Golf Bunkers Can Be Your Friends

By: Norman Stanley

Believe it or not the greenside bunker can be your friend.Faced with a green surrounded by water or thick rough many pros will be happy to land in the sand trap rather than face a wet ball or three inch rough.

Most amateur golfers will curse as their ball drops into the sandy stuff but with a little practice the bunker shot is not a hard one, much easier say, than a lob shot.

First consider your stance. A firm foundation is important as there is little or no lower body movement in the bunker shot. Wriggle your feet into the sand. This firms up your footing and gives you a bit of information about the sand. By digging in you will also lower your stance which can help you avoid sculling the ball.

Your set up should be open to the target with feet, hips and shoulders lined up left of your target. The club face needs to be open to help create loft, the degree of openess relates directly to the height of the trajectory, that is, the more you open the club face the higher the ball will fly. Caution is needed as a higher flying ball will not travel forward as far.

A fairly firm grip is required to stop the club twisting on impact with the sand but the wrists need to stay soft to allow them to cock fully. This is the main fault most golfers exhibit when playing a bunker shot and you need to take note of this as the tendency is to grip harder and tense the wrists. Practice softening the wrists whilst maintaining a firm grip with the fingers.

The swing should be made with the arms and cocking the wrists to achieve a full swing which needs to be smooth and rythmical. Accelerate through the ball to a high finish. Be confident as anything less than full commitment will result in the ball landing back in the bunker.

Two thoughts to take into any bunker are these; At set up, imagine an 'X' in the sand, one axis is the line of your feet,hips etc. and the other axis is your club face with the ball at the intersection. The ball will fly out on an angle which bisects the two.

The second thought is imagine the ball is the yolk of a fried egg and you are going to slice the egg off the sand so your club will enter the sand ahead off the ball and cause the sand wave which will propel the ball out.

Practice these tips and bunkers will hold no fear for you and you might even get to friends with them

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