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Bunker Tips from PGA Pro Graeme Crompton

Love them or hate them, they are part of the game, I am a self-confessed Sand Specialist, I simply love the challenge of getting the ball up and down or holing out from the sand.
Having coached for over 32 years I have helped many golfers with their shots from the sand and see the same old mistakes made time and time again!

When standing over your shot are you thinking
OH NO, I HATE BUNKERS!
THE LAST TIME I WAS IN A BUNKER I HAD 5 SHOTS AND THEN GAVE UP!
SHOULD I JOIN PILTDOWN OR ROYAL ASHDOWN WHERE THEY DON’T HAVE SAND!

Following my simple tips will not only make you more positve when playing shots from sand but they may actually make you enjoy them…

Biggest mistakes I see made by golfers are:
OPENING THE CLUBFACE
QUITTING ON YOUR SHOT
TRYING TO BE TOO DELICATE

FACT: Sand is heavier than grass! Therefore you will need to make a more aggressive swing!
FACT: Sand irons have 56% of loft on them, nearly all bunker shots can easily be played using this amount of loft!
FACT: When opening your clubface you will create upto 90˚s of loft. No one has ever made a 90˚ lofted golf club! Doing this may result in fluffs.
FACT: When opening the clubface the leading edge is raised off the ground by the width of the soleplate, making it harder to strike the face. (see picture below) Doing this may result in thins.

The Stance is the part that needs to be open, not the clubface!

Based on a right handed golfer.
Start by aiming your feet about 30 degrees to the left of the hole and put the majority of your weight on your left side. Next aim your shoulders and clubface at the hole. Your ball position needs to be slightly left of centre with your hands opposite your left thigh.
Grip the club firmly and make a very aggressive full swing following through as you would a drive (don’t quit after hitting the ball)
Judging the distance couldn’t be simpler, the further behind the ball you enter the sand the shorter the ball will travel.

My thoughts are try to hit the ball 500 yards!
During your downswing think one of the following
Explode (lots of sand) this will result in the ball just leaving the bunker, ideal for short greenside bunker shots.
With Sand (a smaller amount of sand) this will result in the ball flying between 5 and 10 yards, ideal for other greenside bunker shots.
Clean (hardly any sand) this will result in the ball travelling around 30 yards.
Thin (no sand just ball) this will result in the ball travelling maximum distance and can be used with any club that you feel will lift up above the lip and bank of the bunker.
The same technique can be used for plugged lies and balls embedded in the of the face of the bunker.

Practice these and you will never go back to your old method.

Written by Burgess Hill PGA Professional Graeme Crompton

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