Achieving consistent strikes from the bunker is dependent on taking the correct amount of sand at impact.
However, many golfers become confused by how much sand to take and end up either heaving tons out of the bunker or almost none at all.
To avoid becoming a ‘heaver’ or ‘skimmer’, golfers should practice taking a consistent amount of sand before and after impact. The key thing to remember is that on a normal bunker shot, golfers need the ball to fly into the air on a fine carpet of sand; the ball never usually makes direct contact with the club face. For golfers struggling to achieve consistency, this drill often works a treat.
In a practice bunker or on the course during a non-competition round, golfers can use the mental imagery of a simple dollar bill.
1. In the practice bunker or a standard depth of sand trap out on the course, throw a few balls down. Golfers should give the balls relatively good lies, tougher lies can follow.
2. Players should then draw a box around the ball in the shape of a dollar bill, with the ball positioned at the centre of the rectangle.
3. This dollar bill represents a perfect divot.
4. After taking the normal bunker set up, golfers need to imagine entering the sand at the back of the dollar bill, sweeping through the sand and underneath the money before the club rises out on the other side of the bill.
5. When the golfer has a clear image in mind they should execute the shot wiping out the rectangle as described above.
6. After practicing this drill, golfers should be able to take consistent amounts of sand on every bunker shot.
Golfers should not underestimate the importance of taking the correct amount of sand during bunker shots. Sand wedges and other high lofted wedges are designed to hit down into the sand and glide upwards, supported by the bounce angle (the degree which the rear edge of the sole is lower than the front). If the golfer digs into the sand too early, they will be forced to fight against the bounce angle which is looking to guide the club up and out.
By digging in early, the golfer will be forced to heave massive amounts of sand out from underneath the ball. By entering to sand too late and too close to the ball, the opposite effect can occur. The golfer hasn’t the time to get enough sand in-between the ball and club face causing a thin shot.
To ensure the correct amount of sand is taken each time, golfers should practice with the imagery and physical outline of the dollar bill drawn into the sand, they might just cash in on some great shots.