Turn it Over

Mas­ter the long green­side bunker shot

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

“Let the hands roll to get the ball to the hole.”

You might get this shot only once or twice a round, but know­ing how to get up and down from a bunker on the other side of the green can re­ally help you score. When I won the Mas­ters in 1981, I faced a long green­side bunker shot – about 80 or 90 feet – on the 17th hole on Sun­day.The flag was all the way on the back of the green, and I was in a front bunker rest­ing on the up­s­lope. For­tu­nately, I caught it just right, hit it pin high about five feet from the cup and saved par to win my sec­ond green jacket.

How did I play the shot? I changed my tech­nique from a nor­mal green­side bunker sce­nario start­ing with align­ing my shoul­ders more with the slope (left shoul­der higher, right shoul­der lower) and kick­ing in my right knee to­wards the ball at ad­dress to keep from sway­ing. When I swung, I let my hands re­lease, or turn over, through im­pact.The rea­son for this dif­fer­ent shoul­der align­ment is to keep from stick­ing the club into the bunker at im­pact, so you can cut a shal­low swath of sand out from un­der the ball as you would do from a level lie. In­stead of hold­ing the club­face open and skim­ming through the sand, I let my hands turn over as the club passes through im­pact. Ro­tat­ing them coun­ter­clock­wise closes the club­face and helps pro­ject the ball out with some force. The key here is don’t dig too deep into the sand. Make a nice, shal­low divot that starts be­hind the ball’s po­si­tion.The ball will vault out of the bunker and then roll to­wards the hole.

PHOTO BY JD CUBAN

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