Short chips are generally quite safe. They require relatively minimal club movement and body rotation, and there is less room for error overall. However, things become a lot different when you introduce a sand trap into the equation.
The problem many amateur players have with playing chips over bunkers is largely mental. It’s not so much an inability to play the ball safely over the sand hazard, but more about the concern of the ball finding the sand and costing strokes. It is the lack of confidence that results in players thinning or chunking the ball.
Rickie Fowler and Butch Harmon share some valuable tips about playing short shots over bunkers in the video on the following page. Fowler discusses how many amateur players are often scared of these chip shots, doubting their ability to control the ball as it carries a hazard. The result of this? They swing too fast, they decelerate through the ball, or they simply fail to commit to the shot altogether.
Fowler draws attention to a number of technical factors which you must get right to play these shots effectively. First off, you’ve got to get your setup right. Make sure your weight is at least half on your front foot, allowing the club to attack the back edge of the ball.
Another important factor is the size of your backswing. Get this wrong and it will completely throw off your tempo, which will make it substantially more difficult to smoothly connect with the ball. When approaching the ball, decide how big your swing should be, and be confident in your decision.
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