Golf Digest editors picks
Golf Instruction: Greenside Sand

Bunker Basics

Hank Haney's two musts for easy outs

April 2014

On a well-played greenside bunker shot, like the one Phil Mickelson is hitting here, you probably know the club never contacts the ball. You need to touch down a couple of inches behind the ball and send it out on a cushion of sand. Think about this concept, and it'll help you commit to the two fundamentals you need to follow. First, swing down with the clubface at least slightly open so the club splashes through the sand instead of digging. Second, swing with enough speed and follow-through to move a lot of sand through the air. Most times, amateurs swing too cautiously, or they quit on the swing when the club hits the sand. Make it your goal to swing through the sand to a full finish, at least as full as Phil here.

Sand shots

HANK TALK

One popular debate is whether winning majors has been easier in a given era. Fact is, there are only four a year, and they're played on very different courses. The winner's game has to suit the venue, then he has to play great and get a little lucky. Few players can win with anything other than their best—I was alongside Tiger for six, and the next one never felt like a given. You need to hit it great and putt great. Winning a major always has been and always will be very tough.


HANK HANEY, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, runs the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy, in Hilton Head Island.

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