One of the most frustrating and often humiliating shots for golfers to endure is leaving the ball in the bunker.
Looking up to find the ball rolling back down the bunker face and dropping gently back into the sand is soul destroying, not to mention the politely averted gazes of playing partners suddenly interested in a squirrel gallivanting around a nearby tree. The misery can only be compounded by successful failures to leave the bunker as the sand not only claims your chance at winning the medal, but also your dignity.
Golfers can be reassured to know that they don’t suffer alone and countless players across the globe are afflicted by the same malady and there are ways to fix the problem.
Walk on by
This shot is often caused by golfers desperately trying to scoop the ball up and out of the bunker. By attempting to help the ball into the air, golfers transfer their weight across to the back foot at impact. This feeling is caused by a desire to get underneath the ball but has the opposite effect. By shifting weight on to the back foot through impact, golfers increase the chance of shifting the swing arc so the club hits the sand a long way back from the ball. This causes fat shots and the dreaded limp ball flight destined to deposit the ball back into the bunker. To help stop this reverse weight shift through impact, golfers can try this drill.
1. Get set up to the bunker shot with a standard splash bunker set up.
2. Place about 60% of body weight on to the front foot.
3. Whilst swinging back, golfers need to have the feeling that 60% of body weight stays fixed on the front foot.
4. As the club is swung down and through the sand, sweeping the ball upwards rather than moving the body weight back, golfers need to feel as though they are moving towards the target, increasing the body weight by 70-80% on the front foot.
5. After impact, so much weight should be moving forward that the golfer will need to step forward towards the target to maintain balance.
If this drill is completed successfully, the golfer should feel that no weight was shifted backward at any point during the swing. This constant movement through the ball should be enough to stop the majority of heavy shots suffered by the golfer. By practicing this ‘walk on’ drill, players should be able to avoid the feeling of leaving the ball in the bunker and achieve more sand saves than ever before.