D Plane in the Bunker

January 11th, 2010 by John Graham Leave a reply »

There was an extensive discussion this week on twitter about how do we use the d plane when in a greenside bunker.  I initiated a discussion about what influences starting direction when the club doesn’t actually contact the ball.  Did the face still have the majority impact on the balls starting direction?  There was input from golf pros from all over the world.

Here’s a video provided by James Ridyard to support his claim that the face still played the major role in starting direction.  Follow this link to see the video:  http://twitvid.com/F7002.

James stated, correctly, that the path of the club is more to right(for right handed golfers) when the club hits the sand because it’s well before lowpoint.  It doesn’t actually reach lowpoint because of the bounce and sand deflection.   D plane helps to explain why it is necessary to aim more left(even if we don’t open the face) because of how right the path is as it is entering the sand.

The general consensus was that we still believe the face has the greater impact on starting direction out of the sand than the path even though the face never hits the ball.  No reason to believe that the little grains of sand would act any differently when contacting the face.  Out twitter group will try and collect some trackman club data from a bunker and I will post that when and if it becomes available.

I still have a bunch of concerns about this topic because I believe if done correctly, the face doesn’t contact the sand until after the initial collision with the bounce.  It seems to me, that the direction of this bounce will start to move the sand first and thus play a greater role in the balls starting direction.  Then there’s the fact of turning the clubface in for a plugged ball with the ball coming out right instead of left.

Please leave your comments and opinions and let’s see if we can’t come up with the correct answer before trackman does the heavy work for us.



  1. Christoph Bausek says:

    Hi John!
    Since you wrote this blog some time has gone by. Are there any Trackman-mesurements yet concerning the d-plane in the bunker? Please be so kind and let me know.

  2. John Graham says:


    I have not been able to accurately determine a definitive answer to this question. If you have any further information that you would like to share, please feel free to send me the link so I can update my post as well.

    Wish I had a better answer for you.


  3. John I took some interesting HS video recently where we had the face severely left facing and impacted the sand with the ball opposite the shank of the wedge, the ball pops out straight and fairly high, I will try and post the vid on you tube and send a link

  4. John Graham says:


    Thanks. Look forward to seeing it.

    Was it a buried lie shot?


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