There are four simple rules and three drills that you can use to get out of the sand every time. Most golf students seem to have a lack of confidence, or outright fear, when it comes to the bunkers around the green. The thought of their ball going into the bunker forces them to hit shots that steer clear of the danger. The odd thing about the bunker is that, at least for southern courses with Bermuda grasses, the bunker is the most forgiving surface around the green. Even northern grasses require precision on contact, whereas the sand requires no direct contact with the ball to get maximum control.
After you choose your highest lofted club, here are four simple rules to make your bunker game more consistent:
- Line up with the ball off the inside part of your left foot. This allows your upward swing path to carry the ball out of the bunker and onto the green without direct contact with the clubface.
- Open your stance and align the clubface with the target. To align your clubface with the target, look at the grooves on your club and imagine your target line. Once it looks like an upside down T, then you are aligned. For the advanced golfer, this is opening up the clubface to utilize the bounce on the bottom of the club.
- Imagine a line two inches behind the golf ball that you would like the club to START into the sand. Hit the sand, it is your friend. You would like for the club to start into the sand two inches behind the ball so there is ample sand to help push the ball out of the trap. DO NOT TRY TO MAKE CONTACT WITH THE BALL. The benefit of hitting a ball out of the sand is the forgiveness with the initial entrance of the club into the sand. A good entrance place is two inches behind the ball, but there is about an inch of leniency on either side of that line — 1-3 inches behind the ball and the shot will still react the same way.
- FINISH THE GOLF SWING. Finish the golf swing. Finish the golf swing. This is the most important part of the sand shot. For almost every bunker shot it is imperative to let the club hit the sand and force the sand out of the trap. Remember, you are trying to hit the SAND out of the bunker, not the ball. The sand will push the ball out with the force of the swing, just focus on the sand leaving the bunker.
Here are three drills that are great to get your accuracy right.
- Draw a line in the sand and use it as your 2” behind the ball line. Put a ball down two inches in front of the line to get a visual of how to set up to the line. Remove the ball and swing through so that you enter the sand at the line. Draw a line across the bunker and continue to set up to the line and practice letting the wedge hit the sand on that line. Once you start getting consistent, then you can move on to Drill 2.
- Draw the line in the sand and set golf balls down two inches in front of the line with about one foot of space in between the balls. This will allow you to practice without a ball, just trying to hit the line, and then try it with the ball.
- Draw the line and do the same as above, just without the practice swings. Hit a shot every time but continue focusing on starting the club into the sand on the 2” line.
Try it out and respond with a comment below about your results or any other areas that you would like covered.
Hit it close and make the putt!