Celebrating their 25th Anniversary (see page 12)
Monthlytotuition gettop youofon topgame of your thly tuition get youtoon your bygame by Advanced PGA Lady Professional, Katie anced PGA Lady Professional, Katie DawkinsDawkins
In it off the tee! Escaping the fairway trap with ease… Fairway bunkers can be a bit of a vague area with many golfers, some feel they should hit a sand iron because after all they are in the sand, some grab the 3 wood out of the bag with the intention of nailing it as far up the hole as possible. This can be a costly exercise, here’s how to make sure a sandy tee shot doesn’t result in your score being buried! First… Take a good look at the height of the bunker lip. This will determine your club selection, the higher the lip the more loft you need to clear it. Take more than enough loft to guarantee a clean exit. You may find there is hardly any lip so a rescue club or 7 wood may prove extremely effective. If there is trouble before the green then it might be worth laying up, so bear this in mind when selecting your weapon. Remember, our main aim is to get out first time. Go through your usual pre-shot aiming routine and ensure to take you practice swing bruising the grass outside the bunker. To get the ball to fly a good distance you must strike the ball extra clean, almost thinning it out. Any contact with the sand will absorb a good deal of you power.
Based at Ampfield Club Meon Valley Based at Ampfield GolfGolf Club andand Meon Valley Country Club GolfGolf andand Country Club
Pitching the easier way As I mentioned last month, this month I would show you another method of pitching that is a bit more user friendly. If you didn’t see last month’s issue on pitching, I would suggest you read that one before reading this one!
The pictures that accompany this article are of George Saunders. George, who has been capped for England, was voted 2017 Hampshire Player of the Year. He has a pitching action that is very user friendly. When I say user friendly, I mean that this action has a bigger margin for error than the action featured in last month’s article.
b) Hold the club a little tighter than you would normally do, this shortens your forearm muscles therefore lifting the base of the arc of your swing enough to nip the ball off the surface.
Just as a reminder, the article featured an action where the hands are well ahead of the club head before impact, making the angle of attack fairly steep. To avoid chunking into the ground, the hands have to move upwards slightly through impact as the club releases. Mistakes can be made by either the club releasing without the hands lifting or the hands lifting without the club releasing. This means that the timing of the two ends has to be very precise. If the timing is out, the shot can be thinned one minute and chunked the next.
c) Play the ball slightly forward in your stance – nearer your front foot so you strike it slightly on the up-swing.
No need for all this precise timing in George’s swing. He is sliding the club beautifully under the ball and has no fear of junking or thinning from even the tightest of lies.
Wiggle your feet into the sand a touch – just enough to give you a solid base. The biggest threat to this shot is an over-active lower body; you should feel the upper body is dominant and you’re swinging it more with your arms.
In the picture of him approaching the ball, notice there is not much of an angle between the left arm and the shaft of the club. No trying to lag the club in this action. Approaching the ball like this means that the club head is coming into the ball on a nice wide landing angle. Having this width makes it very easy for George to use the bounce of the club rather than the leading edge at impact.
a) Grip down the club a touch
Now look at the impact. See how the club head is directly under the hands, which means he is using the bounce on the club beautifully. No turning the club into a digging tool for George. Now look at the post impact picture. See how the left wrist has broken down slightly; something that many golfers try to avoid like the plague. This breaking down of the left wrist has allowed the club to pass the left arm without closing the club face, thus ensuring that the bounce of the club stays in play. I have found my best fairway bunker shots occur when I hover the club over the top of the ball at address, this again encourages that slightly thin shot. Take the club away nice and smooth, think tempo with this shot as you need control to pull it off. Above all practice the fairway bunker shots, with a seven iron if the lip allows. You can then tinker with exactly how much to squeeze the club, how high to hover the club head above the ball etc. Most importantly it will give you confidence to stride into that fairway trap and escape with ease.
Just a thought:
• Take more than enough loft to clear the bunker’s lip, rescue clubs are great out of fairway sand. • Hover your club over the ball at address to encourage you to strike ball first, not sand. • Being confident with fairway bunker shots will ease the pressure off the tee; you won’t be too concerned about going in them if you know the secret of getting out of them!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this two part series on pitching. If you need a little help with yours, please don’t hesitate to get in contact.
• PRACTICE, you will never get confident if you don’t. Good Luck!
If you need some help deciding how to improve your striking please contact me.
I’m officially on maternity leave until next Feb, but I am always happy to answer emails and give advice. So fire away and enjoy your golf… email: email@example.com
Mobile: 07787 887578 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: mbtourcoach.com
22 TEE TIMES | March 2018