Get the job done from the sand in style like Stenson


Henrik Stenson did many things right on his way to a tournament scoring record and the victory in the second FedEx Cup playoff event of the year, the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Stenson sealed the deal when he made birdie in a less common way by holing out from a bunker late in his final round.

Tour players seem to be magicians from bunkers, while most amateur golfers fear nothing more than having to escape from a greenside bunker.

It should be noted that Tour players are given the advantage of playing from bunkers that are in the best possible conditions with sand that is consistent on every hole.

Most other golfers deal with everything imaginable, from fluffy sand to firm sand to no sand, or depending on which bunker you find yourself in, a hodgepodge of different sand conditions.

Poor sand conditions definitely make it more difficult to get the ball close to the hole with consistency.

But regardless of the sand conditions, here are a few tips that I believe will help any golfer feel at ease the next time they end up in a greenside bunker.

• Make sure the club accelerates through the shot. The No. 1 mistake made in greenside bunker shots is a club that decelerates through impact. Depending on the density of the sand and how much sand you actually hit, the club will want to slow down. However, it is your job to prevent that from happening. A great drill it to simply practice hitting the sand only, no golf ball, and try to splash the sand up on the green.

• Use proper clubface alignment. Some players prefer to use a square clubface while others will open the face at address. Either is fine, but know that squaring the face brings the leading edge of the club closer to the sand. In soft sand, this could result in the club digging too far into the sand, bringing the club to a stop and the ball never escaping the bunker.

• Practice a stock bunker shot. Dave Pelz did a study that determined an average length bunker shot was about 30 feet. Do what Phil Mickelson does and practice 30-foot bunker shots. You’re only allowed to leave or move on to something else when you hole one out. Good luck!

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