Click here and enter your email address to watch the full video
Tyler Ferrell is the only person in the world named to Golf Digest's list of Best Young Teachers in America AND its list of Best Golf Fitness Professionals in America. Meet your new instructor.
Swing Analysis Videos

Subscribe now to watch the full video.

Analysis - Bunker Pros Vs Ams

In this analysis video, we look at the common traits that make up the tour bunker technique. See what they use as their engine, how they balance the steeps and shallows, and how they control the low point. Then watch some of the common pitfalls that amateurs make when faced with the same issues in the sand.

Playlists: Swing Analysis Videos, Specialty Shots

Tags: Bunker, Analysis, Concept, Intermediate

00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:04,000
In this analysis video, we're going to take a look at bunkershots from pros and

00:00:04,000 --> 00:00:05,000

00:00:05,000 --> 00:00:11,000
So first we're going to take a look at the overall shape of the bunkershot.

00:00:11,000 --> 00:00:15,000
So the bunkerswing is going to be different from the finesse wedge, different from the

00:00:15,000 --> 00:00:16,000

00:00:16,000 --> 00:00:17,000
It's kind of its own little animal.

00:00:17,000 --> 00:00:22,000
And part of the reason is because we have different requirements where I actually

00:00:22,000 --> 00:00:26,000
trying to hit behind the golf ball, we're not trying to make really clean contact.

00:00:26,000 --> 00:00:31,000
And so as a result, we're going to have set up in swing characteristics so that we

00:00:31,000 --> 00:00:34,000
can get the sandwich to work through the sand properly.

00:00:34,000 --> 00:00:38,000
So first we're going to take a look at loop Donald and we're going to look at the overall

00:00:38,000 --> 00:00:40,000
shape of the swing.

00:00:40,000 --> 00:00:46,000
Now I'm going to keep using a phrase that is probably new on this site, which is we're

00:00:46,000 --> 00:00:54,000
going to try to be steep and shallow at the same time, or we're going to be narrow and shallow

00:00:54,000 --> 00:00:55,000
at the same time.

00:00:55,000 --> 00:00:59,000
So from this down the line, we're going to see that the delivery path of the club for a

00:00:59,000 --> 00:01:03,000
bunkershot is going to be more in the shallow category.

00:01:03,000 --> 00:01:10,000
As in, we don't draw tunnel lines here, but if I were to draw a line at impact, you would

00:01:10,000 --> 00:01:17,000
tend to see that that would be a little bit more of an into out path or a shallow path.

00:01:17,000 --> 00:01:23,000
Now if we were to take a look from the face on view, we're going to see that as looked

00:01:23,000 --> 00:01:28,000
on on the purchase impact as we'll see with most of these good bunker players, you'll

00:01:28,000 --> 00:01:32,000
see that it's going to be fairly narrow, so his hands are going to get on top of the

00:01:32,000 --> 00:01:38,000
golf ball, whether still a fair amount of wrist hinge, and then we'll tend to see a fair

00:01:38,000 --> 00:01:41,000
amount of right arm action through the ball.

00:01:41,000 --> 00:01:48,000
So the club is high off the sand at this point and working its way kind of steeply down,

00:01:48,000 --> 00:01:52,000
but as we saw from the down line, it's coming in from a shallow path.

00:01:52,000 --> 00:01:55,000
Take that in mind when we get the looking at the amateurs, because we'll tend to see that's

00:01:55,000 --> 00:01:59,000
one of their big misconcepts in how to hit the shot properly.

00:01:59,000 --> 00:02:04,000
So we know that we want to have a shallow and narrow path, what are some of the things that

00:02:04,000 --> 00:02:07,000
these golfers do in order to make that happen?

00:02:07,000 --> 00:02:12,000
Well, one of the things we're going to look at is going to be the engine of their swing.

00:02:12,000 --> 00:02:17,000
So what we'll frequently see is the setup position is going to have a lot more knee flex

00:02:17,000 --> 00:02:24,000
and a lot more vertical trunk than the finesse wedge or their full shot.

