By Rhett Myers, PGA Golf Professional
They say it is the easiest shot in golf. Most amateurs would surely disagree. Many players have an almost fear of hitting their ball into a green side bunker. This fear, of course, comes from past negative experiences and not having a game plan for executing the shot properly. The bunker shot may be the only golf shot where the club face does not actually touch the golf ball, if properly played. This is why some people say it is an easy shot, we all know that “easy” is not the word to describe it.
I would like to go through a few tips that will increase your percentage of leaving the bunker, and using only one stroke to do it. The shot I will describe is when your ball lands in a green side bunker between 10-20 yards from the center of the green. The techniques are easy to understand and with a little practice you will improve your bunker play 50%.
First let's talk about posture, ball position and alignment. As you address the ball, take your best posture standing tall with your knees flexed. Play the ball in the center of your stance and have your shoulders and hips slightly open (left) of your target. Now take the club face and open it a ½" to the right to increase the loft. This may look odd, but, remember you are using the club as an instrument not to hit the ball. What I mean by this is that you are trying to go under and through the ball and actually have the sand throw the ball out of the bunker. That is right, the sand throws the ball out. It may not look that way on TV, but that is actually what is happening. Your swing thought is to take a full swing as if from the center of the fairway you were hitting a 50 yard shot. Take a 3/4 back swing and a nice full finish.
Now, this is important. Picture the ball laying on the far right side of a dollar bill that sits under the ball. Take aim ½" behind the ball and slide the bill from under the ball with an accelerated swing. You must swing ½" behind the ball and ½" under the ball while moving the club in a forward motion while sliding the bill out from under the golf ball. This will get the ball out of the bunker on the first try, every time. Good luck!