How to play sand bunker shots like a pro
I used to hate my golf ball landing into the bunker.
I remember feeling scared and uncertain, wondering how I could possibly get the ball out of the sand.
The sand bunker shot scares the life out of most of golfers.
The sand bunker has destroyed many potential great golf rounds as well as many golfers minds.
Knowing how to get out and how to play sand bunker shots confuses most golfers and also frustrates them.
Your own sand bunker struggles
I bet you can remember vividly when you last chunked a bunker shot and left it in the sand and took another two to get out.
Maybe you knifed or bladed it thin and watched it go sailing over the back of the green into the water hazard … sound familiar?
You would have read many times to open the clubface, open your stance and follow through. Whilst these tips are valid the problem is they only go so far to explain it.
More knowledge is needed to become a competent sand bunker player.
The good news is learn how to play sand bunker shots is not that difficult as long as your understand a couple of basic principles in the set up and execution.
Perform these correctly and I guarantee you will not only get the ball out of the bunker easily but actually hit it close to the flagstick.
I use the Short Game Improvement Program to fix my sand bunker shots and now get the ball close to the flag nearly every time I come out of the sand.
The program is simple to use and is great for low and high handicappers who only play once a week or even a month.
1. Keep 60% of your weight on your left side
Most other golf shots your weight shifts from one side to the other. However, in the sand bunker the rules change.
I’ve always applied the 60 / 40 rule here but it differs from player to player.
In other words 60% of your weight needs to be on your lead side closer to the ball.
Maintain your weight in this position at the start, during and at the finish of the swing.
It’s vital that you keep your weight forward. This helps you hit the golf ball with a steeper angle and get the clubhead to slide underneath the sand.
Any weight transfer to the opposite or back leg causes the clubhead to raise and potentially cause bladed, thinned or fat bunker shots.
2. Flip Hands & Get a Full Wrist Release
Ensure your hands break or hinge as quickly as possible on the backswing. Next, your hands should hinge and cross over straight after impact with the golf ball.
At the top of the backswing the right hand is sitting on top of the left.
However, just after impact the right hand has started to cross over.
The wrists hinge sharply on the backswing and then they are fully hinged on the follow through.
Watch this video on how to play sand bunker shots and some additional insights on how to play great shots from the sand.
Now it's your turn
Instead of being intimidated by how to play sand bunker shots, approach them with confidence.
Read through and practice the techniques listed above.
Remember, weight on the left side and don’t forget to hinge on the way back and full wrist release on the way through.
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