Bunker Shots

Here are a few simple bunker tips from a former major champion

padraig harrington hits bunker shot

Earlier this week, Padraig Harrington was giving chipping lessons from his home and sending the videos out to his Twitter followers. It’s a creative solution to curing the inherent boredom that comes with social distancing, plus it’s a good way to connect with fans during these strange times.

And yesterday, Harrington was back to giving lessons. The topic: bunker play. And the fundamental he is trying to teach is very similar to the lesson he gave the day before.

“What you really want to avoid is any sense of trying to lift the ball,” Harrington says. “If I try to lift the ball, I’m going to move back into my right side and squeeze in here. I’m going to drop in well behind the ball.”

To combat this, Harrington recommends keeping your weight on your left side and place an alignment stick a few inches behind the ball. In order to avoid hitting the alignment stick, you must keep your weight forward.

He also gives a tip for more experienced players out of the bunkers. Conventional wisdom says to open the stance, open the clubface and take the club outside on the takeaway. Harrington disagrees.

“If you’re open and then you take the club further on the outside, you’ve doubled it,” Harrington says. “What you’re actually going to end up doing is looping and presenting the club from the inside, which is exactly what you didn’t want to do and you’re going to get all sorts of funny connection.”

Harrington works on the opposite. He opens up the clubface, but then he closes his stance and take the club back on plane. If anything, he comes over the top, but that’s OK because of the setup he chooses to take.

His last tip is on plugged lies, one of the most impossible shots in golf. With a normal bunker shot, you are trying to open the leading edge and use the bounce of the club to get underneath it. On plugged lies, do the opposite and try to use the leading edge to dig the ball out.

“You close the clubface, or square it up, and you drive the club down like an axe,” Harrington says. “You’re never trying to lift it up.”

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