Turning "Sand Traps" into "Sand Opportunities"!

Sand traps are a part of the game you can't avoid. You will either live in fear of them, or you will learn to conquer them! The fact is, sand shots are more intimidating than they are difficult. With correct technique and some practice, you'll find getting out of bunkers to be one of the easier golf shots to master.

If I worked with you in person, I'd have you hitting out of the sand like a pro in about 15 minutes--but for now, I'll just have to give you a quick primer on my golf training strategy for effective bunker play.

1. Address the ball as usual with your feet, body, and clubface square to the target line. Stand with the ball positioned just inside your left foot and the club hovering about three inches behind the ball.

2. Open the clubface to aim about thirty degrees right of the target line and then take your normal grip according to this skewed alignment.

3. Now open your stance by moving your left foot (and the left side of your body) away from the target line so your body line points about thirty degrees left of the target. The clubface should now again be square to the target line.

4. Position your hands forward near the left thigh, and shift your weight forward more onto the left foot.

5. Relax throughout your body and, if you like, waggle your club a little. Maintain steady breathing, visualize the desired shot, and feel confident in the upcoming shot.

6. Focus on a spot in the sand about two or three inches behind the ball (farther back for shorter shorts). For initial practices, mark a spot in the sand behind the ball at which to look and swing.

7. Take a half to three-quarter pitchlike swing along your body line. The exact size and vigor of the swing is a "feel thing" you'll develop with practice. Initially it may help to think of swinging just hard enough to hit the sand the same distance you want the ball to fly in the air. Follow through to roughly the nine o'clock position and finish with the back of your left hand facing the sky.

Practice your sand shots at least once per week and you'll develop the technique and confidence to get up-and-down from even the most difficult situations. Turn sand traps into sand opportunities and you'll take a few strokes off your game forever!

Lisa Ann Hörst is Lancaster, PA-based teaching pro. Her new book, Golf Training: The Secrets to Effective Practice and a Lower Score (Finally!), is being heralded as "the most comprehensive guide to better golf" available that will "positively transform your game."

Copyright © Lisa Ann Hörst. All Rights Reserved.