenside bunker.
But it doesn’t have to be so tough. Here are three things that can help you enormously when you’re in the sand.
1. Getting set up
At set-up, impact and follow-through, your weight should all favour the left side.
As soon as you get into set-up position, you should be placing 60% of weight onto your left knee.
You should be placing 60% of weight onto your left knee
By doing that, you create a more downward strike onto the ball because your weight is already going towards the target. Also, doing that helps you hit more sand, which gets the ball to pop up out of the hazard.
In practice, I’ll maybe press my left hand onto the left knee and press more onto my pressure onto my toes so that my weight is fixed and my weight is going to remain there.
2. Taking it back
On the way back you want to maintain your weight on your left knee. Don’t start with the weight on your left knee then move off it like you would in a normal shot. There’s no need to shift weight with this shot.
Try and maintain the weight on the left knee and hinge your right wrist early on the backswing so you can create a steeper backswing, which will allow you to come into the back of the ball and hit more sand.
My head is not moving at all and my lower half is staying very quiet
You can see my head is not moving at all and my lower half is staying very quiet. There’s not much going on there. With your backswing, it’s not so much a turn - it’s more of an arms-enhanced swing.
You’re not trying to create a huge amount of distance, you’re just trying to get the ball out of the hazard. It’s more of an arms and wrist hinge as opposed to a full upper body turn.
3. Keep it stable
Through impact, my head is very stable through the ball and you can see I’ve taken plenty of sand. That’s a key for me when it comes to beating bunkers. Keep a stable base but don’t be afraid to take sand during the strike.
Try and stay over on top of the ball and keep a solid base, with as little leg movement as possible. All that should be happening is your club coming into the back of the ball, take lots of sand, and your weight is moving towards the target.
If you decelerate, you’ll leave the ball in the sand
The one thing you’ve got to do in the bunker is accelerate into the ball. If you decelerate, you’ll leave the ball in the sand. That’s not showing commitment. Keep a solid movement through the entire swing and don’t quit on it.
Andy Carlton is the Head PGA professional at Paisley Golf Club. For lessons, call Andy on 0141 884 4114. Follow him on Twitter @PaisleyPro.