Five tips to improve your game: escape any bunker

Five of Golf Monthly's top-25 coaches give advice on game improvement in a range of areas, from driving to chipping

Escape any bunker

John Jacobs Head pro, Cumberwell Park GC, Wilts

Fault:

- You struggle to get the ball out of bunkers - Your distance control from sand is poor

Fix:

There is one element above all others that lies at the heart of becoming a consistently good bunker player - taking the right amount of sand. The club needs to enter the sand about two inches before the ball but the problem that a lot of people have is committing to a technique that is so different to any other part of the game (how often are you required to hit the ground before the ball?). The good news is, there is nothing to fear as your margin for error is greater here than in with any other shot. But you will need to devote some time to this in practice and this classic old drill is the best way to do that. Use the handle of the rake to create two straight lines about six inches apart as I have done here. These tramlines represent where the club should enter and leave the sand. Simply concentrate on striking the back line (don't worry about the ball) and as long as you have enough clubhead through impact, the ball should emerge softly on a cushion of sand.

How to escape any bunker:

 

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, commissioning and feature writing. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email nick.bonfield@futurenet.com with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x