Advise please on getting out of bunkers, and controlling the distance?
The first thing is of course to get out and on the green, then when that happens consistantly you can work on the distance or position.
By and large all you need to do is open your stance to the pin, lay the clubface open slightly, take the backswing up ubruptly and sweep through the ball hitting about 1 inch behind the ball. This allows you to make a slight reverse pancake in the sand.
The clubhead never touches the ball, the sand gets between the clubhead and the ball. Swing with a smooth tempo and dont try to hit to hard.
Confidence is the key to bunker shots much like putting. They both are very short easy shots with little swing action so confidence and feeling good over them is key.
if you have at least ten feet of green to work with this works the best keep your stance square face square lean weight on left side of your body. choke down a little and swing down hard and through depending on you lie and the sand the ball will come out medium trajectory with spin most of the time with practice you can make it run out and control distance. if the lip is very high then play it traditional open club face open stance just make sure weight is on left foot and you swing down hard and through.
open the club face towards where you want the ball to land( open the clubface with your left hand, because if you open with both hands the head will go back to the original position)
weight on left leg( if right hander)
sqaure your feet like you going to hit a fade( square your feet 2 metres left of the target)
hinge your rists early and keep your head still, swing 3/4 of your usaul backswing.
on your down swing take a slight dip in your right leg about 1/4 of an inch, you should make contact with the sand at about 1 inch behind the ball,
make sure you keep a balanced follow through.
P.s If you in a fairway bunker use different sticks with different lofts in stead of munipilating the club of your sand wedge closed to get more distance, try and use a pitching wedge with an open face and swing through with good tempo and dont try and muscle the ball.
1. Open Clubface
2. Open Stance
3. Getting Underneat the Ball
Open that clubface up. Not slightly open that baby up! The biggest issue with novice golfers when getting out of the sand is not opening the face. They constantly dig their clubs into the sand. If the clubface is open enough the club literally can't dig in or get stuck into the sand! Go out in your yard right now and open up the clubface of your SW big time and see if you can duff that baby into the ground using a golf swing. You can't!
Now because the face is so open you need to open your stance. The reason you need to open your stance is because the ball is going to have a different trajectory due to the position of the clubface. By opening your stance we simply mean to line up your feet a good bit left of the target if you use right handed clubs (a lefty would aim further right of the target).
The next thing you need to focus is getting under the ball. You want to "Scoop" the ball out of the sand. You don't want to hit the ball you want hit the sand behind the ball. Pick a spot about 1 1/2 to 2 inches behind the ball. Aim for that spot and hit that spot. You will scoop the ball up out of the sand nice and proper. Don't worry if you hit too far back or too far forward. Because so long as you get under the ball, and not hit the ball, then things will be fine. If you hit it fat and catch a lot of sand the ball won't spin much and roll further towards the target. If you catch it thing and you don't get a lot of sand, but still get the sand mind you, then the ball will have more backspin on it and roll less toward the target. Either way it's win win you just have to get underneath it.
If you are in a fairway bunker with a long shot to the green then try this;
Take 1 club extra (maybe even 2 - you will soon discover) and then once in the bunker don't dig your feet in to much, but you do want to be solid, sinking during the swing could result in big puff of sand which you don't want. Have the ball maybe an inch further forward in your stance and grip further down the club.
All this will help in striking the ball clean, nip it from the surface, or even striking a slightly thin shot that will ensure you acheive distance towards the target.
The thought process during the swing should be all about getting through the ball ensuring a full follow through has been acheived and that you dont want any sand contact.
If the bunker has alarge lip it maybe a good idea to just take a more lofted club and get as close as you can for your next shot. Don't go straight for that Sand Iron, give your other clubs a go.
Also remember that not all bunkers and courses have the same type of sand (that goes for green side bunkers too). Compact sand fairway bunkers are much easier to play from as you you can keep a good stance during the swing.
I recomend finding a driving range with bunker facilities for long and short game. Highly unlikely it will have the same sand as your course but if it is a good range they may have some different types of sand to practice from and bunkers with slopes. This will help when you go to other courses. After all you don't want to only be able to get out of your local bunkers and then have that Hamlet moment at another course.
I always make sure, no mater what type of bunker, that you complete the follow through and never quit on it, even if you air mail the green! I know you would rather be there than still in the bunker!
Good Luck! Happy swinging ;-)
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