DON’T GET CUTE—GET OUT! SAVE A FEW STROKE WITH A CONSERVATIVE APPROACH
I know you’ve probably tried to
do this before, but if you want to
break 80 you have to learn how to
get out of greenside and fairway
bunkers on the first try, every time.
I’m sure you can go back to numerous
rounds and count up the number
of strokes you left in the sand, simply
because you either couldn’t pop the
ball out on the first try or you made a
The first thing you need to change
about your bunker play is your strategy.
When you land in a fairway bunker, forget
about going for the green. I know it’s
tempting at times, particularly when
you have a good lie, but don’t do it.
Unless you’re supremely confident and
competent at these shots, you should
simply lay the ball up to a comfortable
distance and try to get up and
down for par. In a greenside bunker,
you should take the same approach.
Don’t worry about going at the flag—
just get the ball out and somewhere on the green. Remember, one of your
main goals is to avoid double-bogeys,
and these situations are ones in which
you are in danger.
HOW TO BLAST IT OUT CONSISTENTLY
Before you begin practicing, you need
to make sure you have a wedge with
plenty of bounce and plenty of loft.
This combination is critical. Then you
need to learn to slap the sand out of the
bunker. That’s all you really have to do,
and I recommend practicing with a
broken tee or a pebble before you use
a ball. Just work on slapping the sand,
not digging in, and you’ll get the hang
of it soon enough.
WEEK 6 DRILL: 10 BALLS OUT
Strategy is one thing, but you stiil have to hit the shot. Believe me,
getting the ball out on one try is not very difficult if you put in a bit
of practice using the techniques described on the opposite page.
I suggest finding a bunker at your practice range and
starting with 10 balls. Line them up with the simple goal
of popping each one out on the first try. Don’t worry about
distance, spin, or even direction. Work on this until you can get
at least 8 out of 10 out on the first try. What you’ll find is that
your fear of the sand disappears because you’re not stressed
over hitting it close. You’ll swing a bit more freely and relaxed.
This will improve your results more than if you worked on
trying to stick the pin every time.
WEEK 6 ACTION PLAN: (3 HOURS)
1. 10 Balls Out
Find a practice bunker
and drop 10 balls in the
sand. Hit all 10 with the
simple goal of getting
each one out on the
first try. When you leave
one in the sand, start
over until you can get
all 10 out in a row.
2. Lock in Your Speed
on your lag-putting
skills with the Speed
Drill from Week 4.
3. Scoring Club
Perform the wedge drill
from Week 1. At this
point in the six-week
plan, you should have
reached your goal of
getting at least 70
percent of your wedge
shots into a 10-yard
radius with each club.
4. Cross-the-Line Drill
on your go-to drive from Week 2.
5. Pitch/Chip Drill
Continue the drill from
Week 3. Get all 10
balls close to the hole.
Review (30 minutes):
Use the worksheets to
see how close you are
to each of the goals
associated with the
five main drills.