Column: A day at the beach

In today’s column, Chilliwack Golf Academy instructor Dick Whitlam talks about how to properly navigate out of a sand trap.

This time of year us golfers have a joke that we can go to the beach and be playing golf at the same time.

This joke refers to sand traps on the golf course.

For most people bunkers are a dreaded place to be, but they shouldn’t be.

The problem is most golfers completely change their swings when they get in a sand trap, when you don’t have to. The only thing that should change is your focus as to where you enter the sand.

The rule of thumb is this; one to two inches before the ball and one to two inches under the ball will produce a soft shot that lands softly on the green. Some golfers actually try to help lift the ball out of the trap by swinging up at it. Or they will try and pick it off the sand. Both are wrong!

The correct way to play the shot is to position the ball in the center of your stance or up to two inches forward of the center of your stance.

Dig your feet into the sand for better traction. Use your normal swing but aim one to two inches before the ball.

Swing in a moderately steep plane and continue one to two inches under the ball. You must swing with conviction and follow through because the sand will act as a pillow.

The ball will ride on the sand so you must hit the sand out of the trap. You can vary the height the ball comes out of the trap by increasing or decreasing the loft on your club.

This is done by opening the face (increasing loft) or closing the face (decreasing loft). Finish your swing with your weight on your lead leg (left leg for a right hander).

Ending your swing with the club face still open will produce higher shots.

There are many variations of sand shots and the better you get at them the more fun it is. Just remember to use your normal swing mechanics and to relax.

Have fun on the beach this summer, whether it’s by the water or at the golf course.


Dick Whitlam is a class “A”, C.P.G.A teaching professional with the Chilliwack Golf Academy. Email – or phone/text 604-819-1141

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gabriel Klein sits in the prisoner’s dock during the first day of his trial on Oct. 7 in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (Sketch by Felicity Don)
Judge to rule on criminal responsibility of man who stabbed Abbotsford students

Gabriel Klein was convicted last year for the murder of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer

Two ejected from single vehicle crash in Seabird Island

Landing zone for medevac has been requested

(File photo)
Semi truck and car collide on Highway 1 near Popkum

Slow lane eastbound is now closed as crews wait for tow trucks

Treeplanters from Shakti Reforestation are adding to the forests of Mount Thom Park. (City of Chilliwack)
Treeplanting project in Mount Thom Park will keep Chilliwack forest resilient

So far they’ve planted 2,000 of 80,000 trees planned for popular park on Promontory

Fire damage is seen in the windows of an apartment on Yale Road on April 21, 2021 following a fire there the night before. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack Fire Dept. reminds people again to have working smoke alarms following 2nd blaze in 2 days

All six halls responded to bedroom fire in apartment on Yale Road above restaurant in Chilliwack

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Ocean Legacy Foundation members conduct a shoreline pollution cleanup in Vancouver. (OLP)
It’s time to end ‘suffocating’ plastic pollution along B.C. shorelines, advocates urge

This Earth Day, Ocean Legacy Foundation is launching a free educational platform to educate the public about plastic pollution

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
B.C. teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. university rowing coach ‘deeply sorry’ after complaints

Barney Williams says he’s been committed to ensuring no other member of the roster had a similar experience

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
B.C. girl’s wish granted as her cat came back, two years later

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

Stu Burgess is operations manager for Golden Ears and Rolley Lake Provincial Parks. (The News files)
Golden Ears park camping to be limited to those in local health region

Fraser Health Authority and Vancouver Coastal Health now considered one region

Thousands have converged in Whonnock Lake Park to enjoy the nice weather. (Roxanne Hooper/The News)
Thousands enjoy B.C. park with warnings about social distancing

Portable toilets installed in anticipation of nice weather

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Most Read