Bunker shots are a source of consternation for many golfers, but especially for beginners. While it sounds intimidating, digging your ball out of the sand isn’t that hard once you get the hang of it! If you’re having trouble, here are three easy ways to deal with it.
1. Think of the shot as a chip
I coach my clients by explaining that bunker shots are not completely different situations on the golf course, but the sand is just another surface to play on, and much smoother!
The next time you practice, try using the same shredding technique you use on the grass around the green in the bunker with one change: swing your arms and club a little faster. Once you’ve tried it, try experimenting with a sand wedge, pitching wedge, 9 iron, and 8 iron. You may find that not only will you be able to get out of a bunker more easily, but you You will also be able to identify a new skill: the ability to also execute long bunker shots.
2. Use your putter!
I know it might sound strange, but sometimes it just takes Get out. As you enter the bunker and assess your lie, see if there is a low ledge around your ball. If there is, try turning it off. Yes, you will give up on precision, but on the bright side, you will be out of your current situation.
3. Use a mini swing
Consider using a quick, short swing instead of a full swing. It can be confusing trying to do a full swing so close to your target. And professional golfers don’t always use a full swing to hit their bunker shots on the green, so why do you do it? It is also helpful to try to incorporate your wrists more into the swing to generate the speed you need to come out. (Check out how Ole player Miss Jackson Suber achieves this in the video below).
Sarah R. Stone, PGA, is the Director of Education at the Chevy Chase Club in Maryland.