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Sick of hitting great shots up the fairway, only to throw them all away in the bunker? Here’s Golf Professional Gillian Rae’s tips for getting out in one, and landing where you need to.
‘Whenever I give a bunker lesson I hear two common problems: ‘how do I get the ball out of the bunker?’ and ‘how do I get height?’.
Getting the ball out: the number one error made by golfers is ‘quitting’ – or in other words, not getting through the ball and completing the swing. The fear of hitting the ball too far or trying to manipulate the shot makes the player decelerate or even worse – stop the swing.
To address this, a consistent, balanced finish is required, completing the pivot using your body not the hands and arms. My tip to achieve this is to hold or squeeze your breasts and not let go. This is on both the back swing and the follow through. Imagine (or in practice even place) a small towel under each armpit, make your swing and don’t let it fall. This exercise maintains your connection and forces you to use your body and move back and through.
Getting Height: to gain more height, firstly use a lob or sand wedge, place the ball forward in your stance, weight slightly on your front side. Imagine your swing is more like a ‘V’.
Use the hinge in your elbow; bend it early to create a ‘pick up’ feel. This will create a steeper path as the club head strikes the sand because it is moving more ‘up and down’. You must hit the sand and you must hit the sand out. The steepness of the swing will give you a more downward blow and maintaining the connection on the way through will push the sand out.
Think – Up, Down and Through!
Practice: Draw a line in the sand and practice hitting the line. It will make you more precise in your connection.
Gillian is a certified P.G.A Professional, conducting lessons at Moore Park Golf Club, Golf Paradise Driving Range and Terry Hills Par 3 club – contact 0413 011 148 www.gillianrae.com.au