Do you have a look of dread when you find yourself in a green-side bunker? Unlike the professional golfers many amateurs struggle immensely with green-side bunkers and landing in one usually means a dropped shot. In this post we will give you advice and tips on how to escape from a green-side bunker so you can be more confident when out on the course.
As we have said in a previous post on fairway bunkers ‘prevention is better than cure’ and our advice for the green-side bunker remains the same. If you can avoid a green-side bunker, do so. OK, so how can you avoid a green-side bunker? Firstly you will need to know where the green-side bunkers are. On some holes it will be pretty obvious to see them from the fairway, but other holes with blind shots it may not be as easy. If it is a new course you are playing our advice is to buy a course planner from the pro shop and study the scorecard to establish where the bunkers are on each hole. Next you need to know your yardages (how far you hit each club) and if a green-side bunker is in play for you. If it is, then perhaps playing a different club may be a smarter move for you. On many par three holes the green is protected by bunkers at the front of the hole so take an extra club and play to the back of the hole this will take the bunker out of play for you.
If you are unfortunate to land in a green-side bunker then here are our essential tips to help you successfully escape the sand trap and hopefully save par.
Firstly you will need to create a solid base. Shuffle your feet into the sand until to reach firm ground. This will help ensure that you stay balanced throughout the golf swing. This also means that your swing arc will be lower than usual and will result in you hitting behind the ball. This is ok, you are looking for a sand then ball contact. The picture we want you to have in your minds eye is the ball coming out of the bunker on a carpet of sand.
The sand-wedge is designed to bounce off the sand so setting up to the ball you will need to open the clubface compared to your target line. If when you line up to your target line you are at 12 o’clock then we would like your feet, hips, shoulders aiming at 10 o’clock. This open stance will encourage you to swing out-to-in across the target line and keep the clubface open. If you are set up square to your target line the clubhead will simply dig into the sand and the ball will bump along just a few feet.
Next we want you to position the ball in the middle to front part of your stance. You are looking to strike the sand around one to two inches behind the ball so the sand lifts the golf ball out of the bunker. Remember when you are in a bunker to hover the clubhead and not to touch the sand. It is against the rules of golf to touch the ground with your club when in a hazard.
Finally swing smooth. You do not need power out of a green-side bunker. By keeping your swing smooth and relaxed you are less likely to dip your shoulder and fluff the shot. Your grip should remain consistently light throughout the swing and a good swing thought is to let the club do the work.
So now you know the theory of escaping from a green-side bunker, lets go to the practice area and try this out ….
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The Golf Talk team