How to play out of a bunker
Whatever you know them as, bunkers or sand traps, playing out of these hazards takes a certain little know-how and of course practice.
Most, if not all golf courses have hazards. There to make the player think and add a little interest to the round. Bunkers are commonplace and are often found around the green, as well as the fairway.
To not get so intimidated by bunkers, here at Reach the Green we think that you should practice, practice and then practice some more. Bunker shots are very different to a regular iron from the fairway and with a little know how you can really keep your scorecard down and impress not only yourself but also your opponents.
How to play out of a bunker – Step by step guide.
Playing out of a sand trap involves some thinking about when addressing the ball. First of all, make sure you select a sand wedge as they are designed for the shot you’re about to take. A good sand wedge or sand iron as they are also known as an open-faced club.
They are designed to allow the head to strike through the sand with as little resistance as possible. The open face on the club will promote a higher loft, very handy for if the bunker your in is deep with a high front. Sand wedges also tend to have a shorter shaft. This aids the shot and forces the player to make the correct stance.
So you’ve selected the right club, now you need to know how to use it properly and learn how to play out of a bunker. This requires you to place your feet, as normal, either side of the ball, making your stance a little wider than normal. Try to really nestle your feet into the sand to create a good and firm stance in order to play your shot. You might also want to bend at the knees slightly more than normal. The length of your sand wedge may force you to do this anyway.
The main thing to consider with a bunker shot is that you’re going to be playing off your front foot. Make sure your weight is distributed to your front foot. Ensure you have a good grip of the club for the shot you are about to play, you may need to have a softer grip to allow for the splash in the sand.
Now you’ve set up correctly you need to judge how much of a swing you’re going to take. This really all depends on how far away the pin is. Obviously the longer and harder the swing the further the ball is likely to travel.
A bunker shot s normally played with an open face and an outside-in swing. You may have heard the term ‘splash’ being used with playing sand trap shots and all these means is allowing the club to follow through in one continuous motion. The strike should almost look and feel effortless and done correctly you will see the sand splash up and out of the bunker.
If you’ve been unfortunate enough to have a ball that has sunken deep into the sand (often referred to as a plugged ball), then this requires a little more though. Your shot here will require you to get right underneath the ball, almost digging it out. This is likely to take a little more power on the downswing and you’re likely to see a lot of sand leave the bunker.
Some golf courses have fairway sand traps and you may be wondering how to play out of a bunker that lies a lot further away from the green. It may be an idea not to use the sand wedge for this because you won’t get the distance. If possible choose a low iron and make sure you swing higher. You’ll stand more chance of finding some extra distance.
As the saying goes practice makes perfect. You can even ‘plug’ your ball to make sure you know how hard you need to dig the ball.
How to play out of a bunker – quick guide;
- Choose the right club (See our recommended sand wedge here)
- Create your stance, dig your feet in.
- Bend more at the knees
- Distribute the weight to your front foot
- Open your club and swing outwards – in
- Aim to get the face to carry the ball and the sand to create an effortless splash.
Finally, don’t forget to rake!