Ernie Els: Greenside bunker shot, Muirfield 2002

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There were plenty in contention come Sunday of the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2002. Ernie Els, who took a two-shot lead into the final round, had a three-shot lead when he stepped on the tee of the tricky par-3 13th. The South African pulled his tee shot into the deepest of pot bunkers, only to play a miraculous sand shot to two feet to save his par.

The shot, later voted the best of the year, helped Els claim his only Claret Jug, which he eventually won by defeating Thomas Levet, Steve Elkington and Stuart Appleby in a play-off. Els’ bunker play was immaculate all week, getting up-and-down from an even more awkward lie in a bunker on the final play-off hole, the 18th, to win the trophy.

The key to mastering this shot is to control the amount of sand you take by having a consistent entry point. This ensures the sand doesn’t slow the club too much and the ball comes out high enough to clear the lip of the bunker.

NOW PLAY THE SHOT

Master the bunkers on your favourite course...

ADDRESS

NEGATE THE SLOPES
At address, your knees and shoulders need to be parallel to any sideslopes you have. This essentially makes the shot easier as it feels and plays like a flat lie.

BACKSWING

KEEP THE BODY CENTRED
Maintain the position of your sternum during your swing. The deepest part of your divot will be under here, so this ensures a consistent point of contact.

IMPACT

HIT THE SAND ON THE GREEN
Feel like you're hitting the sand and the ball on to the green. This helps you accelerate through and complete your swing. It also stops the sand slowing down the clubhead.