Bunker Basics - The Golf Girl Sand Save Money Shot

Before I started playing golf my exposure to different types of courses was limited to the occasional televised snippet I'd catch by chance. Green and flowery or wet and wind-swept, as a disinterested non-golfer, the nuances were basically lost on me... a golf course was simply a golf course.

They all had bunkers though, and from Augusta National's pristine pools of pure white quartz to the deep, straight-faced pot bunkers of many Open Championship venues, I naively saw them as over-sized sandboxes where you might even find a child's pail and shovel, or a plastic starfish.

Then I started playing the game... and I quickly developed an major aversion to any kind of sand on a golf course.  I soon began to see bunkers as hazards to be avoided, and with my limited skills there was no way I could consciously avoid anything.  So I struggled to understand the dynamics of a sand shot. I listened to the advice of instructors and took tips from random strangers who seemed to get up and down with ease.  Everyone told me it was simple, but it wasn't.  Not for me. I tried it all and no nothing worked,  Until I started doing what some of my friends did: deftly picking up the ball and gently tossing it out of the hazard.  You see, being a purely social golfer I had that option.

As you may know,  I recently decided to take my game to the next level.  I found a stellar instructor and we've started working towards that end.  I've re-engineered my swing and I'm finally developing the kind of consistency that's allowing me to make quantifiable progress. However, time and scheduling being what it is, we've not yet gotten into the traps to work on bunker play... and though I'm now substantially better at avoiding hazards, I still encounter them... all too frequently.  So  a couple of weeks ago when I was playing with Golf for Beginners editor Stacy Solomon and saw her confidently execute a sand save from a deep, green-side bunker, I naturally begged her asked her for a sand trap tip, and what she shared with me was ultra-simple but has helped me tremendously.  She told me to visualize a dollar bill underneath the ball, with the ball sitting squarely on George Washington's face, then swing to lift the entire bill out of the sand, following through with a full finish.

Apparently that tip's been around for a while, but I'd never heard it before, and it somehow enabled me to put into affect much of the other advice I'd gotten.  For me it was just a really good visual, and I find that a good visual is often the key to understanding a concept in golf.

Speaking of good visuals here's the gorgeous (major understatement) Suzanne Haney making up-and-down look easy, while husband Hank narrates.

Check out Suzanne's YouTube channel for more excellent golf tip videos.