Golf Tip: Bunker shots

Playing from the bunker is not as difficult as one may think. The golfer's problems often stem from trying to do too many things to extricate themselves from the sand. The adjustments from the full swing are few and quite subtle. The bunker shot is almost identical to the pitch shot.

To play this shot successfully, the sand must be struck anywhere from one to three inches behind the ball. The club must "splash" through the sand with the result that the ball flies on a bed of sand about the size of a dollar bill.

Aim the body slightly to the left of the target; a line across the toes, hips and shoulder should point to the left of the flag. The ball should be positioned inside of the left heel, slightly forward of the position for a regular shot. This ball position helps to ensure that the sand is struck first. The shaft should be vertical from the sand and the face of the club turned slightly to the right (open).

As with the pitch, the club head is swung back outside of the hands. Swing the hands to chest high. At this point the shaft is vertical, pointing straight down. The forward swing is achieved by turning the body to face the target (as with any other shot, the hands swing through to chest high, mirroring their backswing position). At the completion of the swing, the club head is turned to the right, a reflection of its starting position. This position also helps to let the club splash through the sand.

The chest should be over the front foot at the finish of the swing. There must be no conscious wrist action or attempt to get under the ball; think firm hands through impact.

Practice bunker shots by swinging back and forth equal distance, chest high each way. Feel the arms swinging in conjunction with the turning of the body. Let the club splash through the sand. In no time, the ball will pop out of the bunker consistently. Vary the length of the shot by shortening or lengthening the swing.

- Junior lesson program at Eagle Valley Golf Courses is going well. Drop in lessons are from 4:30-6 p.m. Wednesday, $7 per person. Next junior camp is Aug. 1-3, from 4-6 p.m. each day. Cost is $55. Call 885-8225 to sign up.

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