Photo & video by Joachim Guay
By Tom Ogilvie
Even the simplest of bunker shots evokes anxiety in most amateurs. The fear factor ratchets up further when you find your ball in a deep bunker and are faced with a high lip to clear with a pin cut tight to the trap. But a high escape from sand that lands soft isn’t as tough as we often make it. Simply follow these five basics and you be on your way to momentum saving sand saves.
Your stance should be much wider than your normal set up position with a focus on more flex in the knees to lower your centre of gravity. Keep your feet square to the target with your lead foot flared open. It’s also very important to have a little more pressure on your lead food; the weigh should never be on your back foot.
Using a higher lofted club such as your sand wedge or lob wedge, open your club face to promote a higher trajectory and a softer landing. It’s essential for a higher flight to maintain an open clubface through the shot.
Position the ball adjacent to your left heel. This allows you to have more time to slide the club under the ball with an open club face. Practice by drawing a line in the sand just inside your left heel to help you understand where the ball should be positioned.
You have to commit to bunker shots. Even though you’re trying to play a delicate shot, acceleration through the ball is key. I see many high handicap players hesitant to swing through bunker shots. Don’t hit at the ball, swing through it with speed with an out to in swing path.
Draw a line just behind the ball during your practice which will be your reference point for contact. This practice will give you good feedback on your strike. Stick to the basics and you’ll soon fear the sand no more.
Tom Ogilvie is a PGA teaching professional at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club’s Peter Cowen Academy Dubai. For more information, visit dubaigolf.com