As I watch the first round of the Sony Open, I can’t help but think of the beach. It couldn’t be that it was a high of 30 degrees here in Charlotte in the last month, right. So I thought I would bring back an archve from one of my first vlogs on bunker shots. Bunker shots are one of the most feared shots in golf. Even though we may only hit a few of these type of shots during a round, if played poorly, they can be very costly to a golfers score. As in most shots in golf, there are different philosophies to use which means that there are myths and misconceptions. I want to cover a few of the myths that I didn’t talk about in my video.
1) The bunker swing is not a cut across move- the video is filmed entirely from a face on view (I didn’t know how to edit shots together at the time) so you can’t see the shape of the swing. Fact: The ball flies the direction that the swing goes, due to fact that you don’t actually make contact with the ball. The direction the swing goes, moves the sand in that direction. Make your normal, on plane swing in the bunker. Adjust your weight forward to move the divot forward if you need to . Which brings me to myth #2
2) The ball will not fly the direction that the club face points. If this was the case, you couldn’t open the face and still hit the ball at the flag.
3) You must open your stance to play great bunker shots. No,No,No,No! Did I mention No? I do advocate a slightly open stance (purely for body rotation purposes) but you can play great bunker shots from a square stance as well. If your full swing pattern is already outside to in, I would be very careful opening your stance too much. This will make you cut across the ball even more and cause you to lose power and distance on your shots (not to mention direction).
A Simple Approach To Bunker Shots:
For those of you who have been struggling in the bunker (to get out), here is a simple approach. Claude Harmon Sr. (Butch’s Daddy) taught this style
1. set up with a square club face and a square stance
2. place 60 percent of your weight on your forward foot
3. lean the handle backwards slightly where the shaft leans away from target
3a. This increases the bounce of the wedge at set-up
4. Take a full swing and make sure you follow through, facing the target
I hope this helps your bunker play and dispels some myths that you might have had. Check out the video or dig into the archives of Golf Illustrated (12 bunker beating tips), June 2008.