Golf Bunker and Sand Shot Tips

Sand shots are an important part of having a great short game and will also help with having less putts per round. Playing a sand shot out of a green side bunker can be intimidating for many golfers.  However, once you know a few basic fundamentals and tips for how to play these shots, they can become fairly easy. This shot requires a few specific changes in your setup and swing in order to get out of the successfully and hit it close to the hole. 

Playing sand shots with anything from a lob wedge to a sand wedge or even a gap wedge (for longer shots) will usually work fine. The goal of hitting out of the sand it to hit the sand and not the ball. We want the club to enter the sand about 1 and a half to 2 inches behind the ball. The clubface must be open and this will allow you to use the bounce of the club correctly and get out of the sand easily.  


When playing out of a bunker there is a slight adjustment you should make in your grip.  The clubface will be open in your setup, so first turn the clubface open and then take your grip.  You don't want to take your normal grip and then just rotate or turn your hands and wrists. Make sure the clubface is open and you have your hands on the correct way.


Aligning your body and the club correctly in a bunker is very important. The sand shot is the only shot other than a flop shot in which you will need to make these specific adjustments in your setup.

When you are addressing the ball make sure you open the clubface so that it points to the right of your target. Then, when you take your stance, open the line of your feet to the left of your target. Your clubface should be open to the same degree that your stance is open, each in the opposite direction. Another way to picture this is if the line of your ball to the ball is 12 o'clock, your clubface should point to 1 o'clock, and the line of your feet, shoulders, and body should all point to 11 o'clock.

Keep Your Weight On Your Left Side

Another important point in your setup is to keep more weight on your front foot (about 70%). This will help to make sure you can hit down on the sand which is really important to hit the golf ball out of the bunker. You want to start with more weight on your left side (for the right handed golfer) and keep your weight there throughout your swing. We don't want to have a lot of weight shift in the sand.  A big problem can occur if you hang your weight back on your right foot.  The clubhead will tend to dig and you won't be able to accelerate through the sand and get the ball out very well. Keeping your weight forward will also help to eliminate any scooping action you may have developed from trying to help the ball out of the bunker.

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