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Bunker Shot 101

The bunker shot is said to be the easiest shot in golf as it is the only shot where one does not actually hit the golf ball.

For many of us it might not be the easiest shot in golf, but it does not need to be the most difficult.

Truth be told, the greenside bunker shot is a make or break shot for your game. Whether its being fearful of hitting in the bunker or terrified of trying to get out, these emotions will adversely affect your golf swing whenever you stumble upon those situations. These negative emotions, including fear, doubt, confusion, stress, usually lead to an avalanche of strokes.

So it's important to have a decent grasp on bunker shots in order to help alleviate that fear of hitting in them or out of them.

Bunker Shot 101:

This guideline will help provide the tools you need to build confidence and consistency in your bunker game. A solid bunker game requires a solid foundation, the set up, an understanding of the club head movement and a complete follow through.

Bunker Set Up: The greenside bunker setup is essential for executing this shot correctly.

  1. Start with opening up your clubface so it looks almost completely flat. This will cause you to be aiming right of your target so...

  2. Adjust your stance to an open stance so the club face lines up with your target

  3. Wider stance with a lot more bend in the knees. Get down and closer to the ball.

  4. Ball off the front heel (draw a line from the ball to the front heel, there should be a ball size space between the heel and the line)

  5. Hands are inline with the ball at address

  6. Bend forward per usual and maintain your spine angle throughout the swing

Club Head Movement: The club does not move like it does in a normal golf shot. The club face remains open during the entire swing while the hands stay behind the ball at impact.

  1. Again, start with a completely open club face. Take away starts a little outside (we want to avoid the clubhead going behind the club shaft).

  2. The club face stays open, facing up to the sky as you take the club back. Don't be afraid to take almost a full swing.

  3. At impact we release the club maintaining its open face, the club head should meet the ball in the same open position it was at address. Hands behind the ball.

Open clubhead at address Open clubhead before impact

Follow Through: Out of fear of hitting the ball too hard, many golfers stop the swing before it's completely finishes.

  1. You should be completing a full follow through on this shot

  2. The club head remains open on the follow through

  3. Take practice swings with a complete finish to ingrain the feeling

  4. Don't worry about hitting the ball too hard, focus on completing the swing and watching your ball roll into the hole.

Club face remains open after impact Complete follow through

A few key points to reiterate...

  1. Lower body remains silent

  2. Weight can favor the front foot.

  3. Maintain spine angle throughout the swing

  4. Club face remains open throughout the entire swing, especially at impact!

Take these tools with you to the practice bunker and they will soon translate to excellent execution on the golf course. With this proper set up and commitment to keeping the clubface open, your bunker game will improve dramatically! Enjoy the progress. It is going to be a fun journey!

We hope to hear how you like this blog lesson. Please let us know if we can offer any clarifications or additional information.

Happy Practicing! Happy Golfing!

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