We go to Arcadian Shores on this edition of Tee It Up Grand Strand to get a tip playing out of the bunker from PGA General Manager, Frank Coughlin. Playing from bunkers is a scary proposition for many amateur golfers. Frank always has good playing tips for us so we are excited to see what he has to tell us.
The difference between amateurs and professionals when it comes to playing from sand traps is the confidence. Amateur golfers dread landing in a green side bunker whereas many professionals actually look to miss shots into bunkers so that they can play out of them if they miss the green. Aside from the obvious difference in skill level, the fact that pros are comfortable in the traps is the main difference. As they say, practice makes perfect.
There is a drill that Frank likes to use to work on improving bunker play and gaining confidence. He puts a tee into the sand and sinks it so that the head of the tee is level with the sand. Then he sets up to the ball with the face of the sand wedge open a few degrees from square. In addition to opening the clubface we want to open up the stance. Frank suggests opening the stance about 45 degrees to the target. This is because the swing is through the ball with the clubface open and that causes the ball to release away from the body.
The reason for the tee is to give the golfer something to focus on hitting. We always hear about hitting the sand behind the ball when in the bunker. The tee provides something to try to hit and gives instant feedback as to whether we hit the shot correctly or not. Hit the tee and not the ball and the shot was played right. And remember to follow through on the swing.
Practice this shot on in a bunker at the driving range. Put the ball on a tee flush with the sand. Open the clubface a few degrees and open the stance 45 degrees. Swing along the angle of the stance. Hit the tee underneath the ball. Follow through the swing. Watch the ball land on the green and head toward the pin. This is a simple drill that can provide much needed confidence for amateurs confronted with a green side bunker shot in their next round. It works!
For more information or to get a lesson from Frank Coughlin at Arcadian Shores visit the website at www.arcadianshoresgolf.com or call the pro shop at 843-449-5217.