Bunker shots - by Jimenez!

Spanish ace reveals his secrets to success from the sand

Bunker shots - by Jimenez!
Jimenez bunker instruction
Jimenez splashes out with a 4-iron

Among the world's leading players, Miguel Angel Jimenez is right up there when it comes to sand saves. While he appreciates he should not be in sand in the first place, it's important to have a tried and tested technique for this vital part of the game.

Like many Spaniards he learned the game as a young caddie and watched players like Manuel Pinero, Jose Rivero and his good friend Seve Ballesteros spend hours honing their skills in the practice bunker until he could play to almost any distance with nearly every club in the bag.

Recently, during a visit to Hacienda Del Alamo, in Murcia, where he is attached as the touring professional, I watched him play a splash bunker shot to a pin less than 15 feet in front of him - using a 4-iron!

At the first attempt he left it in the bunker but with the second, the ball popped out to finish within three feet of the cup.

Bunker instruction by Jimenez
Always show loft to the sand

"Bunker shots," says Jimenez "are about giving loft to the club and swinging through the ball with the same length of swing. Remember that and you will never have trouble.

Splash bunker shot

"With this shot I use my 60-degree Ping Tour wedge. I work my feet into the sand and open the face of the club and move my body around the club so that I am comfortable.

"I see many amateurs work their body around the ball and then open the clubface. That is the wrong way round. Set the angle then move yourself to that angle. It is always important to open your stance and shoulders a little to face left of your target.

"Then you must take the club on an outside line and swing along the line of your feet, through the ball with a high finish. Remember the more loft you use, the more you have to move your body down.

Jimenez bunker instruction
Swing around your sternum

Longer bunker shot

"This is about changing the angle of the clubface. You need to give less loft to this shot so from 40 metres to the flagstick, you can even afford to use a 9-iron but you still need to lay the club back in the sand, while moving your body down. Square the clubface to your target and play through and under the ball and follow through.

"It is also very important to keep your body still and to swing around your sternum. Don't sway from side to side in the swing as it can alter the loft of the club. You must swing around a central point to retain the correct loft of the club through the sand.

"The long bunker shot, they say, is the hardest to play in golf, even for a professional but if you follow my rules it will become easier for you."

Jimenez bunker instruction
Splash out from the face

Plugged lie in the face

"This shot is different. For this you have to take loft from the club, not give it. I will use my 52-degree Ping Tour wedge and make sure the leading edge, penetrates deep down into the sand.

"It is still import to try to follow through but you will have little control of the distance the ball travels when it comes out.

"Sometimes you have to take your punishment and allow for no spin and the ball rolling out on the green. It is a difficult shot to keep under control when the pin is close to the sand. But if you have green to work with, understand that the ball will roll and allow for it.

"For many amateurs bunkers are a frightening place but they can be your friend if you treat them with respect and practice from different lies and when the sand is both dry and wet."

Hacienda del Alamo

Golfmagic thanks Miguel Angel Jimenez and

Hacienda Del Alamo Golf Resort for their help and hospitality in the collation of this special feature.

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