WIN­NING SHOT #3

THE SOLID BUNKER SHOT

Golf Australia - - A GOLFING LIFE -

In club match play golf, so many holes are thrown away through poor bunker play. You don’t have to be bril­liant from sand to keep your­self in the hole; but if you can just get the ball out to a holeable dis­tance – say 10-12ft – you can keep the pres­sure on your op­po­nent.

When you work on your bunker tech­nique, start by low­er­ing your ex­pec­ta­tions. Fo­cus on get­ting com­pe­tent at a stan­dard length. Even one of the best, Phil Mick­el­son, tells us he only prac­tises 12-yard bunker shots, and that’s a great ex­am­ple. While you do this, work on a low-tari„ strike which in­volves more speed and more sand. This gives you a greater mar­gin for er­ror ... and more con­fi­dence that you can pull the shot o„.

HEAT OF THE BAT­TLE PAUL AZINGER, 2002

One-down to Ni­clas Fasth on the fi­nal day of Ry­der Cup sin­gles matches and bunkered on the Bel­fry’s 18th, Azinger’s race looked run. But then a mo­ment of bril­liance saw him hole out and leave the Swede hav­ing to hole a long putt for the win he must have thought was his. Not sur­pris­ingly in the cir­cum­stances, he missed.

NEED FOR SPEED

Elite golfers take a thin, shal­low sand divot that cre­ates spin and con­trol. If you are a weak bunker player, pulling o„ that strike can seem in­tim­i­dat­ing. Tak­ing a slightly deeper sand divot is more com­fort­able, but it does mean less en­ergy is trans­ferred from club to ball. Counter that by cre­at­ing more speed and hit­ting the sand a touch harder.

1. SET-UP: WIDEN YOUR STANCE

Even though we are go­ing to work on a tech­nique that means tak­ing more sand, we still need a shal­low base to the arc of the swing. Pro­mote that by widen­ing your stance. Stand square, and play the ball op­po­site your lead chest. Flare your lead foot to help lock your lead knee in po­si­tion.

2. BACK­SWING: FREE­DOM WITH STA­BIL­ITY

Be­fore you start the swing, check your grip pres­sure is light – no more than two or three out of 10. This helps your wrists to cock fully in the back­swing, im­por­tant for cre­at­ing that ex­tra speed. Avoid lat­eral move­ment by feel­ing your lead knee re­tains its po­si­tion on the way back.

3. STRIKE: HIT THE SAND WITH SPEED

Aim to strike the sand two or three inches be­hind the ball. Your ball po­si­tion and the U-shaped ac­tion you en­cour­aged at setup will stop you get­ting too steep, leav­ing you to fo­cus on cre­at­ing the speed that will get the club through the sand. Pic­tur­ing enough fire­power to send the sand onto the green is a good im­age to have.

4. EXIT: BUTT BRUSHES THIGH

Com­mit to mak­ing a full fin­ish; it helps gen­er­ate the speed you need to get the ball out. But within that, work to­wards a feel­ing swing­ing left through im­pact, the butt of the club al­most brush­ing the thigh as you swing through. This re­in­forces the feel­ing of your lead leg an­chor­ing the swing, and keeps loft on the club­face.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.