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.