Your Job in the Bunker – John Hayes Golf January 2018 Tip and Newsletter Newsletter Golf Tip – January 2018

For your golf game: What is your job when your ball is in the greenside bunker? When I ask this question at the start of a lesson I often hear, “My job is to get the ball out.” or “My job is to get the ball up over the bank and onto the green.” If you feel that this is your job on a bunker shot then you are heading toward trouble. The desire to get the up is the root cause of many of the swing problems in bunker shots because you then move the club HEAD upward as you pass through the ball-area and this can cause you to strike the ball with the leading edge of the wedge or to top the ball. The WHOLE club should be swinging FORWARD as it passes through the ball-area and you should SCRAPE THE SAND. In a correct greenside bunker shot your club never touches the golf ball! The scraped area of sand sends the ball forward onto the green for you.
Besides the impact problems created by trying to get the ball up, the golfer often uses a scooping action with the hands and makes the club head go face-up instead of toe-up past the ball-area. Even if you do scrape the sand, when you move the club head face-up on the forward swing you may not get out of the bunker because you add so much loft to the clubface that the sand and consequently the ball is not sent forward.
Please try setting up with your clubface square on your next bunker shot (the sand wedge still has a bounce angle when square) and swing forward in the normal way so your clubface is square in the ball-area and then the club head goes TOE-UP when the shaft is pointing at the target. Simply use this motion with the intent to scrape the sand and see how the sand and the ball is sent forward onto the green. One of our practice bunkers at Chi Chi’s has a very high bank but you can still clear it easily with a square clubface that has 56 degrees of loft when the blade is square and swings in the normal way forward to the toe-up position.
So your job on a greenside bunker shot is just to produce your swing in the normal way with the intent to SCRAPE THE SAND so the sand and the ball is sent FORWARD. When you do your job with the GOLF CLUB you will find that your ball is out of the bunker and on the green.
Upcoming clinics and events: My next LADIES-ONLY GOLF CLINIC will be held on 4 consecutive Wednesday mornings – JANUARY 10, 17, 24 and 31 from 11:00 a.m. to Noon. Cost is only $40 total for all 4 hours! It is good for beginners or newly dedicated golfers.
I will conduct a GET GOLF READY LADIES BOOT CAMP from Thur., JANUARY 11th through Sunday, JANUARY 14th. There will be 4 hours of golf clinics (Thur. & Fri. from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Sat. from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.) and then we will finish on the golf course on Sun. from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. This is perfect for beginners who want to feel comfortable on the golf course in a short time. Total cost is only $99 and includes everything!
My next specialty clinic will be a SHORT GAME BOOT CAMP for 2 hours held on Saturday, JANUARY 20th from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. I will cover pitching/chipping, bunker play, putting, and fun games to practice effectively! Men or Ladies welcome. This is NOT for new beginners. There is a limit of only 3 students so call or email to sign up. Total cost is only $55.
Please call/text (727) 692-4679 or email,, to sign up as space is limited for all clinics. Go to for more details.
** I will be conducting the Adult Golf Clinics every week on Friday mornings at 9:30 a.m. and on Saturday afternoons at 12:30 p.m. There is no sign up, just show up and cost is only $20 which includes a large bucket of range balls.
As always, please contact me with any questions or comments and I hope to see you soon on the lesson tee at the Chi Chi Golf Range & Sports Complex in beautiful Clearwater in the Tampa, FL area.