How to Get Every Bunker Shot Close

By Contributing Writer

One of the areas in which professional golfers excel, but most amateurs struggle, is in the art of turning three shots into two around the green and, in particular, from greenside bunkers. From a decent lie in almost any bunker, the professional will expect to hit the shot to within a few feet at worst. Many amateurs fear the shot so much that they struggle to even move the ball from the bunker onto the green. Yet by mastering a few simple techniques, the fear of the bunker can be banished and consistently good results achieved.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Step 1
Open your stance up by withdrawing the left foot (for a right-hander) about 6 inches from the line to the hole.
Step 2
Position the ball forward in your stance, close to the left heel. This will help you to hit the sand behind the ball rather than the ball itself
Step 3
Open the face of the clubhead so that it points just to the right of the hole. Keep your hands back so that you do not de-loft the clubface or dig too deep into the sand.
Step 4
Swing the club along the line of your feet and strike the sand about an inch and a half behind the ball. You should imagine the ball is sitting on a tee in the sand and your goal is to strike the tee and knock it away without ever touching the ball.
Step 5
Accelerate the club through the sand and into a full follow-through. Quitting on the shot when the club strikes the sand is probably the most frequent reason for leaving the ball in the sand.

Tips & Warnings

Varying the length of your shot can be achieved by hitting a little closer to, or further back from, the ball when you strike the sand. You can also vary the length and speed of your wing, but there is a third way of handling longer bunker shots, or ones where the pin is close to the sand or where a high, soft shot is required. That is by varying the club you use. Taking a lob wedge, instead of the sand wedge will give a higher, softer shot to a close pin. The lob wedge doesn't have the bounce in the sole of the sand wedge, so you will need to swing faster to ensure you get through the sand properly. Make a shallower swing so that you don't dig too deep. For a longer shot, take a pitching wedge. The ball will have less spin, and so will release forward toward a distant pin.
Varying the length of your shot can be achieved by hitting a little closer to, or further back from, the ball when you strike the sand. You can also vary the length and speed of your wing, but there is a third way of handling longer bunker shots, or ones where the pin is close to the sand or where a high, soft shot is required. That is by varying the club you use.
Taking a lob wedge, instead of the sand wedge will give a higher, softer shot to a close pin. The lob wedge doesn't have the bounce in the sole of the sand wedge, so you will need to swing faster to ensure you get through the sand properly. Make a shallower swing so that you don't dig too deep.
For a longer shot, take a pitching wedge. The ball will have less spin, and so will release forward toward a distant pin.

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