Make sure you start your grip with your left arm hanging relaxed from your shoulder.
From here, put the club in the fingers of your left hand with the grip under the heel of your palm. You should be able to see 2 or 3 knuckles on your left hand.
To check your grip, stretch out your arm and see if the clubface stays square. Then put your left thumb into the groove of your right hand. Our video ‘the grip’ shows you how to grip correctly.
Step 2: Check your alignment
Lie a club on the ground parallel to the target and set up alongside it.
For most people this feels like aiming to the left, but if the club on the ground is parallel to the target, you must be too. Now, make sure your shoulders are parallel with your feet and hips.
Most people feel like their shoulders are pointing to the right, but you can have a friend put a club across your shoulders to check they are square with your feet.
From an open shoulder position, you would have to turn a lot more to complete your back swing.
Step 3: Check your body rotation
The later your shoulders turn into the ball making the club swing more from the inside, the lower the chance of hitting a slice.
Start turning your hips and abdomen at the start of your backswing. Let your body lead your shoulders and arms as you complete your rotation.
A good way to make sure you rotate your body is to concentrate on turning your belly button and belt to the right as you start your back swing. This makes it easier to turn your body back into the ball in the downswing.
Your shoulders should be square at impact, making the club swing straight into the ball for a straight shot.
As it is against the rules to touch the sand with your club before the shot, start by holding your club above the sand just behind the ball, aiming 10 feet left of the target. Set up with the line of your body pointing in the same direction as the clubface, and with the ball forward in your stance. Open the clubface, turning it to the right so that it directly faces the target, and then take your grip. To check that you are in the correct position to swing, make sure that your club points directly at your belly button. This will help you to swing parallel with the line of your set-up. A common mistake is to grip with the hands in front of the ball, so the club swings in from too far behind you, with disastrous results. You are now ready to start your swing.
Step 2: The swing
In the swing, the aim is that the clubhead enters the sand 2 or 3 inches behind the ball and the sand pushes the ball onto the green. Swing normally, rotating your body so it leads your arms and hands in a nice flowing motion. Grip the club gently and use only a light wrist action in the swing. Most importantly, keep your hands passive and avoid releasing the club through impact, so the clubface stays open throughout the shot. There is no need for power, just swing through and get the sand out of the bunker. Make sure you swing the clubhead parallel with your stance in the backswing, so the open clubface makes the ball fly to the right. A very common mistake is trying to swing in the direction of the target, which often causes the club to hit the sand too far behind the ball. Keep the height of your body constant throughout the backswing, making sure you swing the club down through the sand. Follow through as normal until your whole body is facing forwards and the ball should land nicely on the green.