The days of summer are sure to include beach visits. If you’re golfing, your ball is bound to find its way to the same place: the beach aka the bunker! Time to examine your starting position for a new angle, literally. Most things we do in life are preceded by a picture, and your bunker album pictures need to be replaced for the consequences they’re causing.
Are you the player whose club keeps digging into the sand, resulting in the ball remaining in the bunker over and over? There’s an error in your picture of set-up that is causing your pain. Look at the picture of the sand wedge with the white shaft. While this might be an acceptable angle for a chip shot, the shaft has too much forward lean for a bunker shot. The hands are too far ahead of the ball, and the front edge of the club face is going to dig into the sand and get STUCK. Notice in that picture that the front edge of the clubface is angled, ready to go down too deep. There is little chance of accessing the backside of the club where there is more metal called bounce. That’s what is needed to slice and glide through the sand and get under the ball.
In contrast, notice the sand wedge with the black shaft and how the hands are behind the ball. The front edge of the clubface is no longer in digging mode. It’s more horizontal to the ground’s surface allowing the back edge bounce to be the part of the club that is closest to the sand surface.
Create this picture BEFORE you enter the bunker! Here’s how. Lay your wedge on its “back” on the grass outside of the bunker. This will automatically open your clubface and position the handle and your hands more neutral and even behind the face. Put your hands on the grip in this new place where the handle seems to have been rotated to the right a quarter turn. Then walk into the bunker setting up to a forward ball position, with the club face hovering an inch or two behind the ball. This is where to set your eyes. DO NOT look at the ball since that’s not what you want to hit!!! You will notice that your hands are lower and more behind the ball than before. GOOD PICTURE. Add sound and feel by hitting on a piece of wood, as in the picture.
The second picture in need of change is the exit path of your club. Too often, you swing the club upwards along the target line, seen as orange in the picture. NO!! Your bunker shots will improve once you realize your new job which is to match the exit path defined by white sticks diagonally left in the bunker picture. Yes, you should feel you’re pulling the club through the sand more to the left of the target line for your follow through. My arm’s shadow shows you where to go.
New set-up picture. New exit strategy picture. New results. Picture that!