How much sand should I take for perfect bunker shots?

How much sand should I take for perfect bunker shots?

In this exclusive instruction feature, John Jacobs asks how much sand should I take for perfect bunker shots and offers some simple tips and drills

The key to being a good bunker player is to take a consistent amount of sand. Always having the same sized splash around the ball will make it far easier for you to control the distance but how big should that splash be and how much sand should I take for perfect bunker shots?

Some players take a little more than others but a good thought is to create a splash that is around the size of a £20 bank note. Imagine the ball is sat on the middle of that note – that’s the ideal amount of sand to dislodge either side of the golf ball.

Bank Note Bunker Shot

Tee Peg Bunker Drill for Golf

Distance Control Drill

If the size of the splash is the same, you can use some different techniques to change the flight and distance to get the ball close. Here is a great drill. Head to the practice bunker and hit a normal splash shot with your usual sand wedge. Now replace your sand wedge with your 8-iron. At address, move the ball forwards in your stance, open the face a little more and drop your hands down. Now make a normal swing. You’ll be surprised by how high the ball flies and how softly it lands.

Greenside bunker distance control

Now hit the same shot with your six iron. Move your hands down the grip, move the ball even further forward and drop your hands down even more. Make a normal swing. This drill is a great way of adding some versatility to your short game without having to change the swing itself. Crucially, you should try to keep the size of the splash the same throughout.

Short Game Tips Videos

Shallow splash drill

When asking how much sand should I take for perfect bunker shots, you also need to think about speed. I find in my coaching that players swing far too aggressively from sand. The club is swung on too steep an angle and it digs through impact. If your splash is nice and shallow, you will be surprised at how softly you can swing the club through impact. So for this drill I want you to swing the club as softly as possible – crucially, try to take a normal £20-sized splash and ensure the club doesn’t go too deeply into the sand. You will be surprised at how softly you can swing and still get the ball out. This ability to take speed off will really help your distance control from bunkers.

Neil Tappin
Neil Tappin

Neil has worked for Golf Monthly for over 15-years. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. Neil is currently a 3-handicap golfer who has played the game for as long as he can remember. In his role at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing all new drivers and is part of a team testing golf balls. He is able to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!"


Neil is currently playing: Driver: Titleist TSi3 Fairway Wood: Titleist TSi2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X