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VAry length in How to master your distance control from those big B y R a p h a e l Ja c q u e l i n euroPEAN TOUR W INNER
WORDS BY peter mASTERS PHOTOGRAPHY BY howard boylan
A lot of amateurs have trouble gauging how far they hit the ball from a greenside bunker. If you look at the trap here, the difference between playing a shot from under the lip at the front to finding the green from the back is quite considerable. Let me go through my basics for bunker play and explain how I control the distance.
124 JUNE 2010 // www.golf-world.co.uk
Know the geometry I’ve drawn some lines in the sand here to represent the different paths that the body, club and ball take. You need to understand these before we go any further. We have the line of my feet which is parallel to the arc of the swing. The line that finishes to the right is where the clubface is aiming and the line in the middle is the target line which is the one followed by the ball.
Don’t have the ball too far forward in relation to your feet at address. A lot of amateurs position the ball forward and that makes consistency of strike difficult because you’re reaching for it.
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We all know that you swing along the line of your feet so that the club slides through the sand, under the ball. With the clubface wide open, the ball will come out high and soft in the direction of the flag. But there are some key points that need to be made with regard to technique.
www.golf-world.co.uk // JUNE 2010
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Watch the right foot
The short shot
Many poor bunker players struggle with the shorter shot because they have too much leg movement, which makes an accurate strike impossible. A great tip is to keep your right foot planted at impact like mine is here.
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stable base Keep the back foot flat on the sand to calm down excess leg movement.
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Keeping the right foot still will help eradicate this fault – the knee slide. In a normal shot your knees move towards the target, but out of sand try and keep them solid. This will enable you to stay centred over the ball for longer. You don’t want your weight transferring to the left too soon or you’ll get steep – forcing the ball out low and hot.
✘ 126 JUNE 2010 // www.golf-world.co.uk
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The mid-range shot
The longer shot
Whenever I practise my bunker play, I always work on taking the same amount of sand every time. Distance control comes from the length and speed of your swing and not the amount of sand you take. For a slightly longer shot, I won’t stand quite so open to the target; I’ll square the clubface a little more and I’ll look to lengthen the swing a touch. Your other option here, of course, is to take a club with less loft. If I used my 58º lob wedge for the short shot I might change to a 52º version here.
The same rules apply as before in that I’ll lengthen the swing to a full shot and not strike quite so much across the line. Do remember, though, that you need to have the club slightly open whenever you play a bunker shot. This is to allow the bounce of the club to work so that you don’t bury it too deeply into the sand. For very long greenside shots, when you have room to run the ball out to the pin, don’t be afraid to try your other irons, an 8-iron perhaps. Open the face slightly so that it doesn’t dig in and experiment. You might be surprised by the results for what is a tough shot in anyone’s book.
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in the bag
remember my bunker rules
The openness of your stance and that of the clubface is related. If you’re standing very open then the clubface is too, but when you’re less open, the clubface should also be slightly squarer.
Particularly on the shorter shots, keep low through impact.
Use your knees for stability by keeping them still.
Try and keep your right foot planted flat at impact.
Take the same amount of sand on every shot. Length and speed of swing give you distance control.
Driver: TaylorMade, R9 SuperTri 9.5°. Shaft: UST, Proforce V2 69-X. Fairway wood: TaylorMade R9 15°. Shaft: UST, Axivcore 69-X. Hybrid: TaylorMade Rescue 09 TP 19°. Shaft: UST, Axivcore 85-X. Irons: TaylorMade Tour Preferred 08. Wedges: TaylorMade Z TP 52° & 58° (see above) Putter: TaylorMade Rossa Suzuka Ball: TaylorMade Penta TP Shoes: adidas Tour 360 4.0
www.golf-world.co.uk // JUNE 2010