Many golfers become frustrated when after escaping from a bunker they see their ball hit the green but bound onwards, running away from the pin.
Producing enough backspin out of a bunker helps ensure there is more control on the ball once it pitches. Balls which come out with no backspin are difficult to predict as there is nothing to slow them down except the contours of the green or possibly another sand trap!
Although backspin is needed to control sand shots, players who struggle to produce enough out of bunkers are often confused why they can’t get the necessary revolutions on the ball.
Here are four reasons why balls may leave the bunker without enough backspin.
1. Too much sand - On a standard splash bunker shot, golfers want to enter the sand about an inch behind. This will send the ball out of the bunker on about an inch of sand. The resulting divot should be about the size of a $1 bill and an inch deep. If after hitting a shot a golfer finds their divot in a bunker is deeper than an inch, they could be taking too much sand. Getting too much sand trapped between the club face and ball will send the ball upwards but without much backspin; it will be propelled forward on force alone. To increase the amount of spin imparted on the ball from a bunker shot, golfers should aim to take less sand.
2. Quitting on the shot - Another way of producing more backspin from a bunker is by increasing club head speed. The slower the swing speed, the fewer revolutions will be transferred on to the ball. A slow club head speed through the ball could be caused by quitting on the bunker shot. To stop this from happening, players should ensure they swing through the ball and finish in a full position, facing the target up on the back toe, as they would with a normal shot from the fairway. This should help ensure a powerful swing and increased club head speed.
3. Not enough loft - The higher the loft on a club, the higher the chance there is of producing backspin. For example, identical swings with a 4 iron and sand wedge will create vastly different spin rates because of the difference in loft. If golfers are struggling to spin the ball from a bunker, they should check the club they are using has a sufficient amount of loft. A standard sand wedge should have about 56 degrees of loft.
4. Bad grooves - The grooves on a sand wedge help create backspin when interacting with the sand and ball. If a club has shallow grooves or grooves filled with mud, they cannot produce the same amount of spin compared to grooves which are sharp and clean. Players concerned with the depth of their grooves should consult their local professional for advice.
Golfers struggling to achieve backspin out of a bunker should review these four points and see if by improving one or more of them they can raise the level of their sand play and overall game.