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Question on Bunkers:

I have a problem with bunkers. I hit fat shots.
--Mike D. from Pomona, CA

Hi Mike. Thanks for writing MyGolfInstructor.com. I'm looking forward to helping you improve your game.

Hitting bunker shots fat can be caused by issues with your set up or issues with your swing. Let's work on getting you set up correctly first.

- For greenside bunker shots set up with your clubface open. This is so that you can use the bounce built into the back of the clubhead. The bounce helps you cut through the sand and prevents you from digging too much and getting stuck. The more you open the face, the more of the bounce you will be able to use. This is very important for heavy, fluffy sand. If the sand is firm, wet or hard, you need less bounce so you can either set the clubface more square or use a lob or pitching wedge.

- Play the ball forward in your stance. Playing the ball back is a common mistake because unfortunately people still teach that it's correct. When the ball is back in your stance you will catch it on the down arc. This will hood the face taking away loft and make you actually push the ball deeper into the sand with your descending clubhead. If you position the ball forward in your stance you will catch it much more on the upswing and with a shallow angle of attack. This will prevent dig and add loft to the shot.

- Position your weight left. If your weight hangs or falls back during a bunker shot chances are you will hit well behind the ball and leave the shot in the bunker. Make sure you start and stay left to prevent backing up.

- Make sure to not dig your feet in too deep. This is a common mistake and the more you dig your feet down into the sand, the deeper you will hit. Stand more on top of the sand and only dig just enough to get some stability with your stance.

The last thing you may want to try is choking up some. I recommend to all my students that they choke up one inch so that there is less of a chance they will bury the clubhead in the sand.

Give these a try and if you are still having problems please feel free to write back. Also, here is an article that will really help:
Greenside Bunker Play:
www.mygolfinstructor.com/instruction/bunkers/greenside-bunker-play/

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