Ted Frick gives some great information in a past newsletter on Golf Training Swing.
One of the easiest shots in golf to execute is the greenside bunker shot. At the same time, it is a motion that elicits a great deal of tension for many golfers. For those who find this shot troublesome because of poor technique, tension adds to the chaos and often leads to disaster. Similar to any well-executed shot in golf, effort is not the answer in the greenside bunker. Focus on maintaining light arms, normal breathing, and proper set up and mechanics.
From putt to drive, rhythm is always the solution. As you step into the bunker, take some good deep cleansing breaths. Breathing is the number one way to introduce relaxation to the body, and the golfer must always be aware of his/her breathing. Relaxed muscles will perform much better than those that are rigid. As you take your cleansing breaths, be conscientious of the tension in your arms. Interject a light, spaghetti noodle feeling into the arms.
Proper set up is crucial in a greenside bunker as you either set-up for success or set-up for disaster. The stance should be open in relation to the target line. Your stance width should be a little more than shoulder width apart. The ball needs to be positioned forward and in line with the front heel. The weight of the body should also be distributed forward throughout the motion. The face of the club should be open at address to utilize the bounce of the club, and the eyes are always on the point of entry (1" to 2" behind the ball) in the sand. The eyes should never focus on the ball in a greenside bunker. For all Classic Swing students, “the hands win the race versus the clubhead” and always be sure to rotate to make sure the chest faces the target in the follow through. The sand, not the clubface, moves the ball out of the bunker so be aggressive in throwing sand out of the trap, and the ball will follow.
This picture demonstrates proper set up and mechanics for a greenside bunker shot. Focus on the wide stance (shoulder width apart), the forward ball position (in line with the front heel), the open clubface, and the entry point two inches behind the ball illustrated by the shaft and grip perpendicular to the target line.
Also demonstrating correct set up, this picture shows the open stance in relation to the target line used in a greenside bunker shot.
Be sure to rotate through the shot from the greenside bunker so that you finish with your chest facing the target.
The Greenside Bunker Checklist:
- Maintain Light Arms
- Open the clubface, play the ball forward in your stance, and shift your weight forward
- Focus your eyes on the point of entry (2” before the ball in most cases)
- Rotate the body through the shot
- Finally – Smile, it is only a game!
A properly fit sand wedge with good groves can also enhance your ability in the green side bunker. If you would like to explore the options of adding a new gap, sand, or lob wedge to your bag, be sure to check out our custom clubs.