Bunker Compensations

Had a student ask for tips on various bunker conditions… here are my responses:

On an Uphill bunker shot you want to pre-set your weight up the hill into the front leg playing the ball on that foot. Your center is up the hill across from that foot. You do NOT want to open the face in that the slope is already adding loft. If it is a short shot choke down. Use your front shoulder to push straight back, then the hips unwind to rotate to face the target. Let your body rotation impact the sand an inch behind the ball and keep turning. The faster you rotate through impact the farther or higher the ball goes… or your can push back farther and rotate completely at a slower pace for a “drop out of the sky” kind of effect.

On Downhill bunker shot (toughest shot in golf), you want to open up the face and your stance so you can swing across the slope. This gives the path a more level environment vs. a path following the down slope (too hard to get the ball up and stop with a path down the slope). Stopping the ball on a downhill bunker shot is usually the tough thing. You must also commit to this shot to pull it off, you can’t quit on it. Needs practice to build confidence

The buried lie you want to first create what they call a Dig Sole, which is closing the face or hooding the face a bit. What this does is to remove some of the built in bounce in the SW, so the club can now penetrate much easier down through the sand and pull out your buried lie. You must use your body rotation and mass to keep turning to use the sand to bring the ball up and out. The ball will roll more and you must compensate for it.

Controlling distance depends on how deep the ball sits in the sand and how much sand you need to go through to move the ball. This just takes practicing various scenarios of bunker shots to gain experience and confidence. The big key… use your body rotation to execute all these shots. Old golf instruction says to use your hands and arms to hit through the sand, but Old Style is not nearly as reliable as using your body turn… Ross