Stop pulling the club through with your left side! Sand shots from the bunker can be a dreaded event, unless you have a pre-determined plan on what kind of shot your attempting to execute. Just walking into a fairway bunker or green side sand trap, needs a plan you can commit to with confidence, knowing it will work first time every time.
A pre-shot routine is of course your first order of business, so you’ll be knowledgeable as to how and where you want the ball to land on the green and whether you choose to stop it at a certain distance or continue to roll more distance.
Your setup is going to be the same for both as well as the swing. However, there are two ways to get the ball to respond the way you choose. First is to hit the bunt and the second is to hit the hook lob. Let’s practice the shot outside the sand trap first to get a feel on likeness as to the stance you’ll be using in the actual sand trap.
This particular tip is for greenside shots out of the sand, using the one hand method vs. the regular left side full swing from a fairway bunker. You should maintain 75% of your weight on your forward foot and maintaining the center of your chest just behind the ball. That center represents the bottom of your swing so don’t change that position. Most of your initial swing consists of the right hand hinging back in the take away, with the left hand along for the ride. You’ll always have two hands on the club, but the dominant hand controls 80% of the swing.
The acceleration through impact comes from using your dominant side. If you don’t accelerate while using your dominate hand, you’re essentially trying to pull the club head through the sand with the weaker side and that’s why you’re hitting fat shots behind the ball. Your dominant hand provides the speed to get under and past the ball which forces the sand to explode upward, forcing the ball up and out onto the green. To stop the ball near the hole, it’s critical to open the leading edge of your club by about 50%. This creates the backspin you need to stop the ball upon landing. This is similar to the bunt play in baseball.
Remember to keep the right elbow close to your body.
The opposite shot calls for the same setup, but allowing the toe of the club to turn over naturally as you swing through the shot. As you throw the club through impact under the ball, you allow the trailing wrist to slightly pronate or roll left towards the target. This shot will stay lower and run, so if you need extra distance it’s a good shot to use, providing you’re not faced with a high lip on the bunkers perimeter… I also use this maneuver in deep rough around or close to the green. Too much force will sent it out and off the green, so take it easy on this one and add it to your practice sessions.
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