Making your visit to the green-side ‘beach’ enjoyable

When I think of the beach, happy thoughts come to mind. Bare feet, shorts, sun, sand castles, water sports and possibly even a margarita. Everything about the beach makes me happy and relaxed. This is not necessarily the case on the golf course. For many golfers, a trip to the beach can be the most frustrating part of their day. So much so that the relaxed state that they were in will turn into frustration and anger. A perfect round of golf ruined by sand!

Scott Bergdahl

When I think of the beach, happy thoughts come to mind. Bare feet, shorts, sun, sand castles, water sports and possibly even a margarita. Everything about the beach makes me happy and relaxed. This is not necessarily the case on the golf course.

For many golfers, a trip to the beach can be the most frustrating part of their day. So much so that the relaxed state that they were in will turn into frustration and anger. A perfect round of golf ruined by sand!

Most tour players have no fear when they enter a sand trap. As a matter of fact, they would much rather hit a shot from the green- -side bunker than from the deep rough that generally surrounds the green. One of the reasons for this is that the surface and the depth of the sand are consistent and as a result the lie you generally have in a bunker will be good. Whereas when you hit into the deep rough, you may have a lie where the ball is buried deep or sitting up. As a result, it is tough to hit this shot consistently.

Most importantly, tour players and low handicap golfers understand the basic rules necessary to consistently hit a shot out of a green-side bunker. These rules include: the stance and ball position; alignment and club face angle; swing path, equipment and finish position. Following these few basic rules will assist you in hitting the ball out and close to the hole.

First of all, you need to take your stance. Line up with the ball forward in your stance (just inside your front heel). Your feet should be approximately shoulder width apart, with approximately 70 per cent of your weight positioned on your front foot.

It is easy to slip in the sand when you make your swing as the surface is much softer than when standing on the grass. As a result, you need to dig your feet into the sand to ensure you are grounded properly. Once you have done this you will notice that the bottom of your feet is lower than the bottom of the ball. This is important because if you do not choke up on the club then the tendency is to hit too far behind the ball and as a result leave the ball in the trap. Now you are faced with the same shot as you just had.

Now that you have taken your stance you are ready to hit the ball. Unfortunately, that is not what we want you to do. When you are in a green-side bunker, the club does not actually hit the ball. The idea of this shot is to enter the sand approximately two inches behind the ball with your club. The club will slide under the ball and exit the sand approximately two inches from where the ball was.

This is an explosion shot. The energy of the club sliding under the ball will project the sand into the ball and as a result will send the ball up and out of the sand.

When you set up to the ball you want to ensure that your body is open to the target (aim left of the target for right-handed golfers). Because this is an explosion shot, you want to open the club face to ensure you use the ‘bounce’ of the club to your advantage. As a result, if you take you club back on the same path as you would for a normal field shot the ball will take off to the right of your target (for right-handed golfers). Therefore, you need to ensure that when you take the club back, your path is from the outside to in. In other words, your path should follow your body lines. This will send the ball up and out towards your target.

Distance is determined by how far you take the club back, not how far you swing through the ball. If you take the club back a short distance and swing through to your finish position, then the ball will go a short distance. Taking the club back further and swinging through to a full finish position will ensure the ball travels further.

The most important position in golf is the finish position. The finish position consists of all of your weight on your front foot, your body facing the target, the club above your shoulder pointing towards the ground and your back foot rolled up on your tip toe.

Most golfers are afraid to swing through to their finish position because they feel that if they do they will send the ball flying across the green. I can assure you that if you enter the sand two inches behind the ball that the only way to get the ball up and out is to ensure that you finish.

Finally, you need to be sure that you have the right equipment to get the job done. A sand wedge is different and unique in its design from the rest of your clubs. Most sand wedges come with approximately 56 degrees of loft, the second most lofted club available.

What is unique about it is that it is the heaviest club in the bag. The extra weight will assist you in swinging through the sand. It also has what we call the bounce. This is the rounded sole of the club and it prevents the club from digging into the sand when used properly. If you do not have a sand wedge, consider visiting your local CPGA golf professional to ask for their advice on what sand wedges are available.

Applying these swing techniques will ensure the next time you step onto the beach will be memorable and enjoyable.

Scott Bergdahl is the head professional at Lakewood Golf Resort

Just Posted

Springbrook Skate Park gets financial boost

Province approves $125,000 grant for proposed skate park

ReThink Red Deer gets thumbs up from city on pollinator barn structure

Group is hoping to get a $40,000 building grant

Driver who backed into Red Deer pizzeria sentenced

David Andrew Amstutz sentenced for failing to remain at the crash scene

Team Alberta athletes arrive in Red Deer on Saturday for pre-games orientation

Excitement is building with less than a month to go, says Team Alberta spokesperson

UPDATED: STARS Lottery is back

Lacombe STARS patient tells his story

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Netflix rejects request to remove Lac-Megantic images from ‘Bird Box’

At least two shows on Netflix’s Canadian platform briefly use actual footage of the 2013 tragedy

Teen vaping is an epidemic: US government

E-cigarettes are now the top high-risk substance used by teenagers, outpacing cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana

‘I never said there was no collusion,’ Trump lawyer says

President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he has ‘never said there was no collusion’

Most Read