The Complete Golf Instruction On Hitting Short Bunker Shots

Bunkers have been a staple of golf; players will find them in every course - there's no escape. The sight of the ball on a sand trap is enough to scare most players. They fear a poor bunker shot might badly skew their score. Fear not, the instructions given below will help you master the short bunker shots.

To play a short bunker shot you need to have control over three variables: the stance, the backswing, and the follow through. Let's see how to get these three variables right, one at a time.

The stance

  • The feet must be shoulder width apart. This'll root your body to the ground and give better balance during the swing.
  • Position the ball so that it's lined up with the left foot.
  • Have an open stance. Slide the left/front foot a bit back. The body is now in an open stance that is not parallel to the line of the target. The hips too must be in an open position. The open body stance and an open clubface, allows the clubface easily slide under the ball. The result: high loft and softer ball landing with very little bounce.
  • Bend your knees till it covers the lace area of your shoe. Push your butt back.
  • Shift the body weight and lean on the left foot.

The backswing

Now that your feet are firmly rooted to the ground, it's time to unleash the swing. No matter the kind of bunker shot you're attempting, the backswing for the most part remains the same.

  • Take it back to the set position.
  • The left arm and the ground must be parallel to each other.
  • The club should be perpendicular to your arm, and must point to the sky.
  • As mentioned earlier, the nature of the bunker shot - extra short (less than 10 yards), short, or long - holds no sway over the backswing. Just one variable determines the distance the ball travels on the green, that variable is the backswing length; to be exact - the length of the follow through.

The follow through

  • You're trying to hit a short bunker, which means there isn't enough green to work with. Use a high lob wedge, preferably a 60 degree or higher wedge. This will cut down on the bounce and the ball won't roll much.
  • The distance the ball travels with each follow through length is difficult to predict, but with practice and experience you'll develop a better understanding of your body, swing, and club control.
  • For a short bunker stroke the follow through must be limited. Ideally, your hands and the iron should not cross your waist.

Once you're confident in your short bunker shot, it becomes easy to master the long sand shot as well.