by Frank Peter
The following Golf Lesson is reprinted with permission from the "Golf Beginner Guide", a full 272 page resource for Golf Beginners. For only $29.50 you get an incredible amount of invaluable tips, lessons and advice - great value for money. Click the above link to find out more!
When attempting a bunker shot, most amateurs know to twist their feet into the sand. This is a good idea, but how you should do this varies depending on the lie. Ignoring different types of lies and ball positions in the sand sets you up for poor balance, slipping, and an inability to control ball flight--not to mention higher scores! Consistently practice these footwork basics and watch your sand play become more predictable.
Ball Below Feet: Use Less Lower Body
This is perhaps the toughest position, because there is a tendency to fall forward during the swing and change your spine angle. Dig your heels into the slope here and try to feel as though the weight is on the balls of your feet. You'll need a little more knee flex, as well, to keep you from topping the ball. Try to maintain the same amount of flex throughout the swing. Remember less is better when it comes to using leg and lower-body action--especially on this difficult shot!
Downhill Lies: Set Your Weight
Gravity forces most of your weight on the downhill or lower leg. Make sure to set your weight on the inside of the forward foot for more stability. I also recommend that you turn out your toe slightly to help absorb the extra weight transfer caused by gravity. Normally, you would open your stance considerably in the sand. But, on these shots, you have to be careful. If you open the stance, your right leg is in the way of your swing. To avoid this, pull your back foot away a few inches.
Uphill Lies: Brace Yourself
With gravity working to keep your weight on the downhill leg, it's important to brace it firmly into the sand. Angle your leg into the slope so that the weight is on the inside of the downhill leg and so that when you swing, the weight will be easier to shift forward.
Ball Above Feet: Adjust Your Aim
The first adjustment to make is to dig your toes in deeper than your heels. This helps keep you level and makes it easier to stay balanced. Keep the legs flexed. Aiming a bit to the right and using a slightly open stance is also recommended--as uphill lies tend to promote a hook or pulled shot.
Buried Lie: Use the Right Twist
The deeper you submerge your feet into the sand, the deeper the club enters the sand. So if the ball is only slightly buried, you needn't twist in too deep. For a severely buried lie, it helps you get under the ball if you twist in to the approximate depth of the buried lie. For this type of shot, you'll need to pick up the club steeply and hit down and through on a sharp U-like swing plane.
Obviously, the best advice is to stay out of these tough lies but we all know that's easier said than done. Besides, this game wouldn't be any fun if it weren't challenging?