Causes and Cures: Leaving Bunker Shots in the Sand, Golf Video
So as you try and get better and progress as a golfer, one thing is really important. You diagnose your faults. So if you hit a bad shot, how and why and what can you do differently? Particularly noticeable, when people are in bunkers, they very rarely use a very sort of easy to use diagnostic tool of the sand to help them understand what they did wrong. I often see people in bunkers swipe and the ball stays in the bunker. The next one and swipe again. I’m sure you've been there. Three, four swipes before the thing comes out and clears the other side of the green. And then what do you do? You pick the rake up and rake over all that vital evidence of what you did right or wrong in the bunker to not get the ball out or to actually finally get the ball out on the last go.
So what I would suggest you do is after you've hit your bunk shot, be it a good bunk shot or bad one, have a look down at the divot, have a look at your position in the follow through and have a little think about why did this not come out. How did it sound? How did it feel?
Generally in bunkers you're going to have two major faults, either catching the ball thin or catching the ball fat. Catching the ball thin, you'll hit halfway up the golf ball at the top of the ball. Then you'll hear that. You'll hear the club hitting the golf ball. The ball will then roll off the face and roll back to your feet and when you look down into the divot in the sand, they'll be no divot first. There might be a divot after the golf ball but no divot before. So if you're in a green side bunker and you're thinning the golf ball, you'll hear it. You'll see it rolling and there won't be much of a divot before the ball and that's clearly a bad thing.
Then likewise, you've got to consider what the fat shot would be like. The fat shot would be a big divot so look for a big scoop a long way before the ball. It might be quite deep so the club might stay in the sand. You probably won't hear the club hitting the ball and the ball will just go and come down. But the ball will probably go up when you hit it fat. Generally you'll hit it fat and it will look like it's going to come out and then it won't reach the edge of the bunker and it will fall back in that's going to roll back to your feet.
So the thin and the fat shot, there are some differences there and we've got to consider what causes those shots. First thing is we want to make sure that we’re setting up correctly so ball slightly left of center for a bunk shot, open face, open feet and then driving forwards to the left-hand side, rotating the body, hitting down and following through and accelerating. They're the key things in bunkers. So hitting down, opening up, turning to the left then accelerating. Your bad shot will happen when you're on your back foot, you're scooping and you're decelerating so that's when you get your fat or your thin shot. When you get your good one in a bunker, hit down, turn to the left and accelerate through and that will generally get the ball out. So don’t forget when you're in a bunker, good or bad shot, have a little bit of an investigation after you hit the shot to work out why it was good. Then rake over the evidence.