Regarded as one of the greatest bunker players of all time, Gary Player proved exactly why as he stepped into the back greenside bunker on the 18th at London Golf Club to splash out three balls to within two feet of the pin.
In between wowing the Golf Live gallery, The Black Knight instructed his fans on the three fundamental aspects of the trap shot, as well as looking at ball position. Over to you, Gary...
There are three fundamental things to think about when you walk into a greenside bunker: stance, cocking the wrist and accelerating through the sand.
When you get behind the ball, it’s important to stand wide like the Eiffel Tower. Get a good firm base and get your feet comfortable. You can’t play a bunker shot if you have your legs like spaghetti and close together.
As you move into the swing, you need to cock your wrists as early as possible. Don’t play stiff wristed because you won’t get through the sand that way. Then you need to hit through the sand with good acceleration, a couple of inches behind the ball, to let the ball pop up into the air and roll onto the green.
Another important aspect to consider when you’re in the bunker is the type of lie you have. Funnily enough, there is more to read in the sand than on a green.
Does the ball lie low? Are you on a downslope or an upslope? These are just some of the considerations you need to make before stepping into the ball, so you know what type of shot to hit.
You have to go with the lie of the land and move accordingly with your body.
If you’re playing an uphill bunker shot, you go accordingly with the slope in an upwards direction. The ball is going to go higher, so you need to hit the sand a little bit harder.
If you’re unfortunate enough to get your ball on a downslope - which is a lie you don’t even give your mother-in-law - the ball is going to come out low. You have to play it off the back foot and the ball is going to run like crazy. If you play off the front foot and try to hit the ball high, you will more than likely scoop it.
It’s important that you don’t try and force something. Play the sensible shot. Sometimes it’s good to take your bogey and move on.