Golf Umbrella Drill to Improve Your Greenside Bunker Play

By Laird Small

Get Comfortable with Greenside Bunker Play

Greenside bunker play is a difficult area and one of the reasons why is that we tend not to practice too much in here and when we get in here we are uncomfortable. Most of the time we are uncomfortable we try to help the ball out of the bunker. What I mean by that is that when we take our stance we are kind of falling back into our right foot helping the ball out. When you try that with a ball, the divot happens too early in the swing and now the club comes out of the sand right where the ball is, sending it either right into the front of the bunker or way over the green into the next bunker on the other side and you play ping pong back and forth.

How to Get the Golf Ball to Stop on a Bunker Shot

Here is a technique that can be very helpful to make you understand how to get the ball to stop right away.

  1. I am going to draw in the sand and umbrella, there is the canopy arcing around the front of my body and there is the handle drawn from the top of the canopy even with the ball down to my left heel.
  2. You are going to make a few swings on purpose at first from a practice standpoint where you make your divot too early, behind the handle of the umbrella, where you feel the weight really going on to your back foot.
  3. Now we do the opposite, make a few swings where on purpose you make the divot start on the front or target side of the handle.

What you will find when you do that is that your weight is more on your forward leg and your chest is going to turn through the shot as a result of the swing. In other words you are not trying to move your chest or shift your weight, it just happens as a result of the swing. The swing was in a more rotary fashion or more along an arc.

Stay Over the Golf Ball When Hitting

You can start to see how my divots are tracing the arc of that umbrella. My divots are more forward and what we are able to do now is have the divot be more controlled and repeatable in the same location because your sternum is not moving back away from the shot, it is staying more right over the golf ball when you hit it. Here is what it will look like. Take my address, weight is going to be on my forward leg where my ankle joint, knee joint, hip joint and shoulder joint are all in line and they are going to stay there through the swing, I am not going to back them up in this fashion. Let's take a look at the shot. That ball came our really nice, I am on to my forward leg. As I made the swing it turned my body through the shot as a result of swinging the club and my body moved in support of the golf club. I did not try to help the ball out.

Give this a try I know it will help your greenside bunker execution.

Category: Bunker Play

About the Instructor

Laird Small
Laird Small
Pebble Beach Golf Academy
1700 17-Mile Drive
Pebble Beach, CA 93953
Tel: 831-622-8650