APPROACH shots from sand between the 25 and 50-yard range are some of the most difficult to master. But assuming you have a good lie, applying the technical points from this “umbrella drill” will help achieve distance and a good strike consistently.
Draw a line in the sand from the ball towards you – this is a ball position line and creates the stem of the umbrella. The back of the ball should align with the centre of the stance for this shot.
Then draw a gentle arc either side of the ball, creating the umbrella canopy. This is giving you a swing path line. Take a shoulder-width set-up and position the sternum on top of the ball.
The sternum should stay on top of the ball throughout to ensure the low point occurs as close to the ball as possible, and that the loft on the face reaches the ball with little sand between the face and the ball to give maximum distance potential and spin control.
Low point control
Poor strikes occur through poor control of your sternum. Set your weight in your lead leg and your sternum over the ball. If you can rotate around your axis rather than ‘slide’ you will collect the ball more consistently.
Experiment with 9-iron to sand wedge
Follow the arc
The feeling during the swing is that the clubhead follows the line of the umbrella canopy. This gentle arc through the ball promotes a shallower ‘inside-square-inside’ swing path.
A fixed sternum and shallower, more inside swing path helps to optimise the club’s angle of approach and ensures only a little amount of sand comes between clubface and ball through impact.