Accelerate into the finish

Successful bunker play is a lot like the old saying, “It’s not how you start, but how you finish.”
Many people have different setups. However, you’ll notice in the videos below that everyone applies the same fundamentals and uses the bounce of the club.
With the bounce mastered, you’re ready to fly high out of the bunkers once you develop a high finish.

Why not learn from the master himself?

In this video, Phil Mickelson, one of golf’s greatest short game players, talks primarily about the finish of his bunker swing. And just like Phil, you shouldn’t underestimate its importance.
As you can see, he maintains a great rhythm throughout the swing and finishes with his hands high, at or above his shoulders.
Copying Phil’s finish is going to help you get the ball up and out of the bunker quickly.

Don’t trust just Phil

Phil certainly is a wizard of the short game, but Mark Crossfield and Matt Lockey are no slouches either. Mark and Matt have completely different styles and setups. However, they both have great tempo and a high finish. Even with different setups, they achieve similar results.
The magic is in their finish with club heads pointed up at the sky.

Is seeing really believing?

If the results of Phil, Mark, and Matt aren’t reason enough for you to finish high, I’ll dive into the details.
Phil touches on it briefly in his video, but complicates the idea by talking about maintaining a consistent bounce and face angle.
What you need to understand is that if you decelerate and finish low, you’re going to cause the leading edge to dig into the sand.

Rock on

In my first article, I made the analogy of skipping rocks. As you can see in the image, the opened clubface would be the best at skipping across the sand.
The neutral clubface will skip some, but not at well as the open clubface.
The closed clubface doesn’t have a chance. If it were a rock, it would be destined for a quick trip to the bottom of the lake.
Not only will a closed clubface dig into the sand, but it will also deloft your wedge. You can almost guarantee you’ll be faced with another shot from the same bunker.

Now I’m flashy, but what about splashy?

With a nice high finish, you’re going to look the part of the pro. Plus, you’re going to hit your shots higher and closer to the hole.
But did you know that the texture of the sand is going to affect your bunker technique?
I’ll explain the differences between hard and soft sand in my next article. After reading, you’ll be splashing out of the sand regardless of the conditions.

To be continued

Subscribe now to be the first to know when the series continues!