August 30, 2019- by Steven E. Greer, MD
What I am about to write will be viewed as blasphemy by the Church of Golf and I will be burned at the stake: Everything taught about hitting shots from the sand is dogma, not based on facts, and makes the bunker shot unnecessarily hard.
Last year, I saw a good tip by Scott McCarron on his method for bunker shots. He super-charges the bounce by elevating the toe of the club. He lowers the hands and squats down with a wide stance to get a flat swing plane.
This worked. I got that crisp clunk sound. But I found that the wetness and texture of the sand in different courses meant that this method had to be tailored for each new course, or whether it had rained or not.
I also saw a Golf Channel montage of the best bunker players in history explaining how they do it. About eight of them were featured. They all had different methods. This means none of them were basing their techniques rational physics.
Down here in Florida, it rains daily, so the bunkers are always small ponds. The super-bounce method does not work. It made me realize something. The club designers know what they are doing. 60-degrees is more than enough loft. Their bounce is designed properly, you do not need to open the club to 80-degrees and get twice the bounce.
I now hit bunker shots with almost an identical stance and swing as I hit short grass chips. The ball is in the middle. My weight is even on both feet. I am not contorted and leaning to the left leg. I have normal posture and swing plane. My club is flat on the ground and square to the target line. I do not flay it open and lift the toe.
The most heretical thing I do is swing at a soft gentle level equivalent to a grass shot, with maybe a little extra umphh.
I do not think that spin from a bunker is needed, nor does it work. If you have a short distance to a down-sloping cup, then you hit a super delicate soft shot and let it barely escape the bunker.
None of this will work, however, if you are scared of the shot and flinch, lifting the head before impact. You have to stare at the sand behind the ball and never lift your head, even after impact.