Unfortunately not all errant shots heading towards the sand will the find the centre of a bunker; they could end up against the front lip. This can be a daunting shot because the golfer must face the uninviting prospect of hammering into the bunker’s lip after striking the ball.
Players stuck up against the front lip will be unable to avoid this impact if they want to move the ball forward and not out sideways. But this shot does not need to hold the golfer hostage with fear. By taking certain precautions it is possible to play and have a successful outcome.
One of the biggest obstacles facing the golfer, apart from the bunker lip, is fear. This fear of hitting through the ball and smashing into the edge of the bunker can cause the golfer to quit on the shot. This is a dangerous thing to do because the player not only risks leaving the ball in the bunker, but also back up against the lip and possibly in the divot just created.
To avoid this, commitment and bravery is required - commitment to play the shot and bravery about the inevitable impact with the bunker lip.
This links into the golfer’s commitment to play the bunker shot. Because of the ball’s proximity to the bunker lip, the player needs to get the ball up very quickly which requires club head speed.
By focusing on striking hard through the ball, this extra speed can be achieved and the ball should pop up and out of the bunker avoiding the face.
Keep the hands relaxed
Golfer who are playing this difficult shot should be prepared to hit the lip or face of the bunker but any possible pain can be avoided by keeping the hands very relaxed. By keeping the hands relaxed throughout the swing, when the club hits the front lip, players will find it easier to let the club go and minimize the vibrations usually sent up the shaft. Many players who are successful at executing this shot may let go of the club all together after hitting the ball. If you do let go make sure the ball is on its way first!
By committing to this difficult shot, players can take away the fear factor. Hitting hard whilst keeping the hands relaxed will not only provide the power to get the ball up and out of the bunker but also allow the golfer to let go of the club after impact and avoid any nasty vibrations flying back up the shaft into the arms and upper body.