Fault: Set-up issues in bunkers

Name: Jason Grech
Handicap: 8
Home Club: Windlesham
The problem: I don’t mind a nice clean lie on firm sand, but my problems come when there’s a lot of sand, or I’m on an uneven lie – particularly ball above feet. I can hit some very heavy shots then and am often thinking double bogey!

Watch all the essentials for good bunker play

GM Top 25 Coach Clive Tucker’s assessment
I got Jason to warm up level ground first, which was quite revealing as he was out of position right from the start. The ball was way too far forward, his hands were two or three inches behind the ball, and he had a square clubface, so not as much loft as you would like.

The bounce of the club doesn’t work very well then. He didn’t show much commitment through the ball either – I think there’s a lot of scar tissue from his bunker struggles over the years!

Clive’s remedy
We got a bit more loft showing at address, and the ball more inside the left heel than on the left toe. We moved the shaft to a more vertical position, and I actually got Jason to send a bit of sand up on to the green by encouraging him to swing it through to a full 7-iron finish (not necessarily the same backswing length!).

Clive Tucker works on set-up and swing issues to help 8-handicap Jason Grech find renewed confidence in the sand

After these adjustments it was easier to address the ‘ball above feet’ issue where he was coming in too steep with no loft and just taking huge divots. We got him standing a bit taller from the waist, which brings the spine up and promotes the more naturally shallow swing needed – a shallow strike up the slope rather than a steep one into it.

Watch Clive help 18-handicap Leslie Hines with stability issues in the sand

Jason’s feedback
I hadn’t realised how steep my swing was, and it was amazing how much difference all those set-up changes made. Clive encouraged me to hit it much harder too, which was mentally quite tough. But once a couple of shots have come out nice and soft you quickly learn to trust it.

Clive’s adjustments will be a big help going forwards, especially for the ball-above-feet lie. For that, we moved the ball more in the middle of my stance and made a much shallower swing – almost like hitting a hook. That’s something I’ve never tried before, but it worked!