When links golf is mentioned, there are always a few things that come to mind: testy weather, wispy fescue and howling wind among them. But perhaps one of the most defining features of links golf is its bunkers — deep, gnarly pot bunkers.
These tiny bunkers might be squat, but they still pack a punch. If a player finds himself within the bounds of these fiery traps, a big number could be in store. No one in the field is safe from the fury of a misplaced shot in a bunker.
Ahead of the Open Championship, Xander Schauffele went to work getting dialed in to tackle the unique challenges these bunkers present. And thanks to a recent social post, we got a peek into Schauffele’s strategy from pot bunkers.
Check out his three keys below.
1. Assess the shot
When you enter the bunker, you need to assess the sand with your feet. Is it hard or soft? Compact or loose? Once you get that information, you can choose which wedge to use.
Although there are a few options for the sand, you want the club that will allow the bounce of the wedge to do the work for you.
“I’m going to expose more bounce in the sand,” Schauffele says. “I’m going to have the bottom of the club hit the sand, which will shoot the ball up.”
2. Nail the setup
It’s impossible to execute a good shot without a solid setup — and bunker shots are no exception. Schauffele says he likes to use a wide stance and tries to get low when he needs to hit it high.
3. Get shallow
Another benefit to the wide stance is it allows you to properly shallow out the club on the downswing. You need to be able to get shallow as you come into the ball in order to hit about an inch behind the ball, which blasts it onto the green.
“With a narrow stance, it’s easy to descend the club straight down into the ground,” he says. “If you take a really wide stance, it helps you shallow out your angle of attack.”