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  • Bunker tips

    in case anyone is having problems with bunkers, here's my two cents:
    I like a lob wedge for greenside bunkers, 60* loft, high bounce. Before I get into the bunker, I like to fan open the blade with my left hand, get to an open address position with ball either at left instep or further forward for higher shots that will stop quicker, then dig those feet in.
    I will usually pick a spot 2-4" behind the ball, a speck of sand or some irregularity, and focus on that spot. I tend to have an early wrist hinge which hinges the club almost straight up while using a moderate amount of left knee flex. I don't like much leg movement for bunker shots, it's mostly arms and shoulders for me.
    I just take a 1/2 or 3/4 backswing depending on the distance to the pin and just drop the club down on my spot behind the ball while continuing on through the shot. The sound I am looking for is a "splat/chunk" kind of sound meaning that the flange(bounce) on the back of the lob wedge has slid through the sand and allowed the sand to carry the ball onto the green.
    For fairway bunkers, very different technique. Choke up on club, take at least one or two more clubs than usual for the distance to the green, don't open the face, don't dig feet in the sand, no lower body movement at all, stay centered over the ball while taking a full swing while focusing on the back of the ball. I like ball position to be back towards center more for fairway bunker shots depending. On downswing, I just drop the club down on the back of the ball and try to take no sand if possible.
    Hope these tips help.

  • #2
    Re: Bunker tips

    I also use a 60 deg wedge from most greenside bunkers, mine has around 10 deg of bounce. Unless I am looking for a high short shot I line up the face square to target. I have the ball froward in my stance and lean most of my weight into my front leg keeping the club shaft very up and down with no forward lean, this allows me to control the exact loft into the ball. I take the club back with an early wrist break then swing down behind the ball while holding onto the hinge into the shot (releasing and turning the clubface over is not good with a bunker shot as it delofts the clubface and creates inconsistency) I aim to hit the sand anywhere between the back of the ball to around 3 inches behind depending on how far I want it to fly (the closer the further it will fly) if I want it to roll out more I play the ball further back in my stance and if I want more carry distance I swing faster.

    It is important to swing with a steady tempo and accelerate the clubface through the shot so that you finish with your hands at least shoulder height, a short and slowing swing will fluff the shot. Make sure your wrists have not turned over and the clubface stays pointing to the sky through the shot.

    If your stance is down or uphill in the sand then align yourself with the slope otherwise you will take too much or not enough sand.
    Last edited by BrianW; 03-28-2011, 09:58 PM.

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    • #3
      Thanks

      Great advice as always guys. Some really good bunker tips here. For me the most important parts were about keeping most of the weight on the front foot. Secondly about keeping the club face open through impact right through to the finish.

      Cheers

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      • #4
        Re: Thanks

        I knew a guy who knew a guy who knew Gary Player and played many rounds with him. Gary gave him tips on bunker play which he gave to my friend who gave them to me. Not from the horses mouth and probably from the other end but anyway they work for me, especially, open face and hitting 2-3"behind ball.

        Originally posted by KrudlerAce View Post
        Great advice as always guys. Some really good bunker tips here. For me the most important parts were about keeping most of the weight on the front foot. Secondly about keeping the club face open through impact right through to the finish.

        Cheers

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        • #5
          Re: Bunker tips

          Good tips, but why does my club continuously dig in to the sand a foot or more before the ball? I play ball forward, open clubface then grip, open stance, swing a bit outside target line to inside. Someone said I need more wrist hinge. Thanks for any help!

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          • #6
            Re: Bunker tips

            ANY TIME you're hitting behind the ball (further behind than you intend) whether it be in the bunker or on a perfect fairway lie, the first and most likely cause is being stuck on your back foot. If you shift the weight on the back swing, even just a little, you have to return it to the front foot or you will hit behind the ball.

            In your case, you may be shifting back and staying there. You are coming in steep and too far back. Either shift back to the front foot, which will get you back to the ball, and shallow out the club to engage the bounce OR stay more centered during the entire swing and not shift back and forth. JMO.

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            • #7
              Re: Bunker tips

              Always very appreciative for the advice on this site. I have mentally tried to keep my weight on that forward foot. I have also made a mental note to keep my nose on the ball. I'll have limited success, but the result is usually the same; hitting too far behind ball and either skulling it or leaving it in bunker. Is there a good drill to help me know what this should feel like? I was thinking of putting all weight on forward foot and using back foot only for balance to see what happens. Think that would be worth trying?

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              • #8
                Re: Bunker tips

                Originally posted by mferraguti View Post
                Always very appreciative for the advice on this site. I have mentally tried to keep my weight on that forward foot. I have also made a mental note to keep my nose on the ball. I'll have limited success, but the result is usually the same; hitting too far behind ball and either skulling it or leaving it in bunker. Is there a good drill to help me know what this should feel like? I was thinking of putting all weight on forward foot and using back foot only for balance to see what happens. Think that would be worth trying?
                It is a natural instinct to try and lift the ball into the air by scooping it up with the weight on the back foot, this is what leads to hitting too far behind and thinning the ball. Try this drill in a practice bunker:

                Rake the bunker then draw two parallell lines along the bunker around three inches apart (I just drag the toe of a club through the sand to make the lines) With no ball make practice swings so that the divot in the sand enters at the back line and exits at the front line. If you are hitting too far back or forward just alter your weight and feet position untill you can do it repeatedly. Now rake the bunker, redraw the lines and place a line of balls down the centre of the two lines about a foot apart. Hit the divots again exactly as before so that the ball flies out with the sand. If it starts to go wrong then try again with the lines and no ball then again with a ball.

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                • #9
                  Re: Bunker tips

                  If I keep hitting way behind ball, should I alter the ball position or always keep in forward?

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                  • #10
                    Re: Bunker tips

                    Originally posted by mferraguti View Post
                    If I keep hitting way behind ball, should I alter the ball position or always keep in forward?
                    Just try the drill I suggested, you will work out how to take the correct divot.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Bunker tips

                      I too struggled with hitting too far behind the ball or striking the ball thin in bunkers. Drawing lines did not help me much but then I came across a tip that really worked for me. The drill was to place a tee right down in the sand under the ball and then focus on hitting the tee out from under the ball. I tried this a few times and it greatly improved my bunker play. This way you are focusing on the ball and not some point behind the ball. I find adjusting the depth of the swing to hit an imaginary tee under the ball easier to accomplish than hitting a point behind the ball.

                      Now I always use a mental image of a tee under the ball in bunkers and rather than attempt to strike the sand at some point behind the ball I try to hit the imaginary tee from under the ball.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Bunker tips

                        I like to only be concerned with the divot and ignore the ball. When you can make the correct divot repeatably then the ball will come out.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Bunker tips

                          More great advice 'srglassw' and 'Brian'.

                          Thanks guys

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                          • #14
                            Re: Bunker tips

                            the only thing I would add is if you are to err on over swinging versus gettign too cute, I would recommend the former. The aim is to get it OUT of the bunker. I took lost 4 shots this weekend from poor bunker play, and that was my take away reminder for myself!

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