Golf Lessons 101: Bunker Practice

First Thing you have to know about Bunkers is that there are many different types of Bunkers. There are Bunkers that are full of sand, Bunkers that have no sand, and Bunkers that have a little sand. In these different types of Bunkers there are also different types of Sand that you have to think about. With these different types of sand, there are different techniques for getting the ball out of the Bunker.

Types of Sand and Techniques

There are several different ideas about how to hit Bunker shots and to tell you the truth it actually depends on the type of sand you are playing out of that day.

Rocky Sand

  •  This type has a very thin layer of playable sand and usually has larger granules of sand that resemble rocks or small pebbles.
  • The shot required for this type of sand is a less traditional shot that is less “blast” technique and more of a “sweeping”motion through the sand. You will take a lot less sand  in this Bunker shot and you will have to control the distance of the shot by your swing speed and length of your swing.

Powdery Sand

  • This type of sand has a thick layer of very fine sand that is very easy to get through. You will probably notice that your feet sink in this type of sand and that it feels kind of like a beach.
  • Make sure, in this type of sand, that you get your feet and stance set because you might have a tendency to slide in this sand.
  • This is a good time to use the classic “blast” technique. Get in there and really dig that ball out of the sand. Get set and take a big swing attacking the sand at a steep angle into the sand. Make sure you finish your swing and keep the club accelerating through the sand.
  • Control the distance with this shot by taking more or less sand depending on the distance you are trying to cover. More sand for less distance and less sand for more distance.
Thin Powdery Sand (Hybrid)
  • This type of sand is much thinner than the powdery type but it still has the same type of consistency as the powdery sand. It will feel like beach sand under your feet but you will be a little more stable than the powdery type.
  • The technique for this type of sand is kind of a hybrid as well; you will be trying to “sweep” and “blast” the ball out of the sand. You will be trying to come in a little more shallow like the rocky sand, but you will control the distance of the shot by how much sand you take just like the powdery type of sand.
  • This type takes a little more time to get used to because the sand is very inconsistent in how deep it is (normally). Keep practicing and work on your feel for this types of sand.

For these tips and more keep checking for more posts each week. Send us your videos for a free golf lesson and free tips online from James or Brinson. Feel free to Contact Us any time.


Golf Lessons 101: Pitching Basics

Pitching, similar to chipping, is an essential part of scoring well.  The difference in the pitch shot is that the ball will travel through the air longer than it is on the ground.  Here are a few elements to consider in every pitch shot.

Pre-Shot Swing Thoughts

  1. Forward shaft lean – At address the hands should be slightly in front of the ball with the shaft leaning towards the lead leg, although not to the extent of the chip shot.
  2. Grip normal on the club – The grip should resemble that of a full swing.
  3. Ball position in the center of the feet – Play the ball in the center of your stance to help encourage a downward stroke.
  4. Weight favoring lead foot – The weight should be slightly towards the lead foot and not vary from that position throughout the swing.
  5. Feet and hips left of target, shoulders and clubface square to target – Although the feet and hips are aligned left, make sure to keep the clubface moving through impact towards the target line in a basic pitch shot.
  6. Narrow stance – The feet should be no more than 12 inches apart.

In-Swing Swing Thoughts

  1. Hands and arms back, arms through – The pitch shot incorporates a second lever with your wrists to help encourage a higher ball flight.  The clubshaft may reach 90 degrees to your lead forearm at the top of  your backswing.  Make sure your hands continue to move forward through impact with a flat left wrist.    
  2. Length of backswing determines distance – Depending on the shot and trajectory needed, the backswing may extend as high as a full swing, but the basic pitch shot will result in the hands no higher than the waist in the backswing.  It is important to make sure you are accelerating through the ball and finishing with your hands no lower than waist high in the follow through.
  3. No weight shift – Avoid shifting your weigh to the back foot.  Similar to the chip shot, this will make it difficult to produce a downward stroke and acceleration through impact.
  4. Downward stroke for more spin – Hitting down the on ball will allow more grooves to be in contact with the ball, producing more spin.  Avoid trying to add loft to the club and ‘swinging under the ball’ instead of through the ball.  Let the natural loft of the club do the work for you.

These golf tips are designed to help the average golfer improve their game.  If you have any questions or wish to receive your own personalized golf lessons feel free to contact us.

Golf Lessons 101: Chipping Fundamentals

The average golfer will hit less than half the greens in regulation, meaning that chipping will be a critical part of their game. Here are a few concepts to keep in mind the next time you find yourself needing to get up and down for par.

Pre-Shot Swing Thoughts

  1. Grip slightly down on the club – Maintain a grip consistent with that of the full swing, while choking down an inch or two on the club.
  2. Address will look more like impact position – As opposed to address for a full swing, the chip shot should start at impact position.  This will include a forward shaft lean, hands slightly ahead of the ball, and the grip end of the club pointed towards the lead hip.
  3. Weight slightly forward on lead foot – Your weight should favor the lead foot, but only slightly more than the trail foot.  This will encourage a downward stroke on the ball.
  4. Body alignment (feet, hips, and shoulders) left of target, clubface square to target – In the basic chip shot, make sure the path of the clubhead stays down the target line through impact.
  5. Ball position closer to trail foot – This also encourages ball-first contact and a downward stroke on the ball.
  6. Narrow stance – Address the ball so that your feet are approximately 4-6 inches apart and slightly open to the target.

In-Swing Swing Thoughts

  1. Arms back and through, no wrist action – The arc of the swing will be made using just your arms and little to no wrist action.  The additional lever in the swing is not needed unless you are trying to promote a higher ball flight (the pitch shot) or need to produce spin.
  2. Accelerate through with club reaching bottom of swing arc past the golf ball – This swing thought is very important to avoid ‘chunking’ your chip shot.  Once again, you want to encourage a downward stroke on the ball and make sure that you are accelerating through impact with your hands.
  3. Length of backswing and follow through are equal – The clubhead should never be higher than the hands.  The amount of acceleration will help determine the distance the ball will travel.
  4. No weight shift – Focus on keeping most of your weight on your lead foot.  Any weight shift back will make it difficult to hit down on the ball and accelerate through impact.

These golf tips are designed to help the average golfer improve their game.  If you have any questions or wish to receive your own personalized golf lessons feel free to contact us.

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