Become a Sand Wizard

By Brad McManus, Director, International Golf Institute

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All it really takes to improve your bunker play is an understanding of what you are trying to do, a sound technique and a little hard work.

The Understanding 
Most beginners and high handicappers believe that we are trying to dig the ball out of the sand, using the leading edge of the club. That is the worst thing you can do! Unless the sand is firm and compact.
 
Here at NSRCC Changi and at most courses in Singapore we tend to have a lot of and very soft sand in our bunkers. If you dig, or your angle of attack is too steep, you go straight under the ball and it stays in the bunker.

You need to use the BOUNCE of the club.

Bounce is the angle from the “trail end” of the club’s “sole” to the leading edge.

The softer the sand, the greater the angle of bounce we need. That’s why we open the face and lean the shaft backwards, not forward; we don’t want to expose the leading edge, we want to increase the angle of bounce, so it slides through the sand and pushes the ball up and out.

 

The Technique 

  • Ball position – inside left heel and level with the left ear

  • Stance – wide like a driver stance, dramatically open the front foot at least 45 degrees, lean into the left knee in the same direction as the front foot, squat down.

  • Club – Open the club face and have the grip pointing to your belly button.

  • ¾ length swing (both backswing and follow through)

  • Hit the sand about 2inches behind the ball

  • Let the clubhead pass your hands upon impact with the sand

  • Balanced and stable, no weight transfer here, get your weight on your left knee throughout

 
Now for the hard work aspect – COME AND PRACTICE – It’s that simple!

Article first published in NSRCC magazine Resort View, Jan/Feb 2020 issue.

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Brad McManus is Singapore’s former National Golf Coach and the Head Golf Coach of Singapore Sports School. Brad has coached players to over 60 tournament victories worldwide. Read more about him here!