The way some duffers approach golf bunker shots, you might think they’d been drinking before the game rather than after. So here’s some sober advice about how to tackle those tough traps.
A “bunker” is a prepared area of ground, often a small valley, in which turf and earth has been removed and replaced with sand, water, or taller grass. (Also known as a ‘trap’)
Golf Bunker Shots Tips
Establish a firm footing that will support your swing without slipping and golf swing balance and posture tips. Form a solid base. Be careful not to dig your feet too far down, though — that will make your legs rigid, encouraging too strong a shot. The lower body should stay quiet; i.e. very little motion in the legs.
Start with your weight favoring your left side. (For right-handers. For lefties, reverse directions.) Stance should be open and a little wider, to restrict your backswing and steepen the swing. Let the knees pinch in slightly, putting more weight on the inside of the feet.
Light, but firm. Holding the grip too hard will make your wrists rigid, making it harder to slide the club under the ball into the sand.
Choke down on the grip a bit, half an inch will do, allowing you to more easily hit under the ball. (That also helps to discourage burying your feet too far down in the sand.)
Hinge the wrists earlier than you would for a normal shot. That encourages a steeper angle of attack for the downswing. Of course, you’re using a wedge for this.
With a large-soled sand wedge, shorten your backswing to about three-quarters normal. Mirror the distance on follow through. Remember that, counter-intuitively, you’re not going to hit the ball with the club at all. Instead, you’re aiming about two to four inches behind the ball, scooping sand that makes contact with the ball and forces it up and out of the trap.
On an uphill slope, keep the shoulders level — not tilted with the slope. On a downhill shot, open the stance and make a steep backswing and an aggressive downswing. Don’t close the face and accelerate through the ball.
To get comfortable with the bunker shot, try some of these.
Stick a tee in the sand so that only the top is visible. Put a ball on the tee, then try hitting the tee half way down its length. That helps focus on getting under the ball, about an inch.
If you’re digging too deep, open the clubface of your wedge, then grip. That helps shallow out those divots.