Of course, that might be where the problem lies; but more often than you might think, a simple focus on improving your physical conditioning can resolve or at least improve the situation. Our first article – poor or inconsistent striking in bunkers – is a great example. Here’s why… and what you can do about it.
The ideal contact in bunkers sees the clubhead enter the sand an inch or so behind the ball. To hit that precise strike point, you need to keep the low point of the swing’s arc consistent.
Instability: a new low
The low point of the swing falls under the lead chest. If your lower body is not able to stablise your action correctly, your upper body slides back and/or forwards during the swing, shifting its low point.
The typical downswing flaw in sand sees the golfer slide forward, towards the flag. This moves the low point forward too, risking clean or thin contact. It also hinders the correct acceleration of the club.
That unwanted sliding motion tends to happen when the lead leg fails to support and contain forward weight shift. So rather than a complicated technical solution, quite often all that is needed is to wake up your leg muscles and remind them of their duty to stabilise impact. Find this more braced impact and your sand contact will instantly improve.
1 Lead leg-only swings
On the front foot
Position the ball opposite your lead toe and take your regular stance. Now withdraw your trail leg – either completely off the ground as shown, or you can balance on your toe cap. Make your swing from this position.
Do the legwork
With your platform compromised, your lead leg has to work much, much harder to keep you balanced. This is a great drill for anyone who struggles with sliding or hanging back; just focus more on building lead-leg stability than where the ball goes.
2 Splay Footed Swings
I want you to feel you are taking your lower body out of play in bunkers. To help you get this feeling, take a wider stance than normal. As you dig you feet in open up your feet and knees, so that both feet point out.
Just before you start the swing, get the feeling you are ‘sitting down’ more in the bunker. This, along with the splayed feet and knees, engages and braces the muscles in you legs, helping that sense of a rock-solid lower half.
Hit the spot
From here, just make your normal swing. Keep your eyes locked on the club’s entry point into the sand and feel the motion is driven by the hands, arms and upper body. With your lower half now stabilising better, you’ll hit that spot more often.