Saturday, March 29, 2008

Easy Sand Escapes

Use this visual to beat your fear of bunkers

By Dave Pelz
Technical and Short Game Consultant, GOLF Magazine
Published: March 01, 2008

I teach three fundamentals for setting up to blast shots from sand.

The first is to play the ball opposite the instep of your left foot. This forward position allows your wedge to enter the sand behind the ball as it travels along its natural swing arc.

The second is to grip your wedge with its clubface wide open — rotated clockwise 45 degrees — so the flange "bounces" off the sand.

Lastly, aim a little left of your target to compensate for the open clubface, otherwise you'll miss to the right.

These basics take care of your setup. But what about your swing? Just think "Dollarbill long, half-tee deep." Those are the dimensions of a perfect sand divot.

Ken Venturi used this image for years. He said he wasn't trying to make a perfect divot every time he hit a sand shot, but by understanding the length and depth of a perfect divot he had a perfect visual image of what would happen if he made a good swing. Take advantage of Venturi's wisdom and practice it a few times.

As you address the ball in the sand, imagine a dollar bill with a tee under it. Set your feet so the back edge of the dollar bill is in the center of your stance.

Then aim left, regrip with the clubface open, waggle and make your normal wedge swing.

Your wedge should enter the sand at the back end of the imaginary dollar bill, cut the imaginary tee in half as it passes under the ball, and exit the sand at the front end of the bill.

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