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Getting out of trouble



Bunker time

The main reason most golfers hate bunkers is that they don't know the correct technique to get out of them.

Once you do, and you practise it enough, you may actually relish the challenge.

In many circumstances, top professional golfers prefer to be in a bunker next to the green than on the grass, as it gives them greater control of the ball.

The sand wedge is designed never to touch the ball.

The aim is to hit the sand about an inch behind the ball and create a mini-explosion which carries your ball up and out.

STEP ONE

Bunker time

Settle into the sand to give you a nice solid base and feel for the thickness of the sand.

Set up with the ball in middle of your stance.

Without grounding your club, lay the face open then take hold of the club with your normal grip.

This puts the clubhead in the right position so its wide sole bounces through and off the sand taking your ball with it.

Tighten your grip but mainly with your left index and little finger.

This keeps the club firm so it does not turn over into the sand but flexible.

Because you have opened the clubface, it will now be pointing off to the right if your body is square to the target.

To compensate, shuffle your feet and shoulders to the left until the face is square to the target again.

STEP TWO

Bunker time

Hover your clubhead behind the ball and pick a mark in the sand behind the ball.

Aim to hit this spot.

Your weight should be on your left foot not right to encourage a steeper line of attack for your club.

Pick the club head up more sharply than normal forcing it outside your normal line.

STEP THREE

Bunker time

Swing the clubhead back down hard along the line of the shoulders.

Your knees should be more flexed than for a normal shot, so you need to concentrate harder on keeping your head steady and not dipping down towards the ball.

As you swing the club back towards the ball you should feel as though you are cutting across the line from outside to in.

It may feel as though this will take the ball too far left.

But it won't - it'll make up for the the fact the open clubface is forcing the ball right.

You should always take almost a full swing - the distance can be largely controlled by changing the amount of sand you take.

STEP FOUR

Bunker time

The sand wedge has a wide sole.

This means rather the slicing down into the bunker, the clubhead can 'bounce' through it and lift the sand - and the ball - skywards.

It requires considerable clubhead speed to remove the ball, especially when the face is steep or the sand is wet.

Aim to produce a solid-sounding 'thump'.

STEP FIVE

Bunker time

It is extrremely important to follow through to the target.

Don't allow the club to 'die' into the sand.

Imagine smashing the club down onto a pool of water and wanting to watch the droplets scatter all over the green.

It is the same action - the sand absorbs some of the blow but bounces the club back out.

Use your shoulder and hip turn to help it along.



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