It is said by better players that the bunker shot is the easiest shot in golf. While I don’t completely disagree, I would say that most people set themselves up to fail before they ever even arrive to hit their shot. As soon as most amateurs hit their shots into a bunker, they start to worry.
Does this sound like you? Try the following technique.
Most people I see these days trying to play a bunker shot do it with a set up that makes it more difficult. Give yourself three immediate goals when playing these shots. First and foremost, your goal is to get out of the bunker. Secondly, your goal will be to get the ball on the green. Finally, your goal will eventually be to get the ball close to the hole. If you’re the person who hates to be in bunkers, stick with the first goal for a while.
The Set Up
The issue I see players having is setting up with their bodies too open to the target and the club face too open as well. In other words, for a right-handed player, they aim their bodies to the left and their club face to the right.
This is how bunker shots were taught for many years and some very good players still use this technique. The extra variables are what make this difficult and most amateurs should not play the shot this way.
Set yourself up square to your target with both your body and your club face. Easy to remember, right? Play the ball forward in your stance. The bottom of your swing will be where your chin is in the middle of your stance. That is where the club will enter the sand, pushing sand into the ball which is about two inches forward of that spot. Have your weight slightly leaning toward the target.
The last and most crucial part of the set up is to have the handle of the club pointing toward your belt buckle. Simply put, do not have the handle leaning toward the hole. Having the handle in the proper place engages the bounce of the club. Now make a nice, slow long swing back and forward on the same pace and the ball will pop right out of that bunker.
Now spend 15 minutes one day in a bunker hitting practice shots using this set up and slower swing and you will have more success with goal number one. Practice this shot for 15 minutes every week and you will accomplish goal number two. Within a few months you should be approaching goal number three. Have fun at the beach (bunker).