00:02:24,000 --> 00:02:30,000
Part of the reason is the closer we get this spine to standing straight up and down,

00:02:30,000 --> 00:02:33,000
the more the tendency is going to be a shallow path kind of like that.

00:02:33,000 --> 00:02:36,000
That's going to allow the club to kind of skim through the sand.

00:02:36,000 --> 00:02:43,000
Now, what we'll see when we look at the engine is during the down swing, you're not going to see

00:02:43,000 --> 00:02:47,000
a huge lower body drive, you're not going to see a huge core drive,

00:02:47,000 --> 00:02:53,000
what you'll tend to see is a longer swing and then more of a trail arm straightening.

00:02:53,000 --> 00:02:58,000
So as we scrub back and forth, you can really see through the ball that right arm

00:02:58,000 --> 00:03:02,000
straightening to deliver the club. That helps with two things.

00:03:02,000 --> 00:03:08,000
One, the club on the delivery is going to be in a fairly open position.

00:03:08,000 --> 00:03:13,000
So straightening that trail arm is going to get the club pointed at the direct direction of

00:03:13,000 --> 00:03:19,000
target without using shaft lean. Secondly, if we look from the face on view,

00:03:19,000 --> 00:03:25,000
we'll see that that right arm straightening is going to help us achieve a pretty vertical

00:03:25,000 --> 00:03:32,000
shaft at impact. That's also going to limit how far the club is going to dig underneath the golf ball

00:03:32,000 --> 00:03:38,000
and it's going to allow us to use the bounce of the club so that the club slides underneath the

00:03:38,000 --> 00:03:43,000
golf ball. Here's an extreme close-up of what we're trying to get the club to do

00:03:43,000 --> 00:03:48,000
through impact. So you'll see that the club will enter the sand and enter so behind the golf ball.

00:03:48,000 --> 00:03:53,000
The club will slide underneath the golf ball and the golf ball will be popped up because the speed

00:03:53,000 --> 00:03:58,000
that we're putting into the sand. The only way that we're going to be able to do this is if we

00:03:58,000 --> 00:04:04,000
get a fairly vertical shaft and the way that we're best going to get this fairly vertical shaft

00:04:04,000 --> 00:04:09,000
is going to be by having the arms power the swing. Specifically, we're talking about the trail arm

00:04:09,000 --> 00:04:13,000
powering the swing. So let's look at a few more examples from the face on view so that we can see this

00:04:14,000 --> 00:04:21,000
how they power their swing. So as Zach Johnson approaches impact, you'll see that he's fairly narrow

00:04:21,000 --> 00:04:27,000
but we will assume that he's coming from a pretty shallow path and you'll see during the bottom

00:04:27,000 --> 00:04:34,000
of the swing a good emphasis on getting that right arm to fully straight and you'll see that if we

00:04:34,000 --> 00:04:38,000
go back and forth from the top of the swing down, you'll see that there's not a lot of rotation

00:04:38,000 --> 00:04:45,000
of the lower body. There's not a lot of rotation from the trunk. This is primarily a shoulder and

00:04:45,000 --> 00:04:50,000
arm movement hitting the ball and what you'll see is on the way through. We know that there was not a

00:04:50,000 --> 00:04:56,000
ton of power from the lower body because we didn't see any real post-up of that lead leg. The lower

00:04:56,000 --> 00:05:02,000
body is acting more as a stabilizer and acting more for position than it is for power. Over here on

00:05:02,000 --> 00:05:08,000
the right, we have Ricky Fowler and we can see a similar pattern with not a whole lot of movement

00:05:08,000 --> 00:05:14,000
from below the belly button. It's mostly just kind of positioning and then a big emphasis on that

00:05:14,000 --> 00:05:20,000
trail arm straightening to get that shaft pretty vertical when it's underneath the golf ball.

