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Greenside bunker shots!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Greenside bunker shots are killing me - I feel like I can never get out of them!  Spent some time practising, but I realize I am probably doing something wrong.  I have looked up videos on youtube, but eveyrone is a little different.  So wanted to ask if any of you guys have some tips to share or recommendations on what videos, drills or instructions have been helpful.

post #2 of 17

Open your club and stance, hit 2-3" behind the ball and follow through.  You don't have to swing hard, but it is a bigger swing than you would normally make on a shot of this length.

post #3 of 17

yeah this is a very difficult shot for me too. I can never seem to consistantly get the same amount of sand to hit. IE sometimes i hit only the ball and hit it way over the green and other times i take too big of a divot and dont get it out of the bunker. To be fair, our bunkers sometimes vary widely in the amount of fluffines of their sand.

post #4 of 17

Depends on the type of shot you need. I really struggled with these shots at the beginning of the season, but I'm getting more comfortable. 

 

For me, what helped was playing the ball further forward, and being a little "handsy" through the swing. Take a big but slow swing. You don't need to power it out, just take a nice smooth swing with an open clubface and don't decelerate.

post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrag View Post

Greenside bunker shots are killing me - I feel like I can never get out of them!  Spent some time practising, but I realize I am probably doing something wrong.  I have looked up videos on youtube, but eveyrone is a little different.  So wanted to ask if any of you guys have some tips to share or recommendations on what videos, drills or instructions have been helpful.

Any bunker video with Luke Donald or on YouTube, their is a channel called "armchairsessions" that has some videos with Ian Poulter.
post #6 of 17

I been practicing out of the sand this summer gotten a whole lot better and was able to hole out from greenside bunker last week. I been reviewing Luke Donald and Michelsons video sand techniques and just trying different methods until I found one that works for me.

Also dont get "stuck" on one way. That more than one technique. Its a very "feel" shot for me. I like to feel the right amount of sand and prefer a shallow divot with less agressive swing for a ball sitting at the bottom of the sand bunker with a good lie.

For uphill buried ones stuck under the lip I tend to swing more aggressive and follow Michelson flop techniques.

post #7 of 17

Correct setup will help.  A lot of guys play the ball in the middle of their stance, like a regular shot.  You really need to play the ball forward (much more than you think, almost off your left toe). Open the clubface so that the grooves point ahead of your front foot, align your body about 5' left of your target, swing along your body line, hitting at a spot in the sand about 2" behind the ball, keep your weight left.  It's really not a tough shot, because you don't even have to hit the ball.  It does take some practice, though.

post #8 of 17

The most important part for me is the follow through. If you follow through with the club through the sand you will get out 90% of the time. The hard part is getting over the mental block of: 'full follow through will smash the ball miles'.

 

For me, I setup the ball in the middle of the stance and aim 2" behind the ball.

post #9 of 17

Learn how to hit a proper pitch shot using the bounce. Then just hit pitch shots out of the bunker. The clubhead will glide through the sand at a shallower angle, and the ball will come out nicely.

post #10 of 17
Think finesse not power. If you can keep your upper body fairly still and allow the wrists to hinge and unhinge briskly it quiets your leg action so you don't dig.

The amount of sand is crucial too far behind and you might as well use a spade to get out.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wardy View Post
 

The most important part for me is the follow through. If you follow through with the club through the sand you will get out 90% of the time. The hard part is getting over the mental block of: 'full follow through will smash the ball miles'.

 

For me, I setup the ball in the middle of the stance and aim 2" behind the ball.

I agree with this.

 

I open the face a little, play it 3 ball lengths forward, aim one ball length behind the ball and take a full swing.  Its hard getting the idea of how far its going to travel but once you get the hang of it, sand game is not overly complicated. 

 

A big thing for me was just get the ball out on to the green.  If I do, its a win

post #12 of 17

If there's a practice range near you with bunkers, that will help you get a feel for how hard you need to swing. My issue used to be that I would swing soft and attempt to almost pick the ball out, which left me with a lot of skulled shots. Just get used to thumping the sand hard behind the ball to feel how far it will go when you do it.

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post
 

Learn how to hit a proper pitch shot using the bounce. Then just hit pitch shots out of the bunker. The clubhead will glide through the sand at a shallower angle, and the ball will come out nicely.

 

 

This really does seem to work most of the time for me, particularly from the typically sorta firm bunkers I encounter.  Stan Utley's sand technique is pretty much this, with a bit different setup.  I have been using it lately with good success.  It is detailed in his short game book and he has a YouTube video showing it.

 

However, the classic align left, open the face and hit a cut a couple inches back of the  ball clearly works quite well for a LOT of great players.  I have been finding this to be most useful when the bunker is fluffy.  When I play this shot (not always well mind you!) I try to think of "slapping" the sand behind the ball with the back of that open club.  This helps me to avoid thinning the shot which is usually almost as hard on my score as it is on my ego.

 

I have started spending some time in the practice bunker most every trip to the range.  It is helping.  Nothing seems to make golf shots easier than practicing them.

post #14 of 17
I don't know if this is something that you would recommend to anybody but when you have the proper set up for a greenside bunker, you are basically encouraging a flip.

I found I was hitting to far behind the ball and I think I stumbled on the answer.
When you address the ball in a bunker the standard advice seems to be aim for a point a couple of inches behind the ball but when the wrists unhinge my divot starts further back, too much sand.

I was practicing the fluffy lie pitch today with a bunker set up and I found that if you aim at the back of the ball to hit it like a normal shot then the divot starts just before the ball because it is still forward in your stance and the bounce is exposed as the wrists unhinge.

Not sure if you would teach that or move the ball back a bit in your stance but I found it works well to do this
post #15 of 17

I never seem to run into fluffy sand, it's always the concrete-like sand that the club skips off of.

post #16 of 17

I was having a mental block with bunker shots for several months and it was killing me!

 

But then I ran into someone who gave me a good tip.  He said to put the ball where I think my swing would naturally bottom out.  And then just take a nice swing and be sure to follow through.  Ever since then, it's worked for me.   Just don't quit on the shot at the ball.

post #17 of 17

My problem is at times I'll come out of the swing. Especially if it's not a level lie. When my legs get too busy bad things happen in the sand. Just a problem in green side bunkers. But I try to avoid them all. The only course I've played in CO with decent sand is my parents club. Just about everything else looks like they dumped out bags of that ready mix concrete. The sand at my home course is horrendous. Blows my mind because it was once a private club. Not a good thing if you find a deep one. Holes 3-5 have elevated greens with bunkers some 10-12 feet below the surface. If I walk in there and it's hard from being wet I pitch out side ways. I can't get the club under the ball enough to clear the bunker. Like trying to play a flop off the cart path.

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