The bunker shot is feared by many but actually it should be a shot that is relatively easy to execute compared to many others around the green.
The main reason being you are not looking to strike the ball itself but actually the sand behind and under the ball, and therefore lifting the ball out on a pocket of sand. This gives you a bigger margin for error.
So here are my top 4 set up tips for getting out of a greenside bunker.. 1. Clearly pick a point behind the ball where you would like to strike the sand, 2-3 inches is a pretty good spot, the further away from the ball the harder it is to control the depth under the ball and more energy is required to move the ball and the sand. The closer to the ball that you strike, the less you are reliant on the sand to bring the ball out and therefore easier to control spin but margin for error is smaller and the thin is more likely.
2. Work your feet into the sand to ensure a secure stance but also to get a feel of the depth of sand this could affect your decision making as to how you approach the shot.
3. Move the ball forward compared to normal wedge shots, under left chest is a good starter, this means the club won’t dig in too much, allows the bounce of the club to be engaged and the club to glide under the ball. It still keeps plenty of loft on the face to get the ball out higher.
4. Opening the face can add further loft and add more bounce but...
WARNING: Don’t try and swing across the ball to counter for the open face, it can cause a lot of strike issues. The excessive loft will have little effect on the ball start direction and the swing path will actually be the main source of start direction. At any level, and with all variations in set up, the main factor is to ensure a consistent strike point on the sand with acceleration and rotation to a ¾ finish. The biggest bunker error I see on a daily basis is golfers not having the confidence to make a positive swing and trust that the sand will slow the club down when so close to the green.
Get in touch if you are fearing the sand and would love to guarantee getting out first time every time or even increase that chance of an up and down.