Hitting Sand Bunker Shots
Walking up the to the green to find your ball lying in a sand bunker immediately instills anxiety and sometimes fear in beginning golfers, but experienced golfers are not as scared. This is because experienced golfers have played out of the sand bunker many times and have their bunker shot technique down to a science. However, if you are just starting to play the game, then you need to follow these tips to learn how to hit out of the sand.
One of the most important things to remember is that you have to open the face of your sand wedge to hit the golf ball out of the bunker. In reality, you are not even hitting the golf ball. You are hitting two inches behind the ball so the sand will pick up the ball and blast it out of the bunker. Never try to strike the golf ball first when it is sitting on the sand. The ball will compress into the sand and not pop up out with a consistent and predictable flight.
Now that you know that you have to hit the golf ball out of the sand bunker with an open club face and must hit behind the ball, you must set up correctly. Open your body so it is facing 10 to 15 yards to the left of your target, for right-handed golfers.
Once you open your body to the target, dig your feet into the sand by wiggle them in place. This will give you a solid foundation to make your swing.
Choke down on the club about one inch, but do not ground your club behind the golf ball. The United States Golf Association, or USGA, does not allow you to ground your club in this hazard. If you do ground your club, you will incur a penalty stroke. You can still set the club behind the golf ball, but do not let it touch the sand.
Make sure the golf ball is aligned just an inch or two in front of the center line of your stance. Evenly distribute our weight between both legs and make sure you keep your lower body quiet throughout the swing. You want your shoulders to do all the work.
Your swing plane for the sand wedge will be online with your shoulders and feet. What is called an outside to inside swing plane. Since your club face is open, the ball will come out of the sand in the direction of your target.
Make sure you swing smoothly, but aggressively, throughout back swing and follow through. You want the club face to stay open and pointing at the sky as you finish your swing. The amount of back swing you need to take will depend on the distance you need to hit the ball. An easy way to calculate how far back you need to take the sand wedge is by figuring how far back you would take your back swing if you were only chipping or pitching the ball from that distance. Once you have figured the amount of back swing you would use to get the ball to the hole, then you know you need twice as much of a back swing when hitting the ball out of a sand bunker.
Always keep your head still as you make your swing and then hit the golf ball out of the sand bunker using this bunker shot technique. You will soon find that it is not as hard as you think and as long as you practice this type of shot, you will perfect your bunker shot technique.