by Nigel Gibson (PGA Professional Kingston Heath, VIC)
Financial Review Article
March 10th 2001
Do you sometimes
leave the ball in the bunker or skull it over the green?
This is a typical
problem for many amateur players. The main problem is that the leading
edge of your sand iron is digging into the sand creating too much sand
between the clubface and the ball. When this occurs you tend to leave
the ball in the bunker. Once this happens a few times most players then
attempt to enter the sand closer to the ball. In the end you are trying
to enter the sand that close to the ball that you end up striking the
ball first and sending the ball over the green.
On good lies where
the ball is sitting up on top of the sand the secret is to have the back
edge or bounce of the sand iron entering the sand first so the club then
slides through the sand cutting out just a thin layer. To do this we need
to set the clubface slightly open (about 10 - 20 degrees) and the butt
end of the grip pointing toward your belt buckle. This will promote the
back edge of the club to enter the sand first.
All that is required
from here is a narrow cut of sand. Many players still attempt to try and
really dig the ball out of the sand and end up dropping their body level
to do so. A good drill is to make swings in the practice bunker just taking
narrow cut of sand about the size of a $20 note. Make sure that you have
set the clubface slightly open and at set up you have started with the
butt of the club pointing toward your belt buckle. Once this is working
properly you need to check that you have the club entering the sand continuously
in the same spot. This is quite easy to check. Simply draw a line in the
sand and use this line as the position that the ball would be at set up(generally
just slightly forward of center). Make swings going through this line.
You are looking to have the line through the middle of the divot. After
completing this drill be sure to have a few practice shots in the bunker
using a line in the sand to check where the club enters and exits the
sand in relation to where the ball was laying.
However if the ball
is plugged beneath the sand the clubface will have to dig rather than
slide. To set the club to dig, slightly close the clubface and set your
hands a little in front of the ball as you would for a chip shot. Once
again you can use the drill that was mentioned above to ensure that the
clubface is entering and exiting the sand correctly.
You will have a great
opportunity to watch the Australian Tour Players in action over the next
few weeks. Be sure to pay particular attention to how they go about playing
these types of shots around the greens.