Some players fear greenside sand more than water or O.B., and with good reason—it takes them at least two swings to find the green. They either hit it fat and leave the ball in the trap, or they skull it across the green to who knows where. Sound like you? If so, here’s a simple, repeatable way to beat the bunker blues.
THE SOLUTION: WEAKEN YOUR GRIP
To overcome your fear of bunkers, you have to learn how to use the bounce on the sole of your sand wedge. This feature—the downward angle from the sole’s leading edge to its trailing edge—lets the club glide through the sand with little resistance, much like the rudder on a ship.
To put the bounce to good use, place your left hand on the club and rotate it well to the left, into a very “weak” position. Do the same with your right hand, so that the “Vs” formed by the thumb and forefinger on both hands point toward your left shoulder. Then position the ball 1 to 2 inches back of center and make your normal bunker swing, entering the sand a couple of inches behind the ball and exiting a couple of inches past it.
This ultra-weak grip makes the clubface open through impact, exposing the bounce to the sand. This lets the club glide under the ball and through the sand, not dig in with the leading edge. The ball rides a cushion of sand to the green, and your bunker demons become a distant memory.