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Better bunker play

Oh the sand! Great when sand is mixed with surfing but not so great when you cant see the flag. Every year I play in a golf tournament called The Scottsdale Media Classic. Fifty to seventy-five golf writers from around the world descend onto Scottsdale for five days of golf and fun.
Last year we played one of my favorite courses, GrayHawk, The Raptor course. I found myself in a very deep bunker. Not only could I not see the cup I could not see the flag. Gary McCord, a friend and client, hosts his golf school, Kostis- McCord at GrayHawk.
I was frustrated and stumped at how to hit this shot. Considering I was playing with a bunch of golf writers (many who had been drinking most of the morning) I decided it was acceptable to give Gary a call on his cell from the bunker.
I asked Gary for his best advice on how to get out of this bunker. His was response was swift and direct. Use your hand wedge Katherine, use your hand wedge! He proceeded to tell me that if I released sand from my left hand at precisely the right time it would appear as if I used the club to hit the ball. Of course Gary was only kidding. Continue reading and I will tell you the outcome of my sand shot.
Learning to hit better bunker shots requires the triad of peak performance - proper swing mechanics, the right club selection and flexibility and strength in the body. For our purposes this week I will focus on the lower body. Good knee flexion (bend in your knees) and the ability to get grounded from your lower body is critical. One physical restriction inhibiting our ability to get grounded is the lack of hamstring flexibility.
The following hamstring series targets not only the hamstrings but the inner thighs, groin, glute and lumbar spine. Note: this series should be practiced every day to help you in the bunker and to release back pain.
Lets get started!
Dynamic to active hamstring stretch:
Begin on your back with a strap placed around your left foot. Extend your right leg and flex both feet towards you. Place a slight bend in your left knee as you inhale, exhale and straighten your left leg. Repeat five times and hold both legs extended for five more breaths.

Adductor / groin stretch:
Keep the right leg and glute on the floor and extend your left leg out to the left. Hold for five more breaths.

Glute / spinal rotation:
Place the strap in your right hand and extend your left arm to the floor. Rotate the lower body to the right and hold for five breaths. Switch sides.

The outcome of my bunker shot:
After my chat with Gary I walked back to the cart to retrieve my sand wedge. I realized at that moment that after years of playing golf I instinctively knew how to hit this shot. As if some guiding force took over my body and mind I became very calm and extremely confident. I let go of the outcome and stepped into the monster bunker. I took a deep breath and blasted the ball out of bunker. To date, that was the best bunker shot of my life!
Send me an e-mail at and share your favorite golf shot! If your story is selected you will win a complimentary, personalized fitness program.
See you on The Turn!

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    Editor's Note: Katherine Roberts, founder of and has over 20 years of experience in golf specific fitness training, yoga studies, professional coaching and motivation. Katherine welcomes your email questions and comments, contact her at