Most golf courses aren’t all lush fairways and well-kept tees and greens. There’s plenty of trouble spots, from water to out of bounds to sand traps.
Sand is the focus of this week’s tip. Daren MacKinnon, an assistant professional at Pine Oaks Golf Course and also the director of club fitting at Joe & Leigh’s Performance Center, has a drill that will help golfers hit better shots from the sand.
“I see a lot of players working on their sand game in our practice bunker on a daily basis. One of the most common sights is a golfer splashing small amounts of sand and golf balls careening off into the woods over the green.
“I like to offer these ‘pickers’ an explanation for the need to steepen their attack into the sand to create more lift. This is the drill I use to let them visualize and feel this steeper angle. I have the golfer put a head cover or folded towel about one foot behind the ball in the bunker. The object is to make an abrupt backswing that moves upward with more wrist hinge. Make sure they do not touch the object.
“Then, on the downswing, attack the sand from that more upright position, again making sure not to hit the object. With newer golfers I may move the object a little farther back as it might alter their setup if you’re not careful. In the end, we see the more traditional explosion shot with plenty of sand, and a nice high arc and soft landing to keep the ball on the green.”