Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bunker Tips - Learn to love the beach!

If you are like most amateur golfers, your reaction is one of disgust when your ball lands in a green side bunker.  Day after day I will look out and see countless golfers hacking away in sand traps, desperately trying to get the ball airborne and out of the trap.  Yet on the PGA Tour, most pros will tell you that they would prefer to be in a bunker then the long rough that surrounds most greens.  The problem is that most golfers do not know how to set up properly and seldom (if ever) practice bunker shots.  Here are some quick tips to help you become a better bunker player and improve your overall score. 

1.      Use a Sand Wedge!  This may sound like common sense, but many golfers will try to use a pitching wedge because they don’t have a sand wedge.  If you don’t have one, get one! 

2.      Open the club face and open your stance, with the club face aligned with the target.   

3.       Get a good solid stance by digging your feet several inches into the sand and use a shoulder width stance. 

4.       Place 60% of your weight on the left leg and leave it there throughout the swing. 

5.       The rules of golf prohibit grounding your club in the bunker (the bunker is a hazard) so address the ball with the club head slightly above the sand, about two inches behind the ball. 

6.       Play the ball off the left foot, forward of center.  Remember, the goal is to hit the sand, not the ball. 

7.       When playing your shot, hit the sand about 1-2 inches behind the ball.  It is imperative to keep your left arm straight throughout the shot and control it by rotating the body, not the arms, through the shot.  *** Focus your eyes at the spot 1-2 inches behind the ball.  The worst mistake you can make is to hit the ball first, instead of the sand. 


Once you understand the basics and practice a little, bunker shots should not be feared – they’re a blast!

Matt Jarvis
General Manager
Poolesville Golf Course

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