Greenside bunkers. Quite possibly the most feared aspect of an amateur golfers game. These traps can be the culprit of adding an additional 10 strokes to your score after a round of 18 holes if you're not careful. In this article we're going to go over some tips on how to escape these bunkers and hopefully knock a few strokes off your total score.
Possibly the most common piece of advice when swinging out of a bunker. Throwing sand essentially means your golf club does not hit the ball on the swing, you connect with the sand in front of your ball which pushes your shot (and a lot of sand) onto the green towards the pin. This technique allows you to have fast club speed without hitting your ball too far. Everyone has had a greenside bunker shot where they connect the club directly with the ball and end up hitting it 30 yards over the green. This technique is designed to prevent that.
You can practice this technique by creating a line in the sand with your club about half an inch in front of your ball. This will give you a visual on where you should connect your club with the sand on your down swing. The more your club face is open, the faster you will cut through the sand and your ball will not travel as far. This can be tricky if you do not have a lot of club speed, so keep the face closed if you're not a power swinger.
The position of your ball is very important when taking a shot out of a greenside bunkers. You need to make sure your ball is positioned on the front side of your stance. This allows the club to come down and hit the sand before the ball. If a ball is positioned in the middle of your stance, it will connect with too much ball and send your shot well over the green.
This is the part that sounds so simple but a lot of people struggle with. This step is more of a mental note than it may seem. It may feel like you shouldn't finish your swing high because you don't want to hit the ball too far, but not following through with your swing kills all club speed and sways your club face. Accelerating through your down swing is crucial because if you don't come through your swing with enough speed, you will end up plopping the ball half a foot away still inside the bunker.
This is pretty standard, but the most important part of getting your swings down. The only way to see true progress in your golf game is practice, practice, and more practice. It may be hard to practice greenside bunker shots because they're not easily available, but there are things you can do to somehwat simulate a bunker shot. If you have a beach near by, this would be a great way to get some short shots in deep sand. Take your time, keep these tips in mind, and enjoy!