Ask amateur golfers what they fear most on a golf course and many would say a greenside bunker shot, especially if they are faced with a high lip or a plugged lie.
But bunker play can be easier if we forgo the “orthodox” method of teaching and head down the root of an almost fool-proof method.
Let us look at the technique most commonly taught;
Open clubface, open stance, weight on the target foot.
Long swing with the club sliding through the sand.
This is great if you understand the basics of how to get a ball out of a bunker, but for beginners, ladies and many high handicappers, this method is just too complicated.
I would like to put forward a method that I have tried and tested and had tremendous success with my clients with.
It is simpler and if you can repeat it, which with practice you will be able to do, you will get the ball out every single time.
The technique starts with a set-up where the club face is square to your intended target.
I believe that this is the single biggest reason why this method works. A sand wedge has its name because it has been designed to get the ball out of sand, so why would you want to change the characteristics of the club designed to do the job?
We are going to use a mid-distance bunker shot as the example here.
Start by drawing a line in the sand about 2 meters long. This is going to be your entry point.
Now this line is the key, when a ball is in play the line is one ball behind the ball you are trying to splash out of the bunker. (I use a ball instead of 2 inches or 5 centimeters because we know the size of a golf ball).
So open your stance about 10º to your intended target line. Widen your stance and flex your knees a little more than normal, this is to get you lower to the ground. The line should be in line with your sternum.
Now beginning at the line I want you to splash the sand out of the bunker using your normal swing (along the line of your feet as always).
The thing you are practicing is not getting the ball out, it is learning to hit the same entry point with each swing, building consistency.
Once you can hit the line 80% of the time you can draw a new line and place a ball, a ball further forward than the line.
Focus on the line and repeat what you have been practicing with the line.
You will quickly see ball after ball flying over the lip of the bunker and on to the green.
To play a longer shot, stand square to the target line and follow the same procedure For shorter shots, open your stance more.