Inevitably you will find your ball in a green-side bunker. It happens to all of us. You should be able to hit the ball consistently with a pitch length swing before you can expect predictable results from the sand. This shot can be intimidating but there are simple adjustments you need to make to ensure success. Once you understand how it works, this is a very fun shot to hit.
If you really struggle with this shot, practice your pitching and full swing. The more consistent you become there, the easier this shot is to execute.
Basic Concept of Bunker Shots
The Sand Wedge
Bunker – Set-Up
Bunker – The Swing
Bunker – Common Errors
Grounding the Club in the Bunker
High Handicappers start at Level 1 and work your way up. Here is your challenge for the BUNKER SHOT:
Level 1: No Ball. Take 5 practice swings and get the sand to fly out of the bunker. Challenge is 5 in a row.
Level 2: Draw a line in the sand from the ball to between your feet. Have the line slightly in front of center. Hit 5 balls and notice where the club enters the sand relative to the line. The more inconsistent the entry to the sand the more inconsistent your result. Challenge 3 of 5 near line.
Level 3: Hit 10 balls. High Handicapper – get 5 out of bunker. Mid Handicapper – get 5 on the green. Low Handicapper – get 5 within 10 feet.
Level 4: Do the same drill above but vary the distance you are from hole.
You CAN do this!
I feel like I take sand and set up properly but the ball doesn't get out of the bunker. What am I doing wrong?
If you are struggling to hit your ball far enough or you leave a lot of balls in the bunker it may be that your club face is too open. While it is important to use the bounce of the club in this shot by opening your club face at address, some players may open the face in their swing. If this is the case, the face would be SUPER open, like a spatula, and there is no loft on the club left. If you suspect this is your situation, I suggest you do not open the club at address. See if that helps. The other reason that players struggle to get the ball out of the bunker is not enough swing. Make sure you are swinging to 10:00 with your arms and finishing your swing.
How do I hit a really long bunker shot?
Long bunker shots can be tricky. I think it is key to know how far is too far with your sand wedge. In other words, the bigger or harder you swing at a shot you may notice that you get less consistent and struggle with distance control. Experiment with your other wedges and check out LONG BUNKER SHOTS in TRICKY SHOTS (Available on Day 7)