One of the keys to Rory McIlroy getting back in the winner’s circle last week was his ability to scramble around the greens. Whenever he got himself into any trouble, he was able to easily get himself back into position to minimize the damage. For the week, McIlroy ranked first in the field in scrambling with 14 saves in 18 opportunities.
That scrambling ability came up clutch multiple times last weekend, particularly when he found bunkers. McIlroy hit into greenside bunkers six times for the week and escaped with par four times.
The key to his excellent bunker play? Superb technique and great hands. In a video posted by the PGA Tour this week, former Tour pro Parker McLachlin broke down this technique for high and soft bunker shots, and how you can incorporate it into your own game.
Hitting the ball high and landing it soft from the sand typically requires that you have a flat lie in the bunker. If you have these ideal conditions, it’s a green light for you to go for it.
This bunker shot requires you to hinge your wrists severely during the backswing and then release them as you come into the ball and let them pass through the sand underneath. To get the proper wrist hinge, try opening up the face on your highest lofted wedge and put some sand on the face.
You want to cup your wrists during the backswing to get the face angle even more wide open. To get this feeling, try to throw the sand that is sitting on the face of your wedge over your shoulder at the top of your backswing.
“That’ll help you understand how to get that clubface wide open at the top of your swing,” McLachlin says.
Once you get to the top, all you need to think about is returning the clubhead to be in line with your hands.
“He’s really trying to let the clubhead pass his hands on the way through,” McLachlin says. “That gives you height and spin.”