00:05:20,000 --> 00:05:26,000
And you'll see that because the shaft was vertical, the club will tend to pass the body very

00:05:26,000 --> 00:05:33,000
very quickly, which gives that lead elbow bend look of the kind of classic bunker position where the

00:05:33,000 --> 00:05:38,000
arms have worked more around the body and finished very very close because they have actually

00:05:38,000 --> 00:05:43,000
passed the body compared to the full swing where they'll be very much wider. We'll look at a couple

00:05:43,000 --> 00:05:47,000
more examples and then we'll take a look at some amateurs to see where this can go wrong. So over

00:05:47,000 --> 00:05:51,000
on the right we're going to look at Gary Player. Again, you're not going to see a huge lower

00:05:51,000 --> 00:05:58,000
body drive, but you're really going to see that right arm straightened, the left wrist will have

00:05:58,000 --> 00:06:03,000
a fair amount of extension, that's what helps keep the club face open, which helps utilize the

00:06:03,000 --> 00:06:08,000
bounce. That trail arm straightening is more the engine and those arms will kind of pass during

00:06:08,000 --> 00:06:16,000
the follow-through. Here we have Matt Kutcher and if it's a true face on camera angle, what you'll

00:06:16,000 --> 00:06:22,000
be able to see is that the upper body, the head will be more or less on top of the golf ball.

00:06:23,000 --> 00:06:29,000
That's part of the way that they're able to get the narrow and then because they're in a little

00:06:29,000 --> 00:06:34,000
bit more of this squat stance, that's how they get it to shallow back out. So here is the camera

00:06:34,000 --> 00:06:40,000
pans out. You can see that his upper body is more or less on top of the golf ball and you'll see a

00:06:40,000 --> 00:06:47,000
good emphasis on that trail arm straightening. So that trail wrist and that trail arm getting long

00:06:47,000 --> 00:06:52,000
to help get the bottom of the swing underneath the golf ball without having a ton of shaft lead.

00:06:52,000 --> 00:06:56,000
Because shaft lead is going to be one of our big nemesis when we look at these bunker shots.

00:06:57,000 --> 00:07:03,000
So here's two examples of that upper body being more on top of the golf ball. Again, it's

00:07:03,000 --> 00:07:08,000
sometimes tricky to find pure face on camera angles, but you'll tend to see that upper body

00:07:08,000 --> 00:07:15,000
on top of the golf ball even though they've got a fairly wide stance that helps create some of

00:07:15,000 --> 00:07:22,000
this downward angle of attack to make sure that you don't blade the ball and then the squat position

00:07:22,000 --> 00:07:26,000
is going to help make the path more around so that when your arms extend the club doesn't

00:07:26,000 --> 00:07:31,000
dig into the ground. Over here on the left we have a great bunker player Charlie Wii

00:07:32,000 --> 00:07:36,000
and you'll see that similar pattern of that his upper body is actually

00:07:37,000 --> 00:07:44,000
it looks like ahead of the golf ball as his arms work in a fairly shallow path, but it's again being

00:07:44,000 --> 00:07:49,000
powered by that trail arm straightening. You'll see that as they both come through impact,

00:07:50,000 --> 00:07:54,000
there's not a ton of access to the upper body still on top of the lower body. There's a

00:07:54,000 --> 00:08:01,000
slightly of the lower body, but for all intent purposes it's a little bit more stacked up and the

00:08:01,000 --> 00:08:06,000
shallowness is controlled more by the fact that they're more vertical in the squat position

00:08:06,000 --> 00:08:12,000
rather than having a huge amount of tilt or Jackson 5. So now we're going to take a look at a

00:08:12,000 --> 00:08:16,000
higher handicap golf or showing us some of the common pitfalls that a amateurs have.

00:08:17,000 --> 00:08:22,000
When we start with setup we can see that it's not a super wide stance he has a really

00:08:22,000 --> 00:08:28,000
dugous feet into the sand and we'll see that he's got a fairly strong grip. What I talked about in

00:08:28,000 --> 00:08:34,000
this section and if you were to look at a lot of face on camera angles you'll tend to see that

00:08:34,000 --> 00:08:40,000
golfers are going to have more of a weak hand position especially that trail hand that trail hand

00:08:40,000 --> 00:08:46,000
being on top of the club helps keep the face open and utilizing the bounce. Now we'll see

00:08:46,000 --> 00:08:53,000
big body movement, big full coil and then on the way down you'll see kind of an early release

