Remember board games? They were fun and simple. If bunker play gets you shaking in your spikes, this board game is for you!
You’ll need a piece of sturdy wood about one-foot by two-feet and two colored markers that are not permanent. Examine the design of your sand wedge. It’s different than any of your other clubs because it has something called “bounce” on its bulky bottom. Take a green marker and color the bottom bounce of your sand wedge. Now take a red marker and mark the leading edge of that same club and you’re ready to bring it to the “board meeting.”
Lay the board down on a driving range, and set up to the board as if there were a ball on it to hit. Remember that the bunker shot differs from a regular hit because at impact it does not require a leaning shaft with the handle ahead of the ball. In fact, this is the worst thing you can do, as it will cause the leading red edge to enter and get stuck in the sand. So, at address, make sure your hands start “behind“ the ball rather than ahead. Now, make some swings onto the wood. Allow the green bottom (bounce) of the sand wedge to leave green marks on the wood. If you see a red mark on the wood, you hit with the leading edge of the club first.
Now, put a small mound of sand on the board topped off with a ball. Pick a spot about two inches behind the ball and stare at the sand there, as this is where you’ll want the club to enter the sand. (Note: Don’t look at the ball, because it’s not what we want to hit!) Allow the green bottom bounce to slide under and through, with the intention of hearing the bottom (not the leading edge) of the club loudly clunk the board.
Now, take your board into a practice bunker. Dig it in to the firmer sand below the fluffy stuff, and then cover it with sand so that it’s not visible. Put a ball on top, pick your spot two inches behind to stare at, and go for the sound of the bottom of the club hitting the board. Once you’ve experienced that success and you feel the board was “there” for you, move away and try a shot without the board. You won’t hear the sound you’ve gotten used to, but you will have learned the motion to teach you that bounce is your friend. Use it and you’ll be seeing green as your ball gets out of the bunker and onto the green every time.