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Greenside Bunkers | Tips to help work your Bunker Shot out!.

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As you walk up to a 'Greenside Bunker' there are a number of points that I would like you to take into consideration before deciding how you intend to play your shot out of the 'Bunker'.

To keep my points simple I would like to assume your ball is lying well in the 'Bunker' and that you are able to take a comfortable 'Stance Position' and that you have selected a 'Sand Wedge' to play your shot with.

Here are some basic points that I would like you to take into account before playing your shot out of a 'Bunker'.

 

Ok let's get started with;

How is your ball lying in the bunker?

The quality of your ball's lie in the 'Sand' will determine how you play your shot out of the 'Bunker'. Your 'Clubhead' needs to strike through the sand and below the level of the ball to create an explosion of sand under the ball that will push the ball up and out of the Bunker. If your ball is embedded in the sand then a deeper impact position is required to create an explosion of sand under the ball.

Lesson Image (click to enlarge)             Lesson Image (click to enlarge)              An example of the ball is lying well.                                    An example of the ball lying poorly.


Is the edge of the Bunker affecting your Stance?

Lesson Image (click to enlarge)             Lesson Image (click to enlarge)

Being able to create a comfortable, balanced and stable Stance Position in a Bunker is crucial to being able to play out of it with a high level of success and accuracy. So if the edge of the Bunker inter-fears with your Stance and you can't get a balanced stable position when playing towards your Target then I would recommend playing away from your Target even if it means playing out backwards!  

 

Have you checked the depth and steepness of the 'Bunker Face'?

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Getting your ball up and out of the 'Bunker' is always your first priority so a point to consider is to check the depth and steepness of the 'Bunker Face'.

If your ball is lying up against a deep or steep 'Bunker Face' then playing out sideways maybe your best option!

A big thank you to my daughter Lianna for helping me with this example!

 

 

 

 

 

Is your desired 'Target Line' too risky?

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Having eyes for the flag is not always your best shot option especially if your ball is lying poorly or your Stance Position is affected by the 'Bunker Face'. If this is the case remember that getting the ball out of the Bunker is your main priority so look for a safer shot option to avoid having a scoring disaster on a Hole!  

 

 

 

 

 

How far has your ball got to travel to the flag or your ideal landing area?

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When working out how you are going to play your Bunker Shot one of the most important points to consider is your Ball Flight. To do this effectively I would like to recommend comparing your Bunker Shot to an under arm throwing action and imagine yourself throwing your ball out of the 'Bunker'. Then try to visualize the height and length of your Ball Flight and also try to picture your balls ideal Landing Area by taking into account how your ball will react when it lands on the green. This comparison will give you a clear idea as to how high and how hard to strike your ball when playing your shot.

 

 

Is there is any wind and if so what direction is it coming from?

Wind will affect your balls 'Flight' so it is important to factor this into your shot selection before playing your shot.

For Instance;

 

  • If you are playing into the wind then your 'Ball Flight' needs to fly a little lower, where possible, to create a penetrating flight through the wind and your ball will stop quickly.
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  • If you are playing down wind then your 'Ball Flight' needs to fly a little higher and played with your most lofted club to give a softer flight. Your ball will be encouraged to roll when it lands as the wind will be pushing your ball towards your Target.
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  • If you are playing with the wind coming from the left your ball will fly left to right in flight and your ball will bounce left to right when landing.
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  • If you are playing with the wind coming from the right your ball will fly right to left in flight and your ball will bounce right to left when landing.

 

Have you taken into consideration the lie of the land or any slopes that may affect your ball when it lands on the green?

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Always look for any slope that maybe between your ball and your target as these will affect your ball when it lands on to the green and they will affect your ball when it rolls across the green!

'Uphill Slope' - will cause your ball to stop quickly when landing on to the green and will also cause your ball to roll slowly across the green.

'Downhill Slope' - will cause your ball to bounce forward when landing on to the green and will also cause your ball to roll quickly across the green.

'Left to Right Slope' - will cause your ball to bounce to the right when landing on to the green.

'Right to Left Slope' - will cause your ball to bounce to the left when landing on to the green.

'Remember' - Any Slope between your ball and Target Area that are running at an angle or running across the Green will cause your ball to either bounce or roll off it's straight line when playing to your Target Area.

 

Identify a safe landing area for your ball to land in and take into consideration any danger areas?

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Before playing a Bunker Shot one of the first points to consider is where your ball needs to land to be able to get your best result, this area is known as a 'Landing Area'.  

To do this effectively I would like to recommend comparing your Bunker Shot to an under arm throwing action and imagine yourself throwing your ball on to the Green. Then try to visualize the height and length of your Ball Flight and also try to picture your balls ideal Landing Area by taking into account how your ball will react when it lands on the green. This comparison will give you a clear idea as to how high and how hard to strike your ball when playing your shot.

 

Most Bunker Shots have a High Risk, Medium Risk or Low Risk Shot Option. Your choice of shot should be made after taking into account points such as how difficult or easy it is to get your ball out of the Bunker, are there any Hazards or Slope between your ball and Target, how difficult or easy is the flag placement that you are playing too etc... 

Another example of shot option is if you were playing match-play on were 2 down with 3 holes to play. Considering a high risk shot option maybe a reasonable choice of shot to play to try and win the hole but if you were 2 up with 3 holes to play then considering either a medium or low risk shot option would be a better way to play as this will make your shot easier to play and keep the pressure on your opponent!

 

Have you identified your 'Target Line'?

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Your Target Line is the line you aim your Clubhead on which runs from your ball to your aiming point that you would like to land your ball on. This line is not necessarily aiming straight to your Target! (Hole)

 

 

  • THE GOLDEN RULE

  • "Getting the ball out of the bunker is always your first priority!"

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    Thank you to my daughter Lianna (6yrs) for this demonstration.

    And finally!

    "Always walk into a Bunker with a positive attitude and being fully committed to your shot!"

     

     

     

     

     

    You should now have worked out how you intend to play your shot so turn your attention to creating your 'Address & Posture Position' by working through my 'Address & Posture Routine'!

    'Your Next Lesson'

  • The Address & Posture Position
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    Follow on Lesson.

  • The Hand & Arm Swing
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