Adhere to a different approach than greenside bunkers

The main thing is to adopt a different set of concepts than you would for a greenside bunker shot. It can be as simple as creating a concise and easy checklist.

1-do not dig your feet in like you would for a normal bunker shot. Remember we are not trying to take any sand behind the ball.

2-try to feel that you limit as much leg action as possible so as not to increase your knee flex during the downswing. Excessive knee flex could potentially change your body height during the swing and create the dreaded fat shot.

3-when you address the ball address the club either at the equator of the ball or even at the top of the ball. I stole that concept from Greg Norman.

4-If there is no high lip in front of you don’t be afraid to use the same club you would normally use for the distance you are facing. Hybrids tend to glide very well thru the sand in a fairway bunker. That all changes if the ball is more forward in the bunker and you have to get it airborne quickly. Then you have to make sure you take more club and just get it out.

5-Develop a overall feeling of good arm structure and width during the swing to create a feeling of a shallow more “sweepy” type approach to the ball. If my student is a person who watches a fair bit of golf on TV and is aware of a lot of tour pros I will have them picture a swing more in the Steve Stricker or Zach Johnson mode. A wide sweeping arc with very calm wrists and hands. This look and feel can create a pattern that picks the ball off the sand. Probably the best image you can create is that the triangle that is formed by the shoulders, arms and hands is maintained throughout the entire motion.

To quote Nick Faldo this summer when describing Bryson DeChambeau’s swing, “See folks, the swing is just a giant chip shot,” Jason Day’s action for his overall short game is also a good image. He keeps his arms very structured without a lot of trail arm bend during the motion which in turn establishes a nice shallow downswing shape.