Compare the way a good player and a mediocre one handle their sand shots, and you will see quite a difference. So often, when I am playing a round with members who score in the 90s, a player who misplays his first shot in a bunker will go on and miss his next four or five bunker shots. If weekend golfers would learn how to blast the ball out of a trap, there is no knowing the amount of grief and the number of strokes they would save themselves.
Their trouble begins-when they position themselves in a bunker as if they were going to hit a fairway shot. In a sand trap a square stance is ruinous. It encourages taking the club back too much on the inside, and it leads the player into a bigger pivot than the shot calls for. He comes into the ball with too flat a swing. As a result, he generally lines the ball well over the green or, in an attempt to avoid this extreme error, he purposely babies the shot and often doesn't manage to get the ball out of the hazard.
In a bunker it is best to use an open stance, advancing the right foot four or five inches nearer the ball than the left. The stance restricts the pivot and assists the player in taking the club straight up and straight down. This is what the shot calls for. It is strictly a firm left-arm shot. You don't sweep the ball out of a bunker. You want to take your wedge straight up and then straight down, a little outside-in if anything. Then you want to spank the sand an inch or a little more behind the ball. It is the sand that ejects the ball.
FRED NOVAK, St. Andrews Golf Club, Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.
April 18, 1960
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