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No. 1 ranked coach: This simple gripping mistake is sabotaging your bunker shots

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Bunker shots. Pretty difficult! Pretty difficult to get right, at least. That's because to hit a bunker shot successfully you need to do a variety of different things that you would never do on your full swing. In many ways it's an entirely new technique, and why so many golfers bleed shots from the sand.

If you're looking for a basic bunker primer, check out this article. But poking around our Golf Digest Schools archive the other day, I came across a tip from Golf Digest's No. 1-ranked coach Butch Harmon about a mistake he sees golfers make all the time.

The mistake

You can check out Butch's full Golf Digest schools series right here, by the way, but basically, Harmon says he'll often see golfers grip the club first, and then open the clubface. An open clubface is an important part of hitting a good bunker shot—that's not his issue.

The issue is that too many golfers grip the club before opening the face. That positions their arms so that when they swing through, the clubface closes and returns to square. That's where chunked and thinned shots come from.

The fix

The good news is that it's a simple problem with a simple solution. Butch says to hold the club out in front of you with your right hand and open the clubface wide — so it's pointing towards the sky. Only after you've done that should you take your grip. That puts your hands in a more neutral position, but the clubface is open. Once your hands return to impact, the clubface will be open and more prone to sliding under the ball.

Once again, you can check out the full schools series right here.