Hitting Bunker Shots in Golf

By Jim Bartlett

Golf instructors always claim that hitting a shot out of a bunker is "the easiest shot in golf." For most golfers, the thought of descending into the depths of a bunker to hack their ball out of its sandy depths induces a great deal of anxiety. With a little practice, however, you'll find that it isn't that hard to escape from bunker trouble.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Step 1
Hit the sand beneath the ball. Sand wedges have a metal flange or rail along the bottom edge of the club. The flange is designed to help the club dig down into the sand, throwing it--and the ball--up and out in a cloud of silica.
Step 2
Open the clubface and let the wedge do its work. "Opening" a club means turning the handle so that the face of the club points more up to the sky than down the target line. In a bunker, it is important to open the club so that the metal flange on the bottom of the wedge can do its digging work more easily. Turn the grip of the club slightly to the right so the face opens up, and then place your fingers around the grip in your normal way.
Step 3
Position the ball forward of your front toes. With the ball forward and the clubface open, the club will slide easily beneath the ball and toss it and some sand up into the air effortlessly. To make sure you can reach the area of the ball with your swing, keep most of your weight on the left or front leg.
Step 4
Make a complete swing. Unsuccessful bunker shots almost always are the result of a stopped or incomplete swing. You do not have to swing harder than normal, nor make a ferocious cut to get a ball out of a bunker. In fact, a smooth, effortless swing will often produce better results. The key is to keep the swing moving all the way through to a nice high finish.

Tips & Warnings

Don't look at the ball. Instead, pick out a pebble or grain of sand about two inches behind the ball, and focus on that spot. That's where you should try to have the club enter the sand during the swing. Aim a little left. If you open the clubface, the ball will tend to come out a little to the right of the target (for righthanders). So remember to aim a little left to compensate.
Don't look at the ball. Instead, pick out a pebble or grain of sand about two inches behind the ball, and focus on that spot. That's where you should try to have the club enter the sand during the swing.
Aim a little left. If you open the clubface, the ball will tend to come out a little to the right of the target (for righthanders). So remember to aim a little left to compensate.

About The Author

James Y. Bartlett is a freelance writer, editor, and author. His work has appeared in Forbes Life, Hemispheres and dozens of national publications. He has worked as editor at Golfweek, Caribbean Travel & Life, LuxuryGolf and Our Place (second home magazine) and published nine books. He has a degree in journalism from Boston University and in international studies from Franklin College, Lugano, Switzerland.

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