I know for a lot of people the thought of a bunker shot can induce mild panic, but I’ve always felt that playing from the sand can be fun – provided you have the right set-up.
Because of the open clubface, the ball will want to squirt out to the right, so you will need to align yourself left of the target.
In the above pictures I have drawn two lines to indicate the targetline between the ball and the flag and the line that the swing should follow – parallel to your feet.
Now, when you take the club away, it will feel like the club is going back outside the line between you and the flag, but since you have set up aiming left of the target (with an open clubface), you simply need to swing down the new line and trust the club’s open face to do the rest.
What’s important here is that when you swing through the ball it feels like you are pulling the club with your leading hand, hitting the sand fractionally behind the ball to see it sail high and true.
The next time you are at the practice range, try this open clubface drill and don’t be surprised if the results are spectacular!
The ideal result is to get the ball coming out high and landing softly – with a bit of spin to stop it right next to the flag.
To get that height, you will need to open the clubface, but where most ammies get it wrong is that they only open the clubface once in the bunker.
Essentially they are using the same grip, just with a cock of the wrists, but what’s always worked better for me is to open the clubface outside of the bunker, where the club may touch the ground, and then re-grip in the open position.
It’s a subtle difference that helps you pull the club under the ball rather than throw it at the ball.
Sally Little is Compleat Golfer’s special playing editor. In over 30 years on the LPGA Tour, she won 15 times, including two Major championships and the Kraft Nabisco Championship before it was granted Major status.