Overcome the Dreaded Bunker Shot – 5 Tips for Instant Improvement

Majority of amateur golfers, especially high handicap players dread bunker shots.

Time after time they will either fail to get the ball out of the bunker or blade it right across the green.

In comparison professional players thrive in the bunker play department.

It is time to start loving bunkers instead of hating them, the following 5 tips will start guiding you along the path to good bunker play.

  • Weight position has to be on the front foot
  • The importance of a big backswing
  • Maintain the loft of the club
  • Step into the bunker with the correct mindset
  • The importance of speed


1.Weight position on the front foot

Before you attempt to hit a bunker shot it is important to set yourself up correctly.

Make sure that you take a wide stance with your feet and dig them into the sand a little bit. Stability is very important for good bunker play, thus having a stable base is essential.

Align your feet slightly left of your target, thus stand a bit open in relation to your target, this will not only allow for a swing path that is out to in, but it will also produce a steeper angle of attack which is what we are looking for when hitting a bunker shot.

The last key component of the setup is to ensure that roughly 60% of your weight is on your front (left) foot, for left handed players it will be their right foot.

Setting up correctly is half of the battle won towards better bunker play.

2.The importance of a big back swing

Amateur golfers often times get stuck into the thought pattern of short shot thus I need a short backswing. When we are hitting a bunker shot the opposite is true.

It is important to take a full backswing when hitting a bunker shot for different reasons. The first reason is for generation of speed, a key component for good bunker play.

Secondly taking a big backswing will improve your rhythm.

Often times players take a short backswing and by the time that they realize they need speed in order to get the club through the sand it’s too late.

Having a big backswing allows the the club to travel back down and through the sand with speed and smooth rhythm.

The last thing you want to do when hitting a bunker shot is to try and accelerate through the hitting area as a last gasp effort to obtain speed.


3.Maintain the loft of the club

When hitting a bunker shot the goal is for the club to enter the sand just behind the ball, the speed of the swing will assist the ball out of the sand and the loft on the club will determine the height of the shot.

Height is an important factor, the higher the ball comes out of the bunker the softer it will land on the green and the quicker it will stop.

When hitting a bunker shot open the clubface at address and aim to maintain the loft on the club throughout the shot.

4.Step into the bunker with the correct mindset

Majority of amateur golfers are doomed before they even step foot in the sand to hit their bunker shots.

Chances are if your self talk goes something similar to this you will have a very small chance of hitting a good bunker shot: “don’t go in the sand,” “I am terrible out of bunkers,” and the lost goes on and on.

It is important to have a positive outlook and to focus on what you want to do instead of thinking about what can go wrong. Another important mental aspect to keep in mind is to choose a smart shot out of the bunker.

If you are faced with a tough lie, or have little green to work with, choose the shot that will ensure that you next shot will be a putt.

There is nothing wrong with aiming away from the hole towards the big part of the green, being greedy will only cost you shots out of the sand.

5.The importance of speed

Speed is a very important component when hitting a bunker shot.

Without adequate speed the club won’t be able to move through the sand and the ball won’t get out of the bunker, or even worse you will blade the ball either over the green or into the lip in front of you.

Taking a big backswing will allow the club to pick up momentum and speed. In addition always feel like you are accelerating throughout the shot.


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