6 Novice to Pro: Golf Bunker Shot Tips for All Skill Levels

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Golf bunker shot tips

Looking for the best golf bunker shot tips? Bunker shots can be challenging, but with the right techniques and mindset, you’ll be blasting out of the sand with confidence in no time. This article will guide you through the key areas to focus on, providing practical tips and drills to help you improve your bunker game and lower your scores. Remember, every golfer struggles with bunker shots at times, but with dedication and practice, you can master the sand and become a bunker wizard!


Video from Taylormade Golf And Rory Mcilroy

Key Takeaways For Golf Bunker Shot Tips

  • Practice your golf swing in a bunker to become comfortable with hitting the shot from the sand.
  • Focus on getting the clubhead to enter the sand a few inches behind the ball to create a shallow angle of attack.
  • Experiment with different club selections to find the lofted club that works best for you.
  • Work on your footwork by digging your feet into the sand for stability and traction.
  • Pay attention to the lip of the bunker and adjust your stance and swing accordingly.
  • Practice hitting the sand behind the ball to successfully get the ball out of the bunker.
golf bunker shot tips

Fundamentals First

Start by dialling in your setup. Take a wider stance than normal, with your feet dug into the sand for stability. Position the ball forward in your stance, which will help the club slide under the ball at impact. Open the clubface slightly to increase bounce and loft, allowing the club to glide through the sand. Finally, grip the club securely but not too tightly to maintain feel and control. With these fundamentals in place, you’ll be well on your way to conquering the sand!

If you are struggling with your normal golf stance then make sure to check out our article HERE, Learn the correct way to stand with your golf club and start playing better today

Golf Club Selection Strategies

Choosing the right club for your bunker shot is crucial. Here’s a quick guide to help you select the best club for different situations:

ClubWhen to Use
Sand WedgeMost bunker shots, especially standard greenside lies
Lob WedgeShorter or higher shots that need to stop quickly
Pitching WedgeLonger bunker shots or when you need a lower trajectory
Gap WedgeMedium-length bunker shots or when you need more precision
Short IronsExtremely long bunker shots or when faced with firm sand

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different clubs to find what works best for your game!


Swing Keys for Crisp Contact

To make clean contact from the sand, focus on a few key swing thoughts. First, take the club back on a steeper plane than your normal swing, bringing it up quickly and down steeply. Aim to enter the sand about an inch behind the golf ball, focusing on hitting the sand first. Accelerate through impact, powering the club through the heavy sand. Finally, commit to a full follow-through, ensuring the club exits the sand and finishes high. With practice, these swing keys will become second nature, and you’ll be hitting crisp bunker shots consistently.

Adjusting for Different Lies

Bunkers can present various lies that require adjustments. For plugged or “fried egg” lies, square the face and make a descending blow to dig the ball out. On uphill or downhill lies, modify your stance, ball position, and swing shape to accommodate the slope. When faced with hard-packed sand, square the face and make a chipping motion for better contact. For longer bunker shots, play more of a pitch shot, using a less lofted club and focusing on a shallower swing. Remember, adaptability is key to success in the sand!

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Drills for Getting Out Of Bunkers

To hone your bunker skills, incorporate these drills into your practice sessions:

  1. Ladder Drill: Hit shots to progressively longer distances to improve distance control.
  2. Line Drill: Draw a line in the sand and practice entering the sand at the correct spot behind the ball making sure to hit sand first before golf ball.
  3. High Hands Drill: Focus on a full release and high hands at the finish for better follow-through.
  4. One-Club Practice: Hit multiple shots with the same club to build consistency.

These drills may seem simple, but they are incredibly effective in developing your bunker technique. Embrace the process and enjoy the challenge of mastering the sand!

Mental Keys for Confidence

Lastly, don’t overlook the mental side of bunker play. Commit to the shot and trust your technique. Embrace the challenge and view bunkers as scoring opportunities rather than hazards. Manage your expectations and be satisfied with getting the ball safely on the green. Before each shot, visualize success and picture the ball flying out of the sand and landing softly near the hole. A positive mindset is essential for conquering the sand, so stay focused and confident!

Troubleshooting Common Bunker Mistakes

Even with the best techniques, bunker shots can sometimes go awry. Here are some common mistakes and how to fix them:

  1. Hitting the ball first: Focus on hitting the sand before the ball, and practice the line drill to groove the correct entry point.
  2. Swinging too hard: Trust the loft of the club and make a smooth, controlled swing. Accelerate through the sand rather than trying to muscle the ball out.
  3. Inconsistent contact: Practice regularly to develop a feel for the sand and maintain a consistent swing path.
  4. Poor distance control: Use the ladder drill to improve your ability to judge distance and adjust your swing accordingly.

Remember, every golfer experiences setbacks in the bunker from time to time. Don’t get discouraged – use these challenges as opportunities to learn, grow, and refine your technique.

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How Can Improving My Golf Bunker Shot Help Speed Up My Game?

Improving your golf bunker shot can significantly speed up your golf game. A well-executed bunker shot can save you valuable strokes and time on the course. By honing your skills in this area, you’ll gain confidence and efficiency, allowing you to swiftly navigate through sand traps and focus on the rest of your game. Mastering your golf bunker shot is an essential aspect to overall game improvement and speed.

My Personal Experience

With the amount of time I spend in the bunkers you would think I was a professional getting out them, I have spent a lot of time practicing bunker shots as in my opinion this is where a golf hole can go from a 4 to a 9 very easily.

Take time and practice bunker shots because you never know when you will be next at the beach.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Q: What is the most important aspect of hitting good bunker shots?
    A: Consistency in your setup and swing is crucial for hitting good bunker shots. Focus on maintaining a stable base, opening the clubface slightly, and making a smooth, accelerating swing through the sand.
  2. Q: Should I use the same technique for all bunker shots?
    A: While the basic principles remain the same, you may need to adjust your technique slightly depending on the lie, distance, and type of shot you’re facing. Adapt your setup, club selection, and swing to suit the specific situation.
  3. Q: How much sand should I take when hitting a bunker shot?
    A: As a general rule, aim to enter the sand about an inch behind the ball. This ensures that you’ll have enough sand between the clubface and the ball to lift it out of the bunker.
  4. Q: I often blade my bunker shots. What am I doing wrong?
    A: Blading bunker shots usually happens when you hit the ball first, rather than the sand. Focus on making contact with the sand before the ball, and practice the line drill to improve your consistency.
  5. Q: What’s the best way to practice bunker shots?
    A: Incorporate a mix of drills and real-world scenarios into your practice sessions. Start with the ladder drill, line drill, and one-club practice to build a solid foundation. Then, practice hitting shots from various lies and distances to simulate on-course situations.
  6. Q: How can I overcome my fear of bunker shots?
    A: Developing confidence in your bunker play takes time and practice. Focus on the process, not the outcome, and celebrate your successes along the way. Visualize positive outcomes and embrace the challenge of mastering the sand.


Mastering bunker play is a journey that requires patience, practice, and a positive attitude. By applying the tips, drills, and mental strategies outlined in this article, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle any bunker shot with confidence. Embrace the learning process, celebrate your successes, and don’t be too hard on yourself when things don’t go perfectly. With dedication and a willingness to improve, you’ll soon be the envy of your foursome as you consistently escape the sand with ease. So get out there, enjoy the challenge, and show those bunkers who’s boss!

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