These 6 steps for improving your bunker technique reduces the fear of bunker play and builds self-confidence in your shot-making capabilities.
Although hitting from a bunker is straightforward once you learn the basics of stance and posture, the thought of hitting into a greenside sand trap unsettles many golfers.
There are few situations around the golf course that scare the average player quite like having to climb down into a bunker to play a shot.
The typical golfer would usually prefer to be just about anywhere else other than in the sand – even though bunker shots can be relatively easy when you have the right technique on your side.
Assuming the texture of the sand is similar, and the ball is not plugged, the technique for hitting out of a greenside bunker remains the same for shots up to 30 yards (27m).
The key to making this shot, as I’ve explained in my golf tips, is hitting the sand about 1 to 2 inches behind the ball, throwing the sand forward with the ball.
For longer shots, the only thing that changes is the swing’s length. The rhythm and tempo remain the same.
Below are 6 points that are also covered in Creating a Perfect, Consistent Golf Swing. They are the focus of improving your bunker technique, also covered are the fundamentals of stance and posture.
1. Know Where the Ball Lies.
When you get down into a bunker to review your lie and your path to the hole, your first thought should be about getting the ball out and onto the grass.
Sure, you would love to place the ball close to the hole for an easy putt, but don’t get ahead of yourself.
2. Move Arms Away in Unison
Having taken a slightly open stance, resist the temptation to get too steep early in the takeaway. Keep the wrists passive as you sweep the club away.
Try to synchronize the arm swing and body turn.
In other words, make the first part of the takeaway a one-piece movement. Also, make sure the clubhead follows the path away from the ball parallel to the line of your toes.
3. Rotate and Open
Rotate your left arm and wrists as the swing continues as if you were looking at a wristwatch. It’s a visual I often use in my golf instruction to help players remember to make the move.
It opens the clubface and helps maximize the bounce effect on the sand wedge at impact. Also, start hinging your wrists as the clubhead passes your right thigh.
Keep your head still, turn the left shoulder in under the chin, and turn your back to the target.
4. Turn to the Top
As your body turns, you should feel as if your clubhead is pointing toward the sky and your wrists are cocked. Keep your head and body-centered over the ball.
Swing the club down on a slightly flatter plane, with good rhythm and tempo, as always. This is a key move any time you swing a club.
5. Make the Right Contact
Hitting the right impact point is critical when playing from the sand. In golf lessons, I tell students to visualize the ball sitting on top of a tee instead of the sand.
Then focus on clipping the tee beneath the ball, which just happens to get in the swing’s way. Executed properly, this move will throw the ball out of the bunker with just the right amount of sand.
6. Create a Controlled Explosion
As the club comes down in the downswing, you should feel your hands drag left, pulling them across the ball through impact.
Make sure that your right-hand doesn’t cross over the left and that you clear your left hip as the club comes through.
If the stance and clubhead are open sufficiently, the ball will fly straight, with a high trajectory.
Of course, the technique for longer bunker shots differs slightly. The key with longer shots is in the follow-through. Use a full finish for long bunker shots, and a short finish for shorter bunker shots.
Below are two exercises that I use in golf lessons to help students improve their bunker technique:
• This exercise establishes how the sand wedge should really work. Stand in a practice bunker without a ball. Adopt your normal bunker stance and take several swings down into the sand.
The object is to get the feel of the clubhead dragging through the sand, not digging into it. After a dozen shots, try hitting a ball. Pick out a spot where you want the ball to land and then go for it.
Repeat the exercise until you’re comfortable with the feel of the wedge splashing through the sand.
• Focusing on a spot where the clubhead hits can divert attention from where it emerges, resulting in a fluffed shot.
The “Two Lines” exercise helps eliminate the tendency to lose focus. Stand in a bunker and take your normal bunker stance. Draw two lines in the sand about 6 to 7 inches apart.
The lines represent the length of the sand you should carve from under the ball. Line up several balls between the two lines then hit them.
The clubhead should enter the sand where the first line is and emerge where the second line is.
Practicing these two exercises while keeping the 5 points in mind will help build a better bunker technique.
To sum it all up.
Be confident, this can be applied to any shot on the golf course, but it is especially important in the sand since so many players get nervous as they walk into a bunker.
When you have to play a bunker shot, you can’t let your fears or doubts enter into the equation – you need to be confident
Remember that hitting from a bunker is straightforward once you learn the basics of stance and posture, the thought of hitting into a greenside sand trap unsettles many golfers.
But, improving your bunker technique reduces the fear of bunker play and builds self-confidence in your shot-making capabilities.
As you become more and more comfortable with hitting out of a bunker, you will increase your self-confidence. And that is what leads to better play and lower golf handicaps.
The most important lesson in golf is to just have fun. The internet is a good source of information on how to play the game.
Secondly, there are many videos available that can teach you everything from improving your swing to putting. Check out Our Golf Shop for tips on improving your game, and for your golf equipment needs.
Most people give up on the game of golf before they really understand the dynamics of hitting that little ball. Get Creating a Perfect, Consistent Golf Swing to discover the secrets of hitting a golf ball perfectly … every time you swing!
Golf Guru “This Book Below Will Show You Exactly What You Need To Do To Finally Be A Success With Golf!” From a person just like you who has struggled with golf.