Get it right at set-up and you’ll take some of the sting out of the 50 yard bunker shot as Golf Monthly Top 25 Coach Peter Dawson explains
50 yard bunker shot checklist * Keep weight 60 per cent on the front foot throughout * Aim to take ball and sand together * Think full and slow, not short and quick
1) Set-up basics The tricky 50 yard bunker shot is one of golf’s toughest – too much sand and we leave it short; too little and we might send it 50 yards over the green! So what are the set-up basics before you even start the swing?
It’s important to build a good stance, so shuffle your feet firmly into the sand. Take one or two clubs more than you might from a greenside bunker and grip down the club a little for added control.
2) Weight forward As with chipping around the green, your weight should be 60 per cent on the front foot, which in turn promotes the earlier wrist break you need for this shot as you take the club back.
Take a fullish three-quarter swing, keeping your weight 60 per cent on your front foot throughout – this encourages you to come down a little more steeply into the ball and stops the club bottoming out too early.
3) How much sand? The goal is to take ball and sand together – not four or five centimetres behind, nor too cleanly. A great idea is to place an alignment stick down a couple of inches behind the ball (or perhaps draw a line in the sand until you’re feeling confident).
As long as you start with your weight 60 per cent on your lead side and keep it there, your wrists will naturally break early, and come in steep enough to miss the line or stick and take ball and sand at the same time.
Please note, this can vary a little with swing speed – you’ll need to take a little more sand if you swing fast, and a little less with a slower swing. Experiment in practice to find your perfect contact point.
Watch as GM Top 25 Coach Peter Finch explains how a bank note can help your bunker play
4) Full and slow, not short and quick
Make sure you take the club far enough back, and remember it’s a pendulum swing, so don’t stop at the ball coming down – keep the club moving on into a three-quarter follow-through too.
Some golfers panic on this shot, don't go back far enough, then swing too fast and sit back on their trailing leg resulting in all sorts of mishits. So swing slowly and in control. Think full and slow rather than short and fast.
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