Learning Bunker Shots in Golf

Hitting bunker shots is something you are going to have to do from time to time on the golf course. Even if you make an effort to avoid the sand whenever possible, your ball is bound to find its way into the bunker from time to time. When you do get into that position, you need to have a solid game plan for getting out in just one shot so you don't do too much damage to your score.

Although they can be intimidating to new golfers, hitting bunker shots is actually not as hard as you might think. Once you understand the basic technique, and spend a little bit of time practicing it, you might find that you don't mind the bunkers so much after all.

Use the tips below to get started learning how to get your ball out of the bunker consistently on the first shot -

  • Don't hit the ball. When playing a standard greenside bunker shot, you actually don't want to make contact with the ball - rather, you want to slide the wedge under the ball and let the sand lift the ball up out of the bunker. In order to make this work, you will need to swing harder than you think because of the weight and density of the sand. Aim your club for a couple inches behind the ball and keep your head down through the shot to make sure you slide under the ball successfully.
  • Dig in. It is easy to slip in the bunker while making your swing, so take a moment before the shot to "wiggle" your feet down into the sand. You don't want to go in too deep - just enough to secure your stance and feel stable while you are swinging the club back and through.
  • Long swing. Although a greenside bunker shot is hit only a few yards from the target in most cases, you will still want to use a long, flowing swing to hit the shot. A short backswing won't be able to generate enough speed and momentum to slide easily through the sand. Make sure to turn your shoulders and take the club back almost as far as you would for a full shot - you will have to practice this technique before you get comfortable and confident enough to use it on the course. When done correctly, bunker shots are hit with a nice, flowing rhythm that doesn't look rushed on the backswing or the downswing.