00:08:53,000 --> 00:09:00,000
of those arms and then a big body move on the way through. If you remember how quiet their lower

00:09:00,000 --> 00:09:05,000
body was check out this amateurs lead leg and you'll see that he's controlling a lot of that

00:09:05,000 --> 00:09:14,000
bracing and a lot of that pivot by using his body. You'll also see that the left rib cage is really

00:09:14,000 --> 00:09:21,000
rotating through the shot. He's doing this as much more of a body hit. Part of the reason I believe

00:09:21,000 --> 00:09:28,000
he's doing this as a body hit is because his upper body or his head is too far behind the golf ball.

00:09:28,000 --> 00:09:34,000
So he has to use that body turn in order to steepen the path of the club back out.

00:09:35,000 --> 00:09:43,000
But that combination tends to lead itself to more of a shallow or wide path.

00:09:43,000 --> 00:09:48,000
So he gets the club very low to the sand here and then what's going to happen is he's either

00:09:48,000 --> 00:09:54,000
going to hit slightly behind it or more likely he's going to actually blade it because he does not have

00:09:54,000 --> 00:10:00,000
enough of a downward angle of attack because he doesn't have enough of the upper body on top or

00:10:00,000 --> 00:10:06,000
that wrist hinge and that combination is one of the ones that you'll frequently see with the higher

00:10:06,000 --> 00:10:12,000
handy capers. You tend to struggle with either chunking it or bleeding it but primarily the ones who

00:10:12,000 --> 00:10:18,000
air more on the side of blade. So now as we look over here on the left he doesn't have a ton of

00:10:18,000 --> 00:10:26,000
knee flex so his posture is more bent over. So that by itself is going to create more of a steep

00:10:26,000 --> 00:10:31,000
angle of attack we'll see what he does to adjust it. We know that he created some of the shallowness

00:10:31,000 --> 00:10:37,000
by having his upper body tilt away from the golf ball on the way down. So now even though he takes

00:10:37,000 --> 00:10:44,000
it away nice and shallow you'll see that this golfer tends to come down on a very steep path.

00:10:44,000 --> 00:10:50,000
This is the old school method of swing way left and across the ball which does tend to work

00:10:51,000 --> 00:10:57,000
but the more modern punk or technique is to come on more of a shallow or more neutral path.

00:10:57,000 --> 00:11:07,000
So as we saw those golfers when we took a look at their exit path we saw that the club was

00:11:07,000 --> 00:11:13,000
tending to work more a little bit in-out. You see that this golfer is working very much out to in.

00:11:13,000 --> 00:11:19,000
Pretty much only gives him the option of hitting super super high but gives him the high risk of

00:11:19,000 --> 00:11:24,000
either hitting the chunk or the blade of shot. He tends to air on more of the blade of shot.

00:11:25,000 --> 00:11:31,000
So from this down the line you can also see a fair amount of that body spinning. That body spinning

00:11:32,000 --> 00:11:38,000
is going to make it very difficult for him to have his hands even with the golf wall winning

00:11:38,000 --> 00:11:43,000
its contact. You can see that he's still got a fairly straight line between the club head and the left shoulder

00:11:45,000 --> 00:11:52,000
that takes away bounce and makes contacting behind the ball precarious. So he'll air on kind of bending

00:11:52,000 --> 00:11:59,000
those arms and picking it or trying to blade it. This gives you a very small margin of air

00:11:59,000 --> 00:12:04,000
and this golfer has a very low chance of hitting a very successful one-grishat.

