Ball Will Ride on Wave of Sand

For the average golfer it is probably the most feared shot in golf – the greenside bunker shot.  The fact is its difficulty comes from not understanding what really takes place when executing this shot.

Put yourself in this situation: you’re in the bunker and your blast your shot over the green.  The first thing that comes to mind is “I must have hit it too hard.”  With this mindset, the next time you are in the bunker, what are the chances of you hitting it too softly and not getting out of the sand?  The answer is pretty likely.  The fact is in both cases you failed to remove sand from the bunker.  The major component of executing this shot is to make contact with the sand in front of the ball and propel that sand towards the target.

In a greenside bunker, you should never hit the ball.  It bears repeating: never make contact with the golf ball in a greenside bunker.  The correct “out” will have the ball riding atop a bed of sand (picture A).

In order to make sure we hit the sand before the ball we are going to put our weight forward at address and it is going to remain forward through the swing.  This position will allow us to make a descending strike into the sand.  Poor sand players stay on their back foot.  That type of stance encourages upswing toward the ball resulting in hitting the sand too early or not at all.

Now how do we know how hard to swing?  We are going to pick a spot on the green where we want the ball to land.  Our task is to remove sand from the trap and have the sand land on that spot.  Remember the ball is being carried on the sand so the ball is going to get there first.

I like to demonstrate this with a shovel.  In order to hit my spot with the sand, you can see how my arms really extend towards my target bringing my body forward (picture B).

A great drill to get the feel for this is as follows.  Draw a line in the sand behind your ball.  Now pick two landing areas.  One 10 feet from you and the second 20 feet away.  Now without a ball you are going to practice hitting the sand to your two targets.  You will see that the swing size will vary with the distance changes.  You will also realize sand is heavy and creates resistance.  Because of this resistance, you will have to make an aggressive swing to hit your target areas.  Once you feel good about this set the ball down in front of the line and repeat the process.  The results will amaze you.

Have a great time here at the beach and make Glen Davis Golf Schools a part of your vacation.