By PGA Professional Michael Bolt, Trump International golf club, DUBAI
Amateur golfers often over-complicate the greenside bunker shot, concentrating heavily on technique, which frequently results in a flustered and unsuccessful attempt to get the ball onto the green.
When discussing bunker play with my clients we start with the set-up and overall approach prior to the golf shot. Far too many players position themselves over the ball with no direction or routine, with alignment and the set-up varying from shot to shot. This has a domino effect resulting in the player’s impact position and strike pattern becoming inconsistent and compromised.
Below: I demonstrate a simple drill that will help you adjust alignment, ball position and the amount of loft presented during impact, whilst gaining a level of consistency with your bunker shot routine.
For this article I have used a hoop, but this can be easily replicated by drawing a circle in the sand when practicing. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org to improve your game.
Initially take your stance aiming parallel to the target with the club square and aiming at the flag.
By adding this loft the clubface will now be aiming along way right of target. Shuffle around the hoop (circle) until the clubface is aiming toward the target. By changing your alignment in this way the ball position will not be compromised as it usually would have been by ‘guessing’ on the clubface and feet alignment. This set-up method will also improve strike quality by giving the player the tools to manipulate loft and ball position on a consistent basis, depending on the amount of height and distance required for the given shot.
For a longer bunker shot with a smaller lip, the clubface would be opened less, presenting a lower loft on the club. As a result the alignment change would not be drastic and there would be very little movement around the ‘circle’.
For a shot shown in the pictures above with a high lip and a pin only just on the green, a high trajectory is required. Here the player would open the clubface more dramatically, presenting a large amount of loft at address. The player would then move around the circle the appropriate amount until the clubface is aiming at the target.
Approaching the set-up in this manner will aid you in building a repeatable method in aligning and adding loft, depending on the shot faced. This will in turn, improve strike quality and technique whilst having a positive impact on how consistently you get the ball onto the green and close to the hole from the greenside bunkers.
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