I just gave another “Bunker Lesson” today. I could almost feel the tension rise as my client stepped into what they called “the TRAP”. I mentioned the first golfer who coined the word TRAP for BUNKER wasn’t very good at that aspect of the game.
Bunker play definitely has some technique; no question. Good bunker play, as in any aspect of the game is proper mindset also. Bunker practice is usually an afterthought. Seldom practiced; usually as a 911 emergency rather than 411 information.
Here are some principles and ways to practice to improve “bunker play.”
Observe the young , handsome man in Photo 1! Wide stance, far from the golf ball, low hands, ball forward, weight left, dig feet in sand. This set up is very important! Wide stance = solid base. Hands low uses the voice on the back/bottom of the club. Weight left to hit down and thru the sand to propel the ball out of the sand.
Here is another nonnegotiable! Most golfers need to open the club face at address to use the bounce of the club. Splash the sand with the bottom/bounce not the leading edge of the club face. Check Photo 2. Imagine a square around your ball. With you weight feeling well left at address and staying there throughout the swing; take out all the sand in the square with the bounce of your wedge. This image is very helpful.
Every bunker shot you take the same amount of sand and same point entering the sand. You speed of rotation determines how far it goes. We know the club never strikes the ball. Taking out the square propels the ball out.
Here is a great drill! See photo 2. Place a 2-by-4 level with the sand. Practice striking the board with the bounce. Next put sand on the board and strike the board and splash the sand. Finally, place a ball on the board with sand. Strike the board,;splashing the sand; watch the ball come out softly!
Come out to amazing Semiahmoo and see me on the lesson tee!
Jeff Coston is a member of the Pacific Northwest Section PGA Hall of Fame. He is a 21 time Section Player of the Year. Jeff can be reached for appointment at 360 201 4590.