Improve Your Bunker Shot

Published on 03 May 2011 by in Lessons Articles


The average amateur has made the bunker shot much more difficult than it really is.  They think the stance has to be way open with a club face that is way open.  They are mentally confused on what to really do.  A bunker lesson shouldn’t last more than twenty minutes. That’s because there is not much to it.  When someone asks for a lesson in the bunker, I will first look at the form they use for the regular chip shot.  If the chip/pitch has breakdown in the forward wrist,(left wrist for a right handed golfer), if the weight doesn’t transfer to the left leg, and the body isn’t turning through the finish, then we will first address that.  The reason is that if you chip and pitch with bad form, then the swing you will rely on in the bunker will be the same.  To start with the simplest bunker shot, here are a few things to look at.

1. Place your feet about shoulder width, and the ball just forward of center by an inch or two.

2. For starters, keep the feet square and not open.  And for most players, I would suggest you use a 60 degree or lob wedge, and not the sand wedge.  It will give you more loft, which will get the ball up easier without your help of scooping.

3. Bend the knees, almost as if you were sitting on a bar stool, this will help you hit the ball fat or behind an inch or so.

4. Follow through like a normal golf shot, with the weight on the left leg and the hips, chest, and head facing the target.

5. If you still struggle, draw a line in the sand.  Straddle the line with the line slightly ahead of the center of your chest.  Take practice swings hitting the line without a ball.  Pay attention to see if you are hitting too much behind or forward.  Make adjustments with your swing, not set up, remembering to always finish the golf shot on the front leg with balance.

6. If you are really fearful of the greenside bunker and there isn’t a lip on the edge of the bunker, putt it.

Give these tips a shot and if you need some more help in this area, give me a call and we will take care of it together.

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