See Yourself in the Clubface
One of the keys of this bunker tip to getting out of greenside bunkers is to keep the clubface “open.” When you close the face, you get a lower trajectory and the Golf Club tends to dig in the sand. Here’s a trick to help you achieve this: Imagine that the clubface is a mirror, and that you’re going to see your reflection in it at the finish of your sand shot. This will ensure that you take the club all the way to eye level and that you’ve kept it open all the way to the finish. Good luck!
“Splash” Some Sand
Next time you’re in a bunker, focus on sliding a thin “divot” of sand from under the ball and onto the green. Open the clubface a few degrees (clockwise) and line up slightly to the left. “Splash” the sand toward the target and the ball will follow!
The perfect Bunker Backswing
This drill helps you get a feel for taking the Golf Club back in a more upright plane out of the bunker. By taking the club back more abruptly, you increase your chances of getting under the ball properly and impacting the sand more precisely. Have a friend stand behind you in the sand and place a rake about two feet behind your ball – holding it in approximately a 45-degree angle. The goal here is to get you to swing up the rake handle and feel as though your bunker backswing is steeper than that of a normal swing. Take several swings like this and soon you’ll hit high, soft shots from the bunker.
Chipping from the Bunker
Many golfers make the sand trap shot more difficult than it has to be. This is because they were taught that the only way to come out of a trap is with an explosion shot, a rather unnatural stroke for the beginner since the club head has to strike the sand behind the ball and does not strike the ball itself.
There are a number of occasions when the lie of the ball and the lay of the land make playing an explosion shot unnecessary and even unwise. Whenever the bank of the trap is low and there is enough putting surface between the trap and the hole, a golfer would be more sensible to play a variation on a chip shot – with the club head contacting the ball cleanly and lofting it onto the green. Allow for some roll.
A chip from the sand is played the same as a chip from any other lie, with two modifications. First, you grip the club low on the shaft, as far down as the bottom of the leather if this is comfortable. Secondly, glue your eyes on the left half of the ball rather than on the right half as you do on ordinary shots. This enables you to deliver a clean, descending blow, and that is the essence of all chip shots.
Fairway Bunker Shot
When taking on this shot be sure the club you are using has sufficient loft to get the ball over the front lip of the bunker. You do not want to strike the ball perfectly only to see it smash into the face of the bunker and dribble back to your feet.
If you are to hit your ball 150 yards out of a bunker towards the green you must catch it cleanly, that means removing as little sand as possible. In order to catch the ball cleanly just below its equator, you should stand tall and grip a couple of inches down the handle. Also, don’t shuffle your feet down into the sand as you would for greenside bunker shots where you are trying to hit the sand before the ball. Try to remain on the surface. Play the ball an inch further back in your stance that normal to help guarantee you catch the ball, not the sand. Keep the swing short and quiet – that means a smooth takeaway and no lunges from the top of the backswing – and pick the ball off the top.
Get out of the Sand
Sand play around the green really is a different concept. Here’s all you need to know to have great sand play. Open the blade of your sand wedge so that it is directed about five feet to the RIGHT of the flag. Open your stance so the tips of your feet and shoulders are aligned with each other such that you are aiming about five feet LEFT of the pin.
When you swing back, only swing the clubhead as HIGH as your right shoulder. Don’t use more than
about 60% power on the swing. The clubface should slice ACROSS AND DOWN THROUGH the sand, behind the ball.
More than any other shot on the course, follow through is essential to lift the ball out of the sand. If you want the ball to stop more quickly, hit the sand about 1 inch behind the middle of the golf ball. If you want the ball to run, you need to hit about 2.5 inches behind the middle of the ball.
Use this method and your days of poor sand play are behind you, but of course nothing comes without practice. And the course isn’t good enough. Find a course in your area that has a chipping green with a bunker you can practice out of. After a while, your confidence will skyrocket.