Build a Better Golf Swing Series presents swing tips and drills to help you improve your game. In this installment, we take a look at how to hit a basic bunker shot.
Being successful out of the sand depends on three things: correct setup, proper technique and consistent point of entry. Sounds easy enough. Then why do most of us hate it when our ball lands in the sand? This month LPGA Teaching Professional and former tour player Kiernan Schindler helps us learn to love the sand and master the basics of the green side bunker shot.
“Many players bring a tremendous amount of fear with them into the bunker,” notes Schindler, LPGA Teaching Professional at Lake Presidential Golf Club located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. “As an instructor, I typically try to keep things very simple when it comes to any type of information I am giving regarding the swing. This is even more important when dealing with the sand trap,” says Schindler.
To become a better bunker player, Schindler tells her students that they first must set clear goals. “Make sure your goal is clear when you get in the bunker. If you are a new player, that goal may just be two simple words-get out!” Then as you become more accustomed and gain confidence, Schindler says that the goal can then become more specific, like where the ball needs to be placed on the green. Accuracy and the amount of roll from the bunker can be obtained with more experience.
Here Schindler demonstrates and explains her three key fundamentals of executing a bunker shot including the proper set up, correct delivery of club into the sand and turning through the ball to ensure that there is no deceleration of the club head at impact.
Ball position is for ward (off of lead foot).
Weight is forward and feet are stable in sand (dig feet in for more stability.)
Open his to the target by moving your lead foot farther away from the ball.
Open club face at address to assure higher ball flight.
Focus your vision 2 inches behind ball.
Takeaway for a sand shot is steeper than most other shots.
Maintain hips and head steady as you swing the club back.
Shoulders and hips begin to turn toward target on the downswing while club face remains open.
Speed remains constant throughout the swing.
Keep club face open as you strike the sand (2 inches behind ball).
The club should continue moving through the sand without slowing down. Don’t stop your swing at impact.
Club face should remain open or facing the sky as you follow-through.
Finish with your shoulders completely facing the target.