Keys To Hitting Great Bunker Shots

Getting out of the sand should be a relatively easy task to do if your ball ends up in a bunker.  Knowing some simple keys of how to play this shot correctly will help to take the pressure off and build your confidence.  

First, let's talk about the most basic concepts for good sand shots.  You want to hit the sand, not the ball, and it's good to aim for a spot in the sand about 2 inches behind the ball.  When you are in your setup position, make sure to look at that spot and not at the ball as you would on a normal shot.  Keep your eyes on that spot of sand 2 inches behind the ball as you make your swing.  

You want to make a pretty full swing in the sand, especially a full backswing.  You can change the length of the follow through a little depending on how far you want to hit the shot but always make sure to accelerate through impact regardless of how long your follow through is.  

If you are right handed make sure to lean left on these shots.  Start with your weight left in your setup position and keep it left as you make your swing.  It's almost impossible to hit a good bunker shot if your weight is on your back foot so keeping your weight left will eliminate that potential problem.  

Also, keep your hands ahead in the setup so the club is leaning towards the target.  Feel like your hands are almost above your left knee in the setup position.  Good players will always have their hands come through impact before the club head.  They hold the lag or the angle between their right forearm and the clubshaft for as long as possible on the downswing and throught impact.  

It's a good idea to open your stance and open your club face in the sand. Try and open your stance and your clubface to the same degree. On short bunker shots, open the clubface more than for longer bunker shots.  This will add more loft and help the ball come out higher and softer.  

When you get good at getting out of the sand, then it's a good idea to work on controlling distance.  Always make a full backswing in the sand, but for a longer sand shot, make a full follow through as well. For a shorter shot, just stop your follow through about halfway.  But make sure you accelerate through impact so you have some club head speed to get the ball out.

Hopefully these tips will help your sand game.  For more golf tips, visit  For golf lessons with Sarah, call 630-781-5622 or email