00:12:05,000 --> 00:12:11,000
So now we'll take a look at one more amateur and this golfer doesn't quite have the same path

00:12:11,000 --> 00:12:15,000
problem as the higher hand to cap golfer but he still has a lot of contact issues because he uses

00:12:15,000 --> 00:12:22,000
more of a body pivot strategy instead of an arm as the engine strategy. So it's actually very

00:12:22,000 --> 00:12:29,000
subtle but if you're to look at his right foot you can see that as he starts down

00:12:31,000 --> 00:12:37,000
that right foot during the downswing is actually sliding a good bit away. So that's a clear indication

00:12:37,000 --> 00:12:43,000
that he's using he's trying to use his lower body to push against the ground as opposed to just

00:12:43,000 --> 00:12:49,000
using his lower body to get into good position and then using the arm to engine or be the power

00:12:49,000 --> 00:12:55,000
source for the swing. Now one of the common times that I'll see this is when the golfer does not

00:12:55,000 --> 00:13:02,000
have a wide enough stance so that by itself we'd cause kind of a steep angle attack and so what

00:13:02,000 --> 00:13:09,000
he ends up doing is he will as he shifts his body he tries to shallow it out by moving back away

00:13:10,000 --> 00:13:15,000
with a very open club face that really gives him the option of hitting the high spinner

00:13:16,000 --> 00:13:21,000
or blading it and chunking it and he tends the air on more of the chunk shot he leaves the

00:13:21,000 --> 00:13:30,000
lot of shots in the bunker. Now part of that is because as he approaches impact you'll see that his hands

00:13:31,000 --> 00:13:35,000
wipe kind of across his body which is good for the false wing he's a very good

00:13:36,000 --> 00:13:43,000
there's a high single digit handicap golfer so he's a good ball striker but you'll see that

00:13:44,000 --> 00:13:49,000
compared to what the pros do for these shots that's way too much of the white or drag of the

00:13:49,000 --> 00:13:55,000
handle across there should be more of that trail arm straightening which would be balanced by a

00:13:55,000 --> 00:14:02,000
little bit more stacked body position you can see when when he gets pretty close to impact his upper

00:14:02,000 --> 00:14:08,000
body is a good bit both behind his lower body that's a good recipe for driving the wall but a

00:14:08,000 --> 00:14:15,000
poor recipe for a good bunker play so even though the overall shape and path of the club isn't

00:14:16,000 --> 00:14:24,000
that problematic he still has a lot of contact issues because of how he pivots or how he powers

00:14:24,000 --> 00:14:31,000
this wing and that affects where he ultimately controls his low point so now that you've had to look

00:14:31,000 --> 00:14:37,000
at some amateurs let's just quickly flash back and look at what powers the swing so we'll see that

00:14:37,000 --> 00:14:44,000
the lower body the core through the shot is going to be fairly quiet but you can see that his

00:14:45,000 --> 00:14:51,000
upper body is pretty much on top of his lower body and they're both pointed just ahead of the golf wall

00:14:51,000 --> 00:14:55,000
if you try to get if you try to power your swing with more of your body and get your body

00:14:55,000 --> 00:15:00,000
pointed way out in front of the golf ball you're going to produce way too much shaft lean you'll see that

00:15:01,000 --> 00:15:07,000
as he approaches impact his right hand has already started to really pass the left and his

00:15:07,000 --> 00:15:12,000
shaft is leaning straight up and down not in a straight line with his lead arm so you'll see that the

00:15:12,000 --> 00:15:18,000
club passes very very quickly from the down the line here we have Justin Rose and we'll be able to see

00:15:18,000 --> 00:15:25,000
again a quieter movement from the lower body especially through the ball so during that release you'll

00:15:25,000 --> 00:15:31,000
primarily see a trail arm and arm movement you're not going to see a really big body pivot you don't

00:15:31,000 --> 00:15:37,000
see his body trying to really get out of the way and you'll see that from the down the line the

00:15:37,000 --> 00:15:44,000
overall path is going to be slightly shallow or slightly from the inside or more of almost a draw

00:15:44,000 --> 00:15:49,000
bias path where the club is exiting just outside the hands so if you can power the swing with your trail

00:15:49,000 --> 00:15:55,000
arm and get a really shallow path you too can be a very consistent bunker player to the point where

00:15:55,000 --> 00:16:00,000
you'll probably prefer being in a green side bunker than being in some really gnarly rough

00:16:01,000 --> 00:16:06,000
if you have any questions about your bunker game feel free to video tape it and submit a swing and we'll

00:16:06,000 --> 00:16:09,000
help you get on track

Subscribe now for full access to our video library.