Short Game

Tiger Woods: Belt Buckle To The Target

July 16, 2008

FREE UP THE HIPS: Keep your hips moving to help you accelerate the club.

I'm always amazed at the confusion over the lower body's role in green-side bunker play. Here's a rule of thumb: quiet lower body on the backswing, active lower body on the through-swing.

A lot of amateurs fail to consistently execute greenside bunker shots because they lock the lower body in place and get real handsy or armsy with the swing. As a result, they often decelerate through the shot, sometimes leaving the ball in the bunker.

Rotating your lower body toward the target helps propel the ball from the sand and assists in maintaining acceleration. Try this for a swing thought: Turn your belt buckle to the target.

For me, keeping my lower body and upper body connected throughout the swing is the key to controlling distance from greenside sand. If one or the other is out of sync, you can bet my percentage of sand saves will decrease.

Keep your lower body moving through impact, and you'll become a better bunker player.

Mark Soltau is a contributing editor to Golf Digest and the editor of