It’s ok..most of our bunker play sucks, but we’re going to fix that right now. Here are some great tips to help you get the ball out of the sand and on the dance floor every time. None of this is new, groundbreaking information, but it’s a simple list that might help some of you who have always struggled from bunkers or lost your sand game….
1. Feel the sand. You can’t use your club obviously, but dig your feet in and feel the consistency of the sand. Is it soft, wet underneath? Is there lots of sand, or is it fairly shallow? Sand conditions will determine which wedge to use and where you want your club to enter the sand.
2. Ball sitting up in a nice fluffy bunker lie, use a wedge club with more bounce and hit few inches behind the ball. This will let the ball fly out of the bunker on a cushion of sand and land softly on the green.
3. Hard packed sand / wet sand lie..use a sand wedge with less bounce. This will help you avoid hitting behind the ball and having the club bounce off the hard sand resulting in blading the ball across the green. A 60* wedge is a great choice here. Close the clubface and hit an inch behind the ball. You want to hit this more like a pitch shot than a typical bunker shot.
4. Fairway bunker shots over 80 yards. These are the toughest shots in golf. The trick here is to HIT THE BALL FIRST. If you take any sand before you contact the ball….it’s FAT CITY! So set your feet, but don’t dig way in. Keep your lower body still, take the club back a little steeper than normal, and come down into the back of the ball, following through as normal. Take one extra club for these shots and you’ll be on the green much more often.
5. Get your legs involved. With the exception of the longer fairway bunker shots, you should always have your legs moving toward the target on bunker shots. This allows you to continue through the ball which allows it to get up and out of the bunker. Don’t do the chop and stop like so many amateurs do…this won’t get you on the green with any consistency.
Bunkers don’t have to be scary, but you do have to practice these shots to become comfortable with them. The main things to remember is that you just want to get it out of the sand and on the green. You don’t need to be 2 feet from the pin…simply getting on the green and giving yourself a chance to save par is your main goal. It will turn those double and triple bogeys into pars and bogeys at worst.
Be confident in the bunker. Get in there, open your stance a little, open your club face a little, set your feet, and hit a spot behind the ball. Follow through like your normal swing and the ball WILL GET OUT OF THE SAND…this is a guarantee. If you found this article helpful, please link to it so others may find it useful. Until next time.