By Greg Stephens, Director of Golf
April is coming to a close, and the golf season is about to go into full swing. This is the perfect time to dial in your game, so this month we’ll be focusing on getting out of greenside bunkers. Rees Jones did a great job at strategically placing every one of the bunkers on the course he designed here at the Victory Ranch. Here are a few key factors that will keep the bunkers from getting the best of you.
- Sand Moves The Ball
- The first key to understanding the bunker shot is understanding that the club never touches the ball.
- The clubhead needs to enter the sand 3”-5” behind the ball; this allows the sand to push the golf ball into flight.
- A Solid Pre-Swing Setup
- Get in an athletic address position with your feet wider than they typically are.
- Bend your knees a lot more than you normally would and drop your rear end lower than normal.
- Stand a little further away from the ball than normal and keep most of your weight on your left foot (if you are right-handed).
- Set the face of the club open and then take your grip; set your hands lower than normal.
- Ball position should be forward and your hands in line with the clubhead, so slightly behind the ball.
- Takeaway – Impact – Release
- Hinge the club early in your takeaway. This will help you create a steeper swing plane which in turn will allow you to deliver the clubhead behind and slightly below the golf ball.
- Enter the sand 3”-5” behind the ball and accelerate through the shot.
- The depth that clubhead digs into the sand should be fairly shallow. Imagine a tee underneath the ball in the sand—you’re trying to chop the tee from under the ball.
- As you follow through, focus on keeping the clubface pointed to the sky. This prevents the traditional release of the club and allows for a high, soft shot.
- Do Practice Drills
- Draw a line in the sand perpendicular to your target line, about 3”-5” behind where the ball would be. Focus on making contact with the line. Good hand-eye coordination is crucial for hitting good bunker shots.
- Draw a box around your golf ball in the sand and practice “splashing” the entire box of sand out of the bunker. This is a great drill to take your focus off of the golf ball itself.
- Place the ball on a tee and press the tee all the way into the sand so you cannot see it. Now try to hit the tee underneath the ball.
Greg joined the Victory Ranch team in January of 2013 to oversee Victory Ranch Club operations. Prior to joining Victory Ranch, Greg spent eight years as a PGA Golf Professional at neighboring Tuhaye. Greg has extensive experience working with high-end private clubs including Isleworth Country Club in Winderemere, Florida. With a passion for golf, the outdoors, and winter sports, Greg is at home in the Park City area and takes great pride in providing excellent service to Victory Ranch’s members and their guests.