The easy way to play bunker shots

Let Rory’s coach show you a simple way to get out of the sand.

Amateurs can get into a horrible mess in bunkers. I’ve seen club golfers try to heave so much sand out of a bunker it is as if they are shovelling the stuff on a building site! In fact, it is a simple shot to get right – certainly in terms of merely getting the ball out and back on the fairway or onto the green. In future tips, we’ll look at more advanced bunker shots but, for now, let’s just focus on making sure you never leave another bunker shot in the sand. Ingrain these simple tips into your game and you will take the fear out of sand play.

1. Set up for success

Michael Bannon

Open the face of the club before you take your final grip. Do NOT take your normal grip and then manufacture the face open using your wrists. Aim very slightly left of target. Now here’s the key: have your weight favouring your left foot, with your knees ‘punching’ towards the target. Next time you’re in a bunker, visualise the arrow I’ve drawn in the sand here to promote this feeling. 


2. Bounce benefits at impact

Michael Bannon

The wedge’s bounce helps the club move through the sand without digging. You use the sand to create a ‘corrugated’ effect and explode the ball out. You must be positive through impact; feel like you are swinging a big match and the sand is the striking paper. Practise that feeling of ‘striking the match’ using only your right hand.


3. Keep turning, keep the loft

Michael Bannon

Keep your body turning so your chest faces the target. This helps to produce a positive move through impact and explode the ball out. The other thing you are trying to do is to keep the loft on the club that we set in the first step. You don’t want to turn the clubface over at all. You can see here how my clubface is still ‘looking’ at the sky.

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