Rule No. 1 in the Sand

Get it right, and you’ll hit per­fect bunker shots

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Play Your Best Butch Harmon -

very­body says amateurs can’t get out of green­side bunkers be­cause they’re crushed by fear.Well, that’s part of it, but the big­ger thing is, they set up in a way that makes it al­most im­pos­si­ble to hit a good shot.They get bad re­sults, so the fear de­vel­ops, but the root cause is a poor setup.

A lot of golfers treat bunker shots like pitch or chip shots. They set up with the ball in the mid­dle of the stance and push their hands ahead so the shaft is lean­ing to­wards the tar­get.That’s fine if you want to hit the ball first, but in a green­side bunker you want to hit the sand first. With the ball mid­dle, you catch it clean and skull it, or you try to shift back dur­ing the swing to get the club in the sand be­hind

Ethe ball.That’s hard to do. If you go back too far, you hit it on the up­swing – an­other way to skull it. To set up prop­erly, play the ball for­ward – op­po­site your front in­step (be­low, left). Also, open the club­face be­fore you take your grip.That will ex­pose the bounce fea­ture on the bot­tom of your sand wedge, which helps the club slide through the sand.With the ball for­ward, you can make your nor­mal swing and en­ter the sand two to three inches be­hind it, the club­head pass­ing your hands through im­pact (be­low, right). That will hap­pen nat­u­rally if you set up cor­rectly, which is the best thing you can do to help your bunker game. Butch Har­mon

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