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  • BUNKER FUNDAMENTALS

  • PurePoint Golf Bunker Fundamentals

    Part OneAddress Position

    Part TwoThe Backswing: The Arm Swing

    Part ThreeThe Top of the Backswing: Arriving at the Top

    Part FourThe First Move from the Top: How to Start the Golf Club Down

    Part FiveImpact: Layer of Sand, and Then the Golf Ball

    Part SixFinish: From Impact to Finish and All of the Moves In Between

    Part SevenThree Different Distances: Clubface Square, Five Degrees, and Ten Degrees

    Part EightSand Firmness

    Part NineTypes of Lies

    1

    6

    7

    8

    9

    11

    12

    14

    15

  • Part OneAddress Position The Grip

    Gripping the golf club in the bunker is no different than gripping any other club for any other shot. When you are attempting to hit a bunker shot, you do not want to alter your grip. You can use the same grip you use to hit all of your full swings, since the swing you will use in the bunker is going to be very similar to the full swing you would use for a regular shot.

    It is very important to make sure you do not grip the club any tighter than you would for your normal full swing shots. Even if the ball is buried, you do not want to grip the club tighter.

    The grip is important to getting the golf ball out of the bunker, and it helps control the distance your shot travels. Depending on the distance you are looking for, the clubface has to return to the sand either square or open. I am going to explain in a later chapter how you are supposed to make this hap-pen.

    The Feet

    When you address the golf ball in the bunker, the golf ball should be forward in your stance, across from your left heel.

    Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your toes should be lined up parallel to your flight line. In other words, you want your toe line and the golf ball line to be parallel.

    If you aim your feet too far left of your target and you do not pay attention, you will wind up with the golf ball across from your right foot instead of your left foot. The more you turn your feet to the left of the target, the farther the ball creeps back in your stance.

    1

    Ball Forward in Stance, Across from Left Heel

  • Once you have the ball positioned correctly in your stance, move your weight to the balls of your feet and shift 75% of your weight to your left side. If you have struggled lately with your bunker shots, there is pretty good chance you might be aiming your feet too far to the left of your target.

    Be very careful not to bury your feet in the bunker as you address the golf ball. You need to get a firm grip of the sand with the soles of your shoes, however, you do not have to wiggle your feet back and forth until you are up to your knees in sand. The deeper you bury your feet, the lower your body be-comes in relation to the golf ball. If you bury your feet too much, you will hit behind the golf ball.

    With your feet shoulder-width apart, the ball positioned across from your left heel, and 75% of your weight on your left side, you are ready to check your knee position.

    The Knees

    The position of the knees is important to a successful bunker shot. Once you have your feet positioned in the bunker, make sure your knees are slightly flexed. They should remain slightly flexed during the entire swing.

    So many amateurs struggle with their knee action in the bunker. They mistakenly believe they can put more into the shot with their knees moving up and down. Playing shots from the bunker is difficult enough without any up and down movement in the knees during the shot. I am going to show you how to hit consistent bunker shots without moving your knees up and down.

    One of the most important things you have to remember to become a consistent bunker player is to make sure your lower half stays as quiet as possible. In other words, your knees have to have a slight, but consistent, flex in them at address, in the backswing, in the downswing, and during impact. They should not move up or down at any point during the swing.

    At address, both knees have to point straight over the top of the golf ball.

    2

    Both Knees Pointing Straight at Address

  • They cannot move more than a few inches during the backswing. With the full swing for a regular shot, the left knee has a tendency to move toward the right knee a few inches. During the bunker swing, the left knee should only move an inch or two at most toward the right knee.

    During the backswing, the upper body is moving and you are restricting the movement of the lower body. A bunker shot does not need the power of the legs, and that in itself is why the knees do not have to move during the backswing.

    During the downswing, you have to make sure you swing the golf club back into the sand, and again, you do not need any leg action during this part of the swing.

