How To Perform A Short-Sided Bunker Shot In Golf

If your ball lands in a bunker, you’d probably prefer it to land in the flat centre than the side—especially if the side is steep. But the incline that stands between your ball and the green should not intimidate you as much as it may try. Here are some techniques you can learn to clear any bunker no matter where the ball ends up.

Open clubface first, grip afterwards

It may sound like a simple mistake, but even seasoned players still make it. If you take and establish your grip before aligning the clubface, you run the risk of having the club angled incorrectly. Rather turn your clubface completely open and then set up your grip. This will prevent your club from spinning the ball and having it land right back where it started.

Stabilize yourself

A good way to establish your stance when addressing the ball is to shift your feet into the sand. This will stabilize you, making it harder for your feet to move when making your swing. However, don’t go too deep into the sand, as this may mess around with your club-ball height alignment. Just bury your feet enough to keep them steady.

Hit the sand, not the ball

When you finally make your swing, it’s important to remember that you’re aiming for the sand and not the ball. The sand will push the ball out, but only if your club hits it correctly. Because your clubface is completely open (actually flat), the club will almost shoot the sand that’s under the ball and propel it up and outwards.

If you still struggle...

You may find that these tips are easy to understand, but difficult to implement. If so, don’t be afraid to take your time with the shot and make a few dummy swings first. You will get a better feel for the sand; how it moves, whether it’s wet underneath, etc. You will also be able to spot any technique mistakes you’re making and note them before making your final stroke.

The techniques will work on all types of lies. Often you will find that the ball has buried itself deep into the sand or is sitting on a nasty incline. In either case, the sand beneath the ball will shoot your ball out if you address the ball correctly, grip your club correctly, and swing correctly. Be sure to make this checklist before swinging.


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