My play from sand traps, which bothered me for a good long time, has improved a great deal since I began to make it a point to position my head behind the ball and keep it there.
Before that, when I had my head set almost over the ball, there was too much weight on my left side—which in turn brought on two errors, both of them bad and costly. The first error was that I would hit down too abruptly on the ball. I'd dig the blade in deep and sometimes leave the ball still lying in the trap. The second error that grew out of having the weight too far forward was that I would sometimes dig into the sand too far behind the ball. More than once I contacted the sand a full four inches behind the ball. When you dig in that far behind, you'll get blade action (which is the last thing you want on a sand shot) and you'll hit the ball much too far.
When you set your head definitely and surely behind the ball, it has the effect of distributing your weight equally on both feet. For another thing, when you keep your head anchored behind the ball, I think it gives you a better and longer look at the spot in the sand behind the ball you are aiming to hit. I hope you will go out and try this suggestion, for I believe it is a genuine shortcut to becoming a sounder bunker player.
Fred Hawkins, El Paso CC, Texas
Above: incorrect—head too far forward
At right: correct—head behind the ball
NEXT WEEK: Terl Johnson on curing hitting behind the ball