Master the Course

Bunker Shots Made Easy

By Bill Murchison III, PGA Professional
Published on

The bunker shot scares most amateurs, but it doesn't have to. I once got a few great bunker tip from Luke Donald, one of the best sand players in the world, and incorporating them into my game and my teaching has made not only getting out of the trap easier, but hitting the ball close to the pin easier as well.

So here are a few key basic things to remember about getting out of bunkers.

  1. Put the “forward” in your stance. Think it's far enough forward? Luke Donald says you can't put it forward enough.

  2. Keep the face wide open throughout the swing. Some teachers will you to visualize a cup of water on the clubface that you don't want to spill by rotating the face in any direction. Practice finding the optimal rotation of the face out of the trap for you. You want to have the club open as you splash down into the sand.

  3. You do not hit the ball, you hit the sand behind the ball. Don't try to "pick" the ball out of the trap. The closer to the ball you hit, the more your ball will spin. But regardless, on the greenside bunker shot, you'll want to hit the sand first.

I see too many players who balloon their scores based on one or two shots that find the traps around the green. It doesn't have to be that way. A little practice in the bunker while utilizing these tips should help you feel more comfortable and confident over those shots.