Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Basic Bunker Play Information

Bunker play is a strength of mine, but I keep it pretty simple. For a regular blast out of the bunker, it's pretty simple.

Here's my check list for blasts from the bunker:

1. Open the clubface.

2. Open the stance to the left until open face is now open, but pointing at the target.

3. Swing along the line of your body. So you are 'swinging to the left' or swinging 'outside-to-in.' However, there is a pivot in the bunker shot and you can't let the lead arm get disconnected from the left side of the body. So you don't want to over-do it and swing too far to the outside.

4. Pick a spot behind the ball and hit that spot.

The beauty of the bunker blast is you can hit the sand behind the ball very hard and come away with a pretty decent shot. But WHAT IS KEY is that you must follow through. That's where most golfers screw up. They don't follow thru. Once their clubhead hits the sand, it's stops moving into the follow thru. So hit down on the sand behind the ball quite hard and just make sure to follow thru. I believe once you get it down pretty well where you can consistently hit the sand first and not blade the golf ball, then you can start working on not hitting down on the sand so hard.

I suggest grinding your feet into the sand for better balance.


For the longer bunker shots where you can still use a wedge, I suggest a slightly open stance and a slightly outside-to-in swing path, but with a square club face. I feel that the spot in the sand behind the ball with a square face and an open face will be about the same. However, you can't just swing hard at the sand or you will go way too far.

I suggest grinding your feet into the sand for better balance.


Square face, square stance.

I believe the BIG KEY is to play the ball further back in your stance. I believe this moves the ball further away from the low point, forcing the club to hit the ball first before even thinking about hitting the sand.

A good key is to play the ball back and try to hit the 'equator' of the ball. That being said, you can hit a very good fairway bunker, hit the ball first, and then hit the sand. But you had better be precise. That's why I usually suggest trying to pick the ball clean.

If you grind the shoes into the sand for balance, you better choke up because you are lower in the ground and not choking up with cause you to hit too much sand.

I personally do not grind the shoes into the sand on fairway bunker shots because I do not want to hit 2 extra clubs. With my method of not grinding the shoes into the sand, I have to hit 1 extra club because I'm not compressing the ball (which loses distance) and the ball will spin hard and probably have a good deal of backspin to it. If I were to grind the shoes into the sand and choke up on the club, I have to play 2 extra clubs because I'm not compressing the ball, more spin on the ball, and losing distance for choking up on the club.

Also, when you choke up on the club, you tend to hit it lower because you have reduced you clubhead speed.


1. Square the clubface

2. Play ball back in your stance.

3. You will pick the club straight up and then hit straight down. Try to hit the ball. I feel like I'm almost swinging a pick axe like a golf club.

4. Swing very hard, almost as hard as you can...again, AT THE BALL.

5. Be prepared for the ball to roll forward.

This actually isn't that bad of a shot if you know how to hit it. You might not get it close, but you should get it on the green, provide there isn't a big lip to hit over.

Here's some great Simon Williams videos explaining the bunker shot. In the last video he talks about vertical vs. angled hinging. Basically on bunker blasts I'm almost always using vertical hinging. With the squared face, I'm almost always using angled hinging.



Anonymous said...

Although I have played golf for many years; as low as a 4 handicap at times, I was never better than below average out of the bunker. It was perplexing and frustrating to hear how "sand shots are the easiest in golf." Finally, I understood the what and how of the vertical hinge, and how to direct the heel of the right hand at the aiming point behind the golf ball. Progress has been and is being made!

Rich H. said...

For those who don't know, they say bunker shots are the easiest shot in golf because you don't have to hit the ball. I think getting bunker shots on the green are generally very easy, because like I posted, if I open the clubface and the stance, I can hit very hard behind the ball and as long as I follow thru, I usually have a shot that's on the green. Getting them close is a little different because you have judge how hard you hit and how far behind you hit it. Usually my direction is very good, but sometimes distance control gets in the way. But there's no real reason to not make it on the green from the bunker if you know the basics of how to hit a bunker shot.

Unknown said...

You need great skill to play bunker shot, if player have great golf playing skill then bunker shot is one of the easiest shots in golf. i like the information you shared for playing a bunker shot.
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