How To Hit A Bunker Shot?
Escape the sand traps and conquer the bunker shots like a pro with our experts' advice.
Landing a golf ball in a bunker is every golfer's worst nightmare. Once the ball gets trapped in the sand, green seems miles away, and the aim to score low becomes an uphill battle. To avoid such a dreaded situation, golfers can choose one of two options: either steer clear of these hazards or master the art of hitting perfect bunker shots.
Given the prevalence of bunkers on golf courses worldwide, avoiding them is impractical. Therefore, it's best to toughen up, overcome the fear of sandy traps, and learn to strategically play bunker shots. In this article, we will teach you all the tips and tricks to stand tall in the face of sandy hazards and hit the perfect bunker shots (even if you are a high handicap golfer). So let's get started.
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STEP 1: Choose The Right Club
The first step to executing the perfect bunker shot is identifying the right golf club. A 56-degree sand wedge, featuring bounce on the trailing edge, is ideal for greenside bunkers, as the wedge’s high loft and bounce will be your best friends in the bunker. Let us explain how.
When playing the bunker shot, your club must slide through the sand, not dig a trench in it. The sand wedge with a loft of around 54 to 58 degrees and good bounce is specifically designed to help you achieve that shot. It allows the ball to achieve a high trajectory and the curved trailing edge (bounce) lets the club "bounce" off the sand rather than dig into it too deeply or getting stuck in the sand.
In other words, the 56-degree sand wedge is perfect for bunker shots because it gets the ball up in the air and out of the bunker while preventing the club from digging too much into the sand.
STEP 2: Adjust Your Club Grip Position
Experts prefer a full-length club for regular shots as it adds power. In bunker shots, however, you required more finesse than power. Therefore, when playing bunker shots, it is ideal to position your hands and fingers slightly lower on the grip of the club. Doing this will shorten the length of the shaft, bring you closer to the ball, and offer better control for finer shots.
STEP 3: Position the Clubface Open for Bunker Shots
When playing bunker shots, your approach to gripping the sand wedge differs from your typical grip on other golf clubs.Rather than aligning the clubface square to the target, you must adopt a grip that opens the clubface, causing it to point slightly to the right (for right-handed golfers) and left for left handed golfers.
The open club face is crucial because it adds loft to the club, allowing the ball to go up high into the air. The open club face also enhances the club's bounce, preventing it from digging too deep into the sand and creating a messy shot.
Now, here's the key: When you open the clubface, make sure you do it by turning the club itself in your hands, not just by twisting your wrists. Doing so will prevent you from instinctively repositioning your wrist- and club to square position during the swing.
STEP 4: Adopt A Wide & Open Stance:
After setting up the club, pay attention to your stance. For a bunker shot, it is ideal to have your legs shoulder-width apart. A bit wider than that will also do. The wide stance enhances balance and stability, helping you maintain strong footing during the swing. It also increases the proximity to the ball, making it easier for your club to contact the sand rather than the ball.
In addition to widening your stance, you should also open your stance. This means positioning your feet so they point to the left of your target (for right-handed golfers). The open stance aligns your club face more in line with your target, facilitating a smooth and successful bunker shot.
STEP 5: Position The Ball Forward
Unlike normal playing conditions, where it's recommended to position the golf ball in the middle of the stance, a bunker shot requires placing the ball slightly ahead of the centre. Doing so will allow the club to make contact with the sand and not the golf ball (In a bunker, you want to hit the sand behind the ball to scoop it up and out without striking the ball directly) as it lifts the ball out of the bunker with the required loft and control.
STEP 6: Dig Your Feet Into The Sand
Once you achieve the ideal stance, dig your feet into the sand for enhanced balance and stability during the swing. Sand can be slippery enough to make you lose footing, leading to less control and accuracy in the swing. Digging in provides the traction needed to keep the feet firmly planted on the ground and ensures effective bunker shots.
STEP 7: Accelerate Towards the Ball with a Full Follow Through
When playing a bunker shot, make sure there are no reservations in your head. Give yourself time to attain the perfect stance, position the ball correctly and open the clubface. Once all that is done, hit the ball with full force. There must not be any doubt or hesitation in your mind, as it can cause you to decelerate your swing, leading to a poor shot.
Keep in mind that sand in a bunker will create resistance for the clubhead. To get the ball out of the bunker and onto the green, your swing speed and acceleration must be good. So do not hesitate and accelerate towards the ball with full follow-through.
STEP 8: Vary The Length Of the Backswing To Control Distance
By varying the backswing length, you can alter the distance the ball covers. Integrate bunker shot practice into your range sessions and experiment with different backswing lengths to see what works best for you.
Incorporating the above tips into your bunker shot strategy and dedicating time to practise - you can score low even when faced with several sandy hazards. Whenever you step foot on the golf course, dress in your best golf outfit, as wearing a highly functional golf tops with stretchable golf trousers can make a massive difference to your game.