In a previous article we looked at how to play better bunker shots. So here we visit the basics again and offer a really nice practice drill to give you a feeling of how to execute a good bunker shot.

Once you have chosen the appropriate wedge then try to set up in the bunker in a way that helps you execute the shot without guessing too much. We normally are instructed to hit about two inches behind the ball. Under pressure we tend to hit to little or too much sand. A good method to use is to grip the wedge you have chosen at a standard length (do not grip down the shaft).

Sink your feet two inches into the sand and then make a normal swing. The club will bottom out at the same depth your feet are in the sand.

Now to get the feeling of how the clubhead should travel for a bunker shot. Take you sand or lob wedge and pick up some sand onto the clubface. Then from address position take the clubhead back slowly trying to keep the sand on the face.

John Dickson

Head Teaching Professional at
Copperleaf Golf Estate
Contact: 082 990 7201

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The other key is to ensure you don’t decelerate on the downswing. Many golfers take too long a backswing and then try and hit a softer shot. If the clubhead decelerates then it will usually penetrate the sand in the wrong place resulting in a fat shot (that might not get out of the bunker) or a thin shot that could fly the green.

If you cock your wrist too quickly the sand will fall off. If you take your hands/or the grip of the club back too quickly the sand will also fall of the face. The sand will stay on the face if you swing the head of the club faster than your hands. This applies to the down and through swing as well.

So this is a great exercise in how to feel the path and speed the clubhead needs to travel for a bunker shot. Once you have tried the sand trick then set up to your bunker shot and feel the clubhead going back and setting your hands on the backswing and then swing the clubhead down and through the sand and you should see some great results. Otherwise go and visit your local PGA Professional for some guidance with your short game.