Simplify Your Sand Shots

sand shots opening photo

Golfers need to be proficient at two types of bunker or sand shots: from fairway bunkers and from greenside bunkers. Here’s a simple plan for each.

The Fairway Bunker Shot

The main priority here is to make solid contact between the club face and the ball.  This can be accomplished by using a similar setup and swing as you do when your ball is on grass.

sand shots fairway bunker

Setup for Fairway Bunker Shots

  1. Position the ball an inch or so back in your stance.
  2. The clubface should be square to the intended target line.
  3. Your weight should be evenly distributed on both feet.

Note: Playing the ball an inch or so back in your stance ensure that you will contact the ball first.  Just be sure to plan for a lower trajectory.

The Greenside Bunker Shot

The main priority here is for the clubhead to contact the sand instead of the ball.  When done correctly, sand builds up on the clubface and pushes the ball out of the bunker.  The clubface never comes into direct contact with the ball. It can be accomplished by using a similar setup and swing as you do when your ball is on grass.

sand shots greenside bunker

Setup for Greenside Bunker Shots

  1. The club should be in the center of your stance.
  2. The clubface can be played square or open, and may vary based on the firmness of the sand. I prefer to play most of my greenside bunker shots with an open club face.
  3. You should widen your stance, work your feet into the sand, or a combination of both. This will lower the center of your swing, allowing for the clubhead to contact the sand instead of the ball.
  4. Your weight should be evenly distributed on both feet.

Note: The sole (bounce) of the golf club is responsible for keeping the club from digging into the sand. When the club is place in the middle of your stance with shaft perpendicular to the target line, the sole of the club is exposed to keep the club from digging. Setting the club this way gives you the best chance to utilize an important design benefit (bounce) of the golf club.

sand shots swing thought

Bunker Shot Swing Thought

Once setup, the key is to remain balanced while swinging the golf club in the direction of the target.  An effective way to swing with enough speed is to visualize the ball rolling up to the hole.  Hold that image during the swing and you’ll have great distance control.

Henry Stetina, PGA is responsible for Player Development and Golf Instruction for the NMSU PGA Golf Management Program and is the Director of Instruction at Red Hawk Golf Club in Las Cruces, NM.  Henry’s approach to golf instruction is to focus on the intended use of the golf club, as opposed to the intended movements of the body.  Henry can be reached by visiting www.henrystetinagolf.com

 

 

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