How To Play Bunker Shots
In this video on how to play bunker shots, Dan Grieve, Head Professional Woburn Golf Club, demonstrates the technique required to escape greenside traps.
Watch the video with this article and you’ll soon be splashing the ball out with ease.
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The Set Up
Executing a good bunker shot relies on having the correct set up, and it’s important to create a wide base. This guards against one of the biggest faults – moving side-to-side during the shot – something that causes thin and fat shots.
Get your front foot turned out about 45 degrees; this allows you to push your front knee over your foot, forcing you to put around 80 per cent of your weight over the lead leg. You can set your spine angle back slightly by tilting your shoulders so that your left is a fraction higher than your right – this will encourage that shallow angle of attack we’re looking for here.
Then, position the ball just inside the left heel and make sure the shaft line is neutral, so the hands don’t go ahead of behind the ball. The clubface can be slightly open, and stand a bit further away from the ball, too, to allow your hands to drop nice and low at address with plenty of knee flex to feel as though you are really rooted in the sand.
From here, it’s all about making sure you keep the loft and bounce on the club on the way back and through. Watch the video above and you’ll see how I put this all together to splash the ball out and get it close.
A really simple drill to check whether you are correctly keeping the loft and bounce is to put a clump of sand on the club face. Make a normal backswing and see if you can keep it there all the way until you throw it over your back shoulder as you reach the top. If you do that, it means your left wrist is getting nicely cupped and the loft and bounce is on the club as you take it away.
Similarly, to check if you are keeping the loft on the club in your follow through, put a clump of sand on the face and practice the follow through to see if you can throw it over your front shoulder. This means the club face isn’t turning over through impact, you are holding the loft and bounce on and creating that nice splash shot.
It might sound difficult, but watch the video with this article to see how it’s done!
Related: Beginners Guide To Chipping
Reading The Lie
One of the greatest bunker skills is being able to correctly read the lie and make the relevant adjustments. Sometimes you might be in a bunker that has much less sand in. In this situation, you’ll need to be able to adjust your technique to avoid thinning the ball through the green.
With a compact lie, keep the stance the same – with the weight forward on the left side – but get your left shoulder more over your left foot; this will steepen your angle of attack, so you come more downward into the sand with the leading edge rather than the trailing edge of the bounce.
Move the ball position back slightly, too, and add a bit more forward lean in the shaft at address to create a different follow through. The follow through from a compact lie needs to be a lot shorter than the splash shot, which will allow the leading edge to travel down more in the sand with the handle leading.