Mental Tip to Improve Your Bunker Shots

By Dr. Richard Coop

Visualize Your Shots

To play good sand shots it is very important to have a clear mental concept of what you want to do when the club enters the sand, a good visualization of how the ball is going to come out of the sand and land on the green and how much it is going to check up. One of the ways that we get a real good concept of this is by having a label or word that we can apply to different kinds of sand shots.

Splash vs Splat

For example, Kim has a very nice lie on light sand, it is kind of fluffy so she can “splash” the ball out of this lie, she is going to think “splash” as she hits this shot out of the sand. Think of nothing but splashing the ball out of the sand. The sound, the feel, the vision of the sand going up is a nice splashing, like you are splashing water up onto the green. Now Kim has a shot that is a lot wetter, the sand is very wet here, more granular and clumpy. She is going to “splat” this one out. Wet sand you are going to splat out and dry sand you are going to splash out. Remember it is very important what you think. The way you cue up the sand shot determines how well you will hit it. In dry sand think “splash,” in wet sand think “splat,” and you will be on your way to better scores.


Category: Bunker Play
Sub Categories: Psychology

About the Instructor

Dr. Richard Coop
Dr. Richard Coop
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School of Education
CB 3500 Peabody Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3500
Dr. Richard Coop is a mental instructor to countless PGA Tour professionals, including Payne Stewart, Ben Crenshaw, Mark O'Meara, and Nick Faldo. He is also the author of The New Golf Mind and Mind Over Golf.