Nine times out of 10, the golfer who leaves a shot in the bunker has failed to generate enough clubhead speed. He’s decelerated on the downswing, or tried to lift the ball out of the sand with a weak, arms-only swing.
One of the hardest things for amateurs to do is to make a firm, accelerating swing in the sand. Even if they know it’s necessary, fear grips them when it’s time to execute. The idea of swinging with such force to hit a short shot simply doesn’t compute – after all, what happens if you catch the ball before the sand?
It’s a mind-over-matter situation. Don’t dwell on the potential negatives. Go with what you know and trust it. Here’s an easy way to visualize bunker shots and, hopefully, remove the fear:
Once you’ve assessed the shot and picked a spot a couple of inches behind the ball, imagine that you’re playing a shot of about four times that distance from the fairway. For instance, if you’ve got 15 yards to the spot where the ball should land, swing with the same force as you would on a 60-yarder from the grass.
Now, focus on your entry spot and swing away. Hit the mark and your ball will splash safely onto the green.