golf bunker drills

Golf Bunker Practice Drills: Escape the Sand Every Time

It is never a great feeling when you find yourself in a bunker. You want to try and get out as soon as possible and head onto the green with your putter. Ideally, want to take just one shot to get yourself out of the bunker. The worst thing that could happen with a bunker shot is that you still remain in the bunker even after attempting to come out of it.

If you nail your bunker shot, then you don’t have to worry about such disasters. However, if you don’t practice your bunker shots, then your handicap score could take a beating.

By practice, we don’t mean throwing a few balls into the practice bunker and hitting them. We recommend a set of bunker drills that you would want to practice for a few weeks in order to be ready when you need to execute the bunker shot in real-time conditions.

Bunker Practice Drills

Line in the Sand Drill

Consistency is the one thing most golfers lack when it comes to bunker shots. You can hit what you’d consider “lucky” shot once in awhile but you probably lack consistency of doing it frequently.

This usually is a fault of not hitting the right distance behind the golf ball and taking the right amount of sand on each bunker shot.

Most players either hit too far behind the ball or hit too close to the ball, rocketing it across the green. To fix the inconsistency, try the Line in the Sand golf drill.

This drill requires you to draw a line in the sand with the toe of your club, and then place a ball directly in front of the line. Instead of hitting at the ball, hit the line directly behind the ball.

This drill will help you to hit consistently good bunker shots by taking just the right amount of sand on every shot.

To clarify, this golf bunker drill is meant for practice sessions, obviously, as you can’t draw a line in the sand during a competitive round of golf.

Practice Bunker Shots with Different Golf Clubs

Every bunker shot is going to be different. You’ll need to carry the ball different distances just to clear the bunker. You’ll also have different distances between the bunker and the flag on the green.

This requires you to get comfortable with multiple golf clubs in your bag so you can hit shots with different amounts of loft to change up the amount of roll out your bunker shots have once they land on the green.

Practice first with your lob wedges but also move down to a 9-iron or pitching wedge to work on shots that are further away from you that need more roll once they come out of the bunker.

Know your target

You have to know where you want to go to have any chance of ending up there. With the bunker shot as well, you need to know where on the green you want to end up. You can mark that spot with a target (e.g a towel, a cone, or some tees) and try to aim for it.

At least try to get close to the target. It will automatically make you think about how much contact you want on the ball and how you can avoid overhitting or under hitting your bunker shot.

Find Your Bottoming-Out Zone

Hitting a bunker shot correctly is a lot about getting the bottom-most point of your swing just below the ball. You want your club to get under the ball in order to gain the elevation required to lift the ball out of the sand bunker.

There is a simple drill that you can follow to get a feel for where you are bottoming out.

Stick in a tee in the bunker and place the ball on it. Now, try to hit the tee without making contact with either the sand or the ball. After a few hits, you will learn where exactly your bottom-most point is.

Now, keep pushing the tee further inside the sand and repeat the drill if only making contact with the tee. You can touch the sand in your swing as your tee keeps going lower.

The idea of this drill is to allow you to gradually make the required adjustments to fine-tune your bunker shot. The last stage of the drill is when the tee is completely pushed into the sand and the ball is almost on the sand as it would be in a live game situation.

Hit Different Distances

In order to hone your shot distance, take three golf balls and hit them out from the bunker at different distance. Hit the first one short. Then hit the second one long.

Now, aim the third shot to fall somewhere between the first (near) and the second (farther away) ball. This is a great way to perfect the speed that your club moves at during the shot and how hard you hit the ball.

Use Different Clubs

Usually, one would hit a bunker shot with a sand wedge or a pitching wedge.

If you have both clubs, try hitting them with both one after the other. Then, try using a 9-iron and then an 8-iron while practicing the bunker shot.

Repeat this drill and you will notice that your bunker shot has an added dimension.

You can, in fact, use different clubs in different situations as the distance and dynamics between a sand bunker and the green may vary from one golf course to another.

A professional golfer is expected to cope up with different conditions and needs to have a certain degree of versatility for each shot.

The Depth Of Your Feet In The Sand Matter

When you take the stance to hit the bunker shot, your feet sink into the sand to some extent. You can intentionally dig in those feet further (or less) into the sand and control their depth.

This is important because that depth influences the way the ball comes out of the bunker.

If you dig your feet in deeper, then you end up taking more of the sand in your swing. The ball comes out lower and with less spin as it hits the green.

However, if you dig in your feet less, then the ball tends to have more spin on it and comes out higher. It tends to bounce more as it lands on the green. Simple adjustments with your feet and your stance can make a significant difference.

Other Things To Remember

You should know that while you are in the sand bunker, you should not let your club touch the sand before your complete your shot swing. You are allowed to make contact with the sand while you swing your club. But, if you touch the sand before that or lay down your golf club in the sand, then you are hit with a 2-stroke penalty.

Overall, the bunker shot is an important one and you must learn how to hit the ball just right. If the ball is under hit, it will likely return back to the bunker. If the ball is overhit, then it may go beyond the green or end up being too far away from the hole. We hope that you find these golf bunker drills useful and utilize them to help you in improving your bunker shots.

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