Tip #2 for Bunker Shots

How do I control my distance when I am in a bunker?

There are five ways to control distance in a bunker shot. Frequently a player will use a combination of two or more of what I have listed below to play a specialty shot from difficult sand positions.

1. Angle of approach - Use a steep angle for a short distance; use a shallow angle for longer distances. What I have described is how the club head descends onto the ball. The more outside the swing path is the steeper the angle and the shorter the ball will fly.

2. Club face blade position - Add loft by opening or laying back the face of the club on shorter distances, or reduce loft by closing or hooding the clubface for longer distances.

3. Back swing length and pace - A long back swing has potential for creating more power than a short back swing will and it will generally hit the ball farther. The pace, however, also affects that result. A player can use a long back swing and slow pace or a short back swing and faster pace and either swing could hit the ball farther. Pace and length of back swing must be blended.

4. Amount of sand - Shorter shots result from taking more sand by hitting farther behind the ball. Longer shots result by taking less sand. Keep in mind that taking less sand will make the ball go farther but it also puts more spin on the ball and will make the ball stop quicker.

5. Length of follow through — A short follow through is generally the result of reduced speed at impact. A long follow through usually means there is more speed and greater distance. Keep the back swing about the same as the follow through.

I’ve listed out the basic ways to control distance in your sand game; however, there are a variety of bunker shot styles out there that you could emulate, which produce effective results. Each one of you is an individual with a variety of skill and strength levels. You’ve got to make your way to a sand bunker and experiment with a technique that works for you.

Visualize yourself using the basic procedure and the motion and you will see that carryover to your sand shots. Gary Player says, “If I am one of the greats, it’s for one simple reason; no bunker shot has ever scared me and no one ever will. Approach every bunker shot with the feeling you are going to hole it.” I agree with Gary Player and when I walk into a bunker I see it, feel it, and hit it and move on to the next shot. You too can be a great bunker player; just believe it.

If you want to learn more contact me via email mhafe@aol.com or 904-233-0989.

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