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    Golf Tip of the Week

    Golf tip: For better sand shots, add an object

    Keegan Bradley hits out of a bunker on the second hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Oak Hill Country Club, Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013, in Pittsford, N.Y. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    Patrick Semansky/AP
    Keegan Bradley had to negotiate his way out of this bunker.

    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.

    MacKinnon writes:


    “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.

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    “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.”

    Are you having specific problems with your game and want a local PGA professional to provide some helpful tips? E-mail your question to