Soft Spinning Green Side Bunker Shots
Some shots are more important for your score than others. For example, a short putt has the value of exactly one stroke, but a shot from a green side bunker, I feel has a greater value in that a good shot may help you save a par while a poor one can add two, three, or four strokes to your score. With this in mind, it would pay dividends for all golfers to become competent out of the bunker. Producing reasonably good bunker shots with consistency, is the by- product of both a technique that allows the club to react with the sand properly and a little practice.
Proper technique in the bunker begins and ends with how your sand wedge is designed. Imagine your sand wedge behaving the same way a sharp knife does. You have both a sharp leading edge designed to cut or "dig" and the side of the knife that is flat and dull ("the bounce"). In the green side bunker you almost always want the dull side of the club to interact with the sand and not the sharp leading edge. You accomplish this by rotating the toe of the club open in the back swing and letting the club head release past your hands at the bottom of your swing. The back of the club will contact the sand first (bounce) creating a splash of sand on which the ball rides as it is carried out of the bunker. The interesting thing is that if you produce this motion correctly and the club head enters the sand about two inches behind the ball (practice) with sufficient speed (confidence) the ball will likely come out fairly high and with enough back spin to make to stop. This high soft flight makes it somewhat easy for accomplished players to get the ball to stop close to the pin with regularity. When the professionals hit bunker shots, most of them don’t actually look at the ball, but rather at a spot in the sand where they want the club to enter and they aren’t really swinging at the ball but through it. Give it a try in our new short game practice area. If you have difficulty executing, as always feel free to contact The Academy Staff for help. – Best of luck! - James