Chapter # Fourteen - The Greenside Bunker Shots
There are two basic greenside bunker shots.
The across the target line, cut shot
The down the target line, vertical clubface shot
Both types of shots can be equally effective. THE CUT SHOT is an outside to inside the target line swing, a cutting across the target line motion.
The Basics of the CUT SHOT:
THE TARGET LINE - the target line is a line going through the ball, through the point on the green where you want the ball to land. The target line is typically aiming left of the hole, this is to allow for the left to right spin that will be imparted on the ball causing it to roll toward the right.
THE STANCE - OPEN STANCE - the right foot forms a 90 degree angle to the target line, the left heel is further away from the target line than the right heel. The left foot points about 45 degrees towards the target.
THE STANCE - BALANCE - the feet form the foundation for the balance for the bunker shot. The sand is loose, therefore the feet must find a solid base in the sand. This base is usually several inches below the level of the ball on top of the sand, therefore consideration must be given to the distance between hands and the sand. This distance between the hands and the ball is less for the bunker shot than a normal shot. The hands must be placed lower on the grip to make the adjustment for the shorter distance.
THE BODY - the hips, the body and the shoulders are open, facing more towards the target than the target line. There is little if any body motion. The greenside bunker shot is basically an arm swing.
THE KNEES - are in a flexed position and remain flexed throughout the entire swing.
THE BALL PLACEMENT - the position of the ball varies depending the on the desired trajectory of the shot. The higher the desired trajectory the more forward the ball placement, less carry - less roll. The lower the desired trajectory the further back the ball placement, more carry - more roll.
THE LEFT HAND GRIP - the left hand is square with the leading edge of the clubface and vertical to the ground. Roll the left hand towards the right until you can see all four knuckles of the left hand, the palm of the left hand is facing the body. This will cause the clubface to be open to and laid back from the target. This places the palm of the left hand on the plane of the shaft. The plane of the shaft is the angle formed by the shaft of the golf club as it is held slightly above the ground. The left hand has no motion of it's on, it remains in the same position as it slides up and down this imaginary plane of the shaft. It remains on plane throughout the backswing, through the downswing and follow through until the left elbow folds upward.
THE RIGHT HAND GRIP - the right hand is placed on the club with the left hand in the rolled over position. The right hand is vertical to the ground and square to the target line.
THE LEFT ARM AND THE CLUBSHAFT - the left arm and the clubshaft forms a straight line. The butt of the grip looks up to the left shoulder.
THE BACKSWING - the club is swung back on a line parallel to the shoulder line, this produces an outside to inside swing motion. The backswing is caused by the cocking of the right elbow, this cocks the left wrist and raises the left arm. At the top of the back swing, the left arm is parallel to the ground.
THE DOWNSWING - the downswing is the reverse of the backswing. The downward pulling motion of the left arm and the straightening of the cocked right elbow delivers the clubhead from an outside the target line to an across the target line to an inside the target line swing, following the open stance line of the shoulders. The clubhead enters into the sand behind the ball. The clubface does not make actual contact with the golf ball, there is a cushion of sand between the golf ball and the clubface. The distance behind the ball where the clubhead enters the sand varies with the shot one is trying to make.
THE CLUBFACE - the clubface is square with the left hand,
THE FOLLOW THROUGH - the finish will be a result of the force generated by the downswing. It is extremely important that the finish is well passed the impact zone. The left arm remains in contact with the upper chest. At the finish the left arm is folded and the upper left arm and the forearm are vertical to the ground. At a minimum the clubhead should be above the waist.
THE FORCE OF THE SWING - much more force must be generated with the bunker shot than with a regular golf shot. The sand between the clubface and the golf ball absorbs nearly all of the force of the swing. Also the sand itself is going to slow, if not completely stop the forward motion of the clubhead. The bunker shot must be a very aggressive swing because of THE SAND.
EXAMPLE: A normal shot with a clubface to golf ball contact will produce a shot of 100 yards, a bunker shot with the same amount of force and with a clubface to sand to golf ball contact will produce a shot of 20 yards.
THE SAND - the texture of the sand will have an effect on the force of the swing. Dry sand will absorb more of the force of the swing, faster clubhead speed needed. Wet sand will absorb less of the force of the swing, less clubhead speed needed. Hard packed sand needs special attention. Because the sand is hard it will cause the clubhead to bounce back upward move than the other types of sand. If you are not careful the hard packed sand will cause the leading edge of the clubface to bounce up off the sand and make direct contact with the golf ball. This direct contact of the blade and the ball will send the ball into the face of the bunker or much to far over the green. The swing must be much steeper and the clubhead must enter the sand closer to the ball.
THE VERTICAL HINGING GREENSIDE BUNKER SHOT is a down the target line swing, the clubhead follows the target line.
The Basics of the VERTICAL HINGING GREENSIDE BUNKER SHOT
The Basics are the same as the cut shot, but with the following differences.
THE TARGET LINE - the target line is a line going through the ball, through the point on the green where you want the ball to land. The target line is aimed directly at the hole. There will be little if any side spin imparted on the golf ball and there is very limited forward roll.
THE LEFT HAND GRIP - the left hand is square with the leading edge of the clubface and vertical to the ground.
THE RIGHT HAND GRIP - the right hand is vertical to the ground and square with the leading edge of the clubface.
THE BACKSWING - the club is swung back on the target line, this produces a straight back and straight up backswing. The backswing is caused by the cocking of the right elbow, this cocks the left wrist and raises the left arm. At the top of the back swing, the left arm is parallel to the ground and parallel to the target line.
THE DOWNSWING - the downswing is the reverse of the backswing. The downward pulling motion of the left arm and the straightening of the cocked right elbow delivers the clubhead in a line tracing the target line. The clubhead enters into the sand behind the ball. The clubface does not make actual contact with the golf ball, there is a cushion of sand between the golf ball and the clubface. The distance behind the ball where the clubhead enters the sand varies with the shot one is trying to make.
THE VERTICAL HINGING IMPACT - the clubhead enters the sand slightly behind the golf ball, as the clubhead moves through the golf ball's location, the hands reverse roll backwards away from the target. This reverse roll of the hands enable the clubface to remain square to the target as it increase the loft of the clubface. The golf ball will go straight towards the target, will have a high trajectory and very little rolls.
THE FOLLOW THROUGH - the clubface will trace the target line, right up the flag pole. At the end of the follow through the clubhead should be at least as high as the top of the flag pole and square with the flag pole. For this follow through to happen the left arm must separate from the upper chest. At the finish, the left arm will be straight and parallel to the ground