Spring 2017

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BUNKER BUSTING MADE SIMPLE A lot of people, especially beginning golfers, are afraid of bunkers. They'd rather be anywhere else, even on a downhill grass slope behind the bunker, because they're not sure what do to from the sand. When they find themselves in the trap, they just want to get out as quickly as possible. I'll show how to do just that. There are two parts to this lesson. The first part is how you read the bunker. There are three "L's" – Lie, Lip and Length. I'll illustrate by drawing those three letters in the sand. You want to get in and quickly assess the bunker, look at what you've been given. Hardpan, soft, buried, uphill, downhill. Those pieces to the puzzle are important to figure out what you're able to do. Lie is first, the height of the lip is second and the length of the shot is third. This lie is perhaps as it's easy as it gets – firm sand, slightly uphill, almost no lip. For the setup, I use the acronym WOLF, which I'll also write in the sand as a reminder (Photo 1). The letters stand for WIDE stance (much wider than a regular pitch or chip from grass), feet and shoulders OPEN to the target and clubface open, LOW so you're squatty in the knees and weight FORWARD (Photo 2). Do these things and – this is very important – raise the right shoulder (for right-hand players) to get most of the weight forward, on your left side, and you've got the perfect set-up. You'll be stable. (Photos 3 and 4) Because your stance is open, your backswing will go vertical and all you need to do is hinge your wrists quickly (Photo 5) and release the shaft back down and through the sand with the clubface aiming at the sky as you finish. If the sand is firm or a little damp, it should stay on the clubface when you finish. Next, when practicing this shot, you want to draw a line in the sand about two inches behind the ball – which is playable for just about all surfaces – and work on hitting that line every time instead of the ball itself (Photo 6). The sand is your friend; slide the club through and it will carry the ball out of the bunker. If you don't have a particularly long shot, you'll finish low. The type of sand determines how fast the ball comes out. Firmer sand, the ball comes out faster; softer sand it comes out slower. 42 SPRING 2017 | WWW.NCGA.ORG 5 6 7 8

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