Instruction

Private Lessons: Stay Aggressive in the Sand for More Up-and-Downs

Photo: Graham Gaches

Your arms, the club and your chest should form an imaginary triangle that maintains its shape and size from address through impact.

Aggressive swings are rewarded in greenside bunkers. Accelerating through impact is a must. Of course, when you're all square in a tight match and you face a greenside bunker shot with little green to work with, it's hard to convince yourself to be aggressive. Here are some keys to remember when you're in a bunker and the pressure's on.

Any time you have a tight pin location, you need spin to stop the ball close. Play the ball slightly farther forward than usual to encourage a shallower arc through the sand. The less sand there is between the ball and the clubface, the more spin you'll generate. To avoid moving laterally or forward and hitting the shot too fat or thin, keep your sternum centered at address and throughout the swing.

To create a lot of shot-stopping spin, play the ball slightly farther forward than you normally would.

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It's tempting to slow your swing under pressure, but that's the last thing you want to do—it takes speed to create spin. Turn your chest back together with your arms and the club, then aggressively rotate your chest to the target on the downswing. This will prevent your body from stalling and the clubhead from outracing your hands. If you keep your arms and the club connected to your chest and use your turn to power the clubhead through the sand, you'll knock it close!

Bunker Downslope Drill
An easy way to position the clubface for extra-smooth blasts.
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