    After the clubhead enters the sand, you will need the power of the legs so you can make sure the clubhead comes out of the sand and help propel the golf ball out of the bunker. The left knee begins to move parallel to the target line after the clubhead enters the sand. As this happens, the right foot will begin to release, and the right knee will start turning toward the left knee. If the legs are driving down the line parallel to the target, the clubhead has to continue past the golf ball.

    On the other hand, if the clubhead reaches the bottom of the arc under the golf ball and your legs are not moving, you will have a tendency to leave the ball in the bunker. The reason is simple. You are swinging the golf club up in the backswing and down in the downswing, and the sand is softer than the turf in the fairway. If you swing the clubhead down into the sand without leg action, the club will continue to swing down deeper into the sand.

    Moving up the body, lets talk about the hips and what they are supposed to do in the bunker swing.

    The Hips

    When you address a bunker shot, you have to be bent over slightly from the hips. To feel the correct position of the hips, place your index fingers on your hip bone and push back slightly. Not having the hips in the correct position at address can lead to bad bunker shots.

    If you are bent over too much at the hips, you will have a tendency to hit fat bunker shots.If you are too tall in the hips, you will never find the sand in the downswing and you will hit it thin or top it.

    Also at address, the toes, knees, hips, and shoulders have to be set up parallel to the intended line you want the golf ball to travel on.

    When you swing the golf club up in the backswing, the hips have to stay as quiet as possible. You do not have to turn the hips when the golf club swings back. However, when the clubhead begins to enter the sand, the left hip has to move an inch or two toward the target, and then it has to turn back out of the way.

    3

  • As the clubhead enters the sand, the left knee is moving and the left hip has to follow. The reason the hip has to move is to help the clubhead come out of the sand. If the left hip gets stuck in the down-swing, the arms are not strong enough to move the clubhead through the sand on their own.

    The timing of the left hip movement is crucial. If the left hip moves down the line too soon in the downswing, the sand wedge will not reach the bottom of the arc, and you will top or scull the golf ball. If the left hip never moves in the downswing, the golf club will swing too steeply and run into too much sand, and you will leave the clubhead and the golf ball in the sand.

    The Shoulders

    The shoulders can be the death of becoming a good bunker player. There are two key aspects of shoul-der position in a bunker shot.

    The shoulders have to be square to your feet, knees, and hips. The shoulders have to be back, not hunched over.

    The sole purpose of the shoulders lining up correctly is for the arms and golf club to swing along this line in the backswing. In a later chapter, I will explain the backswing to you, and all of this will come together.

    In the meantime, I want you to focus on the role the shoulders play in the bunker swing. The golf club has to swing up and down on a steep angle. What that means is the arms and golf club have to swing along the shoulder line. When you swing the golf club up away from the golf ball, the shoulders can-not turn in the backswing.

    When you swing the golf club back in the full swing, the shoulders have to turn. In the bunker swing, the shoulders do not have to turn. As a matter of a fact, they should not turn, they should tilt up slight-ly in the backswing.

    4

    Shoulders Tilt Up in the Backswing

  • If the shoulders turn in the backswing, the golf club will swing too much inside. If the golf club swings too much inside in the backswing, the golf club will return too shallow in the downswing. This is a very difficult part of the bunker swing; I have always believed that proper shoulder movement is the secret to becoming a great bunker player.

    This is the best way to describe what you are trying to do in the bunker. When you tee off, you are trying to propel the ball out and down the fairway. For most shots in golf, you are trying to propel the ball a long way. In the bunker, you are trying to propel the golf ball up, not out. The swing path for a full swing is such a shape that it sends a ball out, and the bunker swing will send the ball up.

    The Chin

    For amateur golfers, the position of the chin when addressing a bunker shot can be just as confusing as the position of the knees. Most amateurs have their chin so far down in their chest at address that I cant tell if they are trying to hit the ball or count the grains of sand surrounding their golf ball.