Symptom: You dread the greenside bunker, having never really mastered the explosion shot.
It mocks you and haunts you when you hit your approach shot into the green, causing you to question your club selection and your target line. You get a pit in your stomach as you slouch toward the sandy pit of doom. All this because you leave your ball in the bunker more often than not, try as you might …
Description: To get out of a greenside bunker, hit the sand under the ball onto the green, and the ball will follow.
Why it works: The explosion shot from a greenside bunker is not difficult once you get the hang of it. If you are having trouble with this shot, it is likely because you aren’t being aggressive enough through the ball. You have to really smack the sand under the ball to play this shot correctly.
Flying Sand From Greenside Bunkers
When you watch the pros hit out of a green-side bunker, notice where the sand goes. On the green!
For example, run this video and watch Robert Allenby’s shot (0:15) — see the sand land on the green before the ball does? Or watch Tiger (0:29) blast out of the bunker. The sand would have landed on the green had it not blown away in the wind. Mark Hensby’s long bunker shot (0:48) didn’t put much sand on the green, but that’s because it was a long shot and he just nipped the ball to try and spin it more. But see Hensby’s next bunker shot (1:02) — he put some sand on the green, adding to the nice pile of sand already on the green from other pro’s bunker shots:
The message is clear: If you can get some sand from under the ball onto the green, the ball will get out of the bunker. And you will be much happier.
Accelerate and Drive
You will find that to get sand on the bunker, you will need to accelerate and drive through the ball on the downswing, hit behind the ball by about an inch or so, and powerfully drive through the sand with a full follow through.
Once you get the hang of this, and understand how it feels to hit a good bunker shot, you will be amazed at what a simple shot this really is.
Remember – put sand on the green and the ball will follow!
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