Tips for the Best Greenside Bunker Play Address Position – Part One
by John D. Hobbins
Much of our success in greenside bunker play depends upon how we set up to the ball. Using images of Tom Pernice Jr, I’ll point out how the set-up in the address position can have an effect on the results of your shot.
We’ll look at this address from two different angles, so I can point out specifics on how you can improve your bunker play.
You’ll notice in this front view (above) that Tom does a number of things that the average player does not, which are:
• Distance between his feet is greater than his shoulder width
• Distribution of his weight is greater on his left side, generated by the pressure he’s put on his left leg quadricep
• Golf club handle is even within the inside of his left leg
• Feet are flared adding stability
• Outside of his left shoulder is aligned with outside of the left knee
• The club face is open to the target line. This places the heel in front of the toe
• The heel being in front of the toe at address is important — this allows the heel to enter the sand at impact. It’s a heel digging motion of the club head. Tom says he learned this from his close friend Seve Ballesteros.
• There is a good flex in the knees that lowers the center of gravity, adding stability to the set-up position (notice the angle between the knee and the hip)
• The handle of the club is held low. This — along with the club face being open — positions the heel of the club in front of the toe
• Many tour players will change the lie angle of their lob wedge (which Tom is using here as it’s a short distance play) so that it’s 2 degrees to 3 degrees flatter than the other clubs lie angle
This set-up position allows for an up-and-down swing motion of the golf club with an angle of descent that can send the ball out softly on a cushion of sand. Work with this information and watch how your bunker play improves