Ball position is important in the bunker. Most people who struggle in the sand will likely have the wrong ball position, which can lead to a number of problems.
But, for me, the biggest thing about good, positive bunker play is the takeaway. Too many amateurs will take the club back very low, keeping the clubhead low to the sand like you would a pitch shot.
However, in the bunker you are trying to create a steeper angle back into the ball. To get that, you’re going to have to hinge your right wrist.
If you can do that early in the backswing, you’re going to get a steeper angle of attack into the golf ball. When you’re steep, you’re going to take more sand and, effectively, get the ball out of the bunker a lot easier.
Tour players often prefer to be in the sand. They always get their basics right and that means they can control the amount of spin they get a lot easier from the sand than from the side of the green.
The amount of spin you want, or how high you want the ball to fly, depends on how early you hinge.
For example, if I wanted to hit a long bunker shot, I maybe wouldn’t hinge as early in my takeaway. But if I’m at a greenside bunker, I’ll start my wrist hinge straight away in the backswing.
Try playing on your own
Playing golf on your own is sometimes a great way to think about what you’re doing.
You maybe don’t have the added distraction of your pals, you’re not involved in a game, and you’re maybe more relaxed. You might commit more to a shot than if you were playing in a medal round.
Being on your own gives you time to work on certain aspects of your game. It’s a relaxed situation to be in. You might try and play shots you’ve seen on TV, allowing you to be a bit more creative. That means you’re testing yourself.
I think it’s a fun way to improve and get some worthwhile downtime. When you get the chance, more often than not, you’ll play better golf.
Andy Carlton is the Head PGA Professional at Paisley Golf Club. For lessons, call Andy on 0141 884 4114. Follow him on Twitter @PaisleyPro.