Es­cape the bunker in one

Isis Town and Country - - Sport - By PAUL MCCAR­RAGHER

THE sand trap, camel grass, the beach, the pit, the bunker and many other names have been given to that one thing that sends shiv­ers down the spines of most week­end play­ers as they watch their ball come to rest in a patch of sand that spells dis­as­ter for many.

The ini­tial thought is “oh no, not again” as mem­o­ries flood back of the three or four strokes taken last time you landed in a trap, as is the case when most week­end play­ers are faced with this sit­u­a­tion.

But there are ways to get out in one with­out re­sort­ing to swear­ing and curs­ing the day you were born and the foul in­di­vid­ual who put the trap there in the first place.

Many a player has found him or her­self in a bunker and tried to get out with­out know­ing the ba­sics, only to find the ball moves a few inches or ca­reens off into the dis­tance to land in a bunker on the other side of the green, adding to the frus­tra­tion and angst.

Once the ball is in a trap we know we are not able to move any loose im­ped­i­ments around the ball, we are not al­lowed to ground our club and the list goes on.

The stance is all im­por­tant and looks and feels slightly ridicu­lous as you take your left foot back un­til it feels funny to you – this is for a right han­der, the re­verse foot for left han­ders.

Then wrig­gle your feet un­til they are firm on the ground, even if it means dig­ging them in a couple of inches.

Po­si­tion the ball for­ward in your stance to­wards your left heel. Open the face of the club un­til it al­most looks to the sky. Not only is this un­com­fort­able but looks that way as well and is con­trary to most golf shots you will make.

When you swing make sure you con­tact the sand about one credit card length be­hind the ball and swing about 75–80% of your nor­mal swing speed, go­ing un­der the ball and throw­ing a divot of sand onto the green or fair­way.

Don’t try to dig the club into the sand but bounce it off the sand. Most am­a­teurs swing the club into the sand and when they feel the re­sis­tance they quit on the shot, so make sure you have a com­plete fol­low through and you turn your body dur­ing the shot so at the end your chest is fac­ing the tar­get.

Don’t worry about try­ing to hit the ball, the ob­ject is to throw sand up and for­ward and the ball will be pro­pelled along with the sand.

Also don’t worry about the dis­tance the ball needs to go at the be­gin­ning, just con­cen­trate on get­ting the ball out of the bunker in one and the rest will take care of it­self.

On com­ple­tion of the shot and tak­ing a bow at get­ting the ball out in one, be sure to rake the bunker back to its orig­i­nal state, in­clud­ing all foot marks, so the next player who falls into the trap will have a de­cent sur­face to play off.

This is my last ar­ti­cle for this year and I wish all my read­ers good golf­ing and a very merry Christ­mas and happy new year.

The stance is all im­por­tant and looks and feels slightly ridicu­lous.

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