Turned Pro: 2009
Best Win: 2012 Orchard Golf Championship, Philippines.
Mantra: There are only two options regarding commitment: you’re either in or you’re out. There’s no such thing as life in between.
GREENSIDE BUNKER PLAY
KEY TIP: This is one area of the game where amateurs struggle more than any other. When you’re trapped in a hazard, the key is to minimize the risk as much as possible. Just get out of the sand at the first attempt, and if that means splashing out sideways then do it.
THEORY: In many ways, it’s similar to the flop shot which Open champion Phil Mickelson plays so well. You’re trying to get the ball popping up as soon as possible, rather than attempting to hit it far.
STANCE: In the bunker you need a wide stance. Dig your feet into the sand to gain more stability. There’s not much weight transfer in the short game, so most of the time your weight is on the left foot.
SWING: Hit the sand an inch or two behind the ball – really blast the sand. If you have a nice lie you want a proper follow through; think of a splashing motion. Cut across and splash the ball out, rather than trying to dig it out or chop it out. If you use a chopping or digging action then the ball won’t have enough inertia and probably won’t come out of the bunker. Accelerate through the shot.
You’re playing a pairs match with your boss against a twosome from a rival company and you’re desperate to win – it might just help with that promotion application. With the match finely poised on the 18 hole, you’re trapped in a bunker 50 yards from the green…
THE 50-YARD BUNKER SHOT:
A 50-yard bunker shot is a tough play for a top professional, so I would always advise an amateur to play safe and just get the ball out of the trap – that is absolutely key. Going for the hero shot is a poor option; yes, if you pull it off it might save you a shot, but it could potentially cost you two or three. However, in this scenario where you have to go for it, then to give yourself a chance you have to look for an area on the green where you could potentially bail out – where there’s not another hazard that could come into play. Take a longer club like a nine-iron, don’t open the face as much but still pay it as a regular bunker shot. Your ball position should be slightly more to the middle of the stance. You want a lower trajectory on the ball to ensure that it travels further, but you still want to blast the sand before the ball.
KEY TIP: You don’t always have to use the same clubs for certain situations, like a sand wedge for a bunker shot. Play around with your short game. There are no hard and fast rules. As long as you are comfortable and confident with a shot then you’ve got a chance. The minute you start doubting, just play safe and get it back in play.