Beat Sand With a New Perspective

Thursday May 5th, 2011
Trying to hit an imaginary ball positioned four to five inches behind the real one helps you create the perfect divot.
Leonard Kamsler

Year after year we receive questions and concerns from students and readers about how to consistently and reliably escape from greenside sand. This isn't very surprising — in an extensive poll taken exclusively for my new book, Golf Without Fear, players just like you voted the bunker shot one of the most feared shots in golf.

In this instruction manual I tackle the ten most feared shots using a unique perspective, brought to life with the "golfer's-eye view" camera angle developed by Leonard Kamsler, a legendary photographer who has shot most of my instruction over the years. We use the golfer's-eye view because seeing shots from a new perspective may be just what you need to shake up your game and get you back on the right track, especially if you've been struggling with shots on the course.

Take, for example, the standard bunker blast from a good lie in sand. Instead of just walking into the hazard and addressing your ball as it lies there, try addressing a second, imaginary ball behind the real one. Set your imaginary ball about 4 to 5 inches behind the real ball, and address it as though it were sitting on an imaginary line running out from the middle of your stance. This will automatically position the real ball forward in your stance.

Next, rotate the face of your wedge open (to the right) and regrip it in the new position. Aim your stance slightly left of the flagstick, and then try to hit the imaginary ball while swinging along your stance line using a three-quarter motion. Make sure you hit the imaginary ball flush, not behind it, just like you would for a normal wedge shot from grass.

Notice how this technique leaves a divot just beyond where the imaginary ball was sitting — but directly underneath the real ball. This is textbook. And because the clubface was open, it easily scooted under and past the real ball without digging, floating it up and out on a nice cushion of sand.

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