How to play bunker shots like a pro
Do you have trouble getting your golf ball out of bunkers? Maybe you can get it out but watch in agony as the ball goes flying over the back of the green? If this sounds like you then you are in urgent need of some bunker help. Being a competent bunker player is a great asset to have and will really help lower your scores and break that magical 100 mark or even better. The good news is learning how to play bunker shots is not as difficult as you might think once you have the correct set up and fundamentals to execute the shot.
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How to play great bunker shots
To play great bunker shots you need to ensure you follow a number of fundamentals.
Without these it will be very difficult to consistently hit decent bunker shots and you'll be adding strokes to your scores.
However, get these fundamentals right and your chances will improve drastically and have no problem not only getting the ball out of the bunker but getting it close.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW THAT DEMONSTRATES HOW TO PLAY GREAT BUNKER SHOTS:
What not to do
These are the most important things you should not be doing when playing bunker shots.
- Put all your weight on your rear foot
- You lift or try to scoop the ball out of the bunker
- Play the golf ball off the back of your stance
- Decelerate on the downswing to the impact zone
- Shutting or closing the clubface
What should you be doing?
Dig your feet in
When you first enter the bunker and begin to get in your stance, you should always twist your feet back and forth.
These achieve two things:
- Gives you a feel for the type of sand you are in. By digging in your feet you can understand whether the sand is firm or soft. Firmer sand requires a slightly deeper contact with the golf club. Conversely, softer sand requires lesser penetration with the golf club through the sand.
Ball towards front of your stance
Having the ball slightly forward of centre helps the clubhead generate a highly trajectory at impact.
This promotes a softer landing shot on the green that will generate a little bit of spin and assist getting the ball closer to the flagstick.
For the sand wedge to do the job it’s designed to do it’s important that you open the face.
This enables the ‘bounce’ or bottom part of the clubhead to slide through the sand and move the golf ball up and into the air.
This is probably the most important element of how to play bunker shots.
All the top professionals you see on television have a large percentage of their weight forward when executing their bunker shuts.
I usually place about 70% of my weight forward in the bunker but anything around 60 – 80% is acceptable.
Why the weight forward?
- Helps promote a more down and through strike on the sand which enables the sand wedge to slide through the sand better.
- Delivers consistently better contact and helps generate more spin on the ball and a softer landing.
To help eliminate any of the bad lifting or scooping that I mentioned earlier, try to keep your shoulders down and level throughout the shot.
Aim for a spot about two inches behind the golf ball and let the clubhead slide underneath and pass the ball.
Give these how to play bunker shots tips a try and you’ll see an instant improvement in your sand bunker play.
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