Golf

This 1 issue is killing your greenside bunker shots, says top teacher

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When you find yourself in a greenside bunker, one outcome that many amateurs fear is overhitting their shot. But when you’re afraid to hit the sand with the right swing speed, you actually risk not making the proper contact to even get out of the bunker.
This is where understanding the proper setup and technique is so important, ensuring that you make solid contact that accomplishes at least one thing: Getting out of the sand.
So remember to dig your feet in, keep your weight forward, open the clubface, and take the appropriate angle of attack depending on the lie and the depth of the bunker you’re in.
Assuming you have those fundamentals down pat, now all you need to do is swing with the right speed — something that GOLF Top 100 Teacher Trillium Rose explains in the video above.
As mentioned above, what makes a greenside bunker so daunting is that the margin of error is so slim. It’s easy to mishit a shot like this and completely sail the green, but it’s also common to get the leading edge too steep, which will just dig into the ground and cause a chunked shot.
Using the bounce and spraying some sand is the name of the game, and Rose says that this is executed by gauging your swing speed.
“When you’re in a greenside bunker, the issue is swinging fast enough to get out,” says Rose.
So instead of fearing that you’ll hit a greenside bunker shot too hard, Rose says you must adjust your mindset, understanding that this shot requires more speed.
“You could be 30 yards or 20 yards away from the flag, but in a good bunker shot, the club’s going to get through the sand and the sand is going to slow the club way down,” she adds. “So you need much more speed than you would if you were in grass.”
Unlike when you’re hitting from grass, the sand will allow your club to glide through it much easier. And since it’s going to slow the clubhead down significantly, Rose suggests increasing your swing speed by about double the distance you actually have.
“Imagine if you’re 30 yards [away], you’ll have to swing like you’re 60 yards away. Splashing the sand is going to slow the club down, so don’t worry about [hitting it too hard], it’ll be perfect.”
With the proper setup and game plan, you can adjust your swing speed accordingly to master these tricky greenside bunker shots. So don’t be afraid to hit the sand with some force in order to spray both it and your ball, out of the trap.

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