Top Bunker Play Tips

Bunker Play 101

Read some of the top golf bunker tips and improve your playing!

The first thing to understand about playing out of bunkers is that it is different from other shots. You not only use a different club, but also a different stroke. The different club part is easy, if you are starting out, just use a sand wedge. The different stroke is the hard part. What is worse, the type of stroke depends on the type of sand and the lie. Accordingly, if you are just starting out, we recommend that you agree with your friends that after one attempt, you can drop your ball out of the bunker, no closer to the green. This way you can enjoy your rounds of golf, and gradually build you skill at bunker play. Now watch the video below.

Get out of a Bunker with One Shot!


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Golf Bunker Distances


The easiest way to control your distance out of a bunker is to use your lob wedge for a short distance, your sand wedge for a middle distance and your pitching wedge for longer shots. To learn more about controlling distances out of a bunker, visit our bunker distances page.

Bunker Play Drills

One of the keys to improving at Golf is to break down the game into its different components, and concentrate on improving each component by using drills that allow you to hone your skills. In this case, the component of the game is tips for golf bunker play, and you need to find drills that you can execute many, many times until you are comfortable with the stroke. In order for a drill to be effective, you need to find a way to practice it at a convenient place. If you have a back yard or some park land nearby, this can be a lot easier than going to driving range or golf course. That is why Dave Petz's tip (see below) about using a piece of synthetic grass, a wiffle ball, and a small amount of sand is so useful. You can easily do this drill in the back yard or in a park, without damaging your lawn or even worse, damaging your neighbours. Enjoy!

Dave Peltz helps with a shot from the bunker from Vimeo

It is always worth listening to anything Dave Peltz has to say. He was one of the first people to approach coaching ordinary people in a scientific way. In this video, he provides a straightforward explanation of a robust method of getting out of those bunkers. The method is based on his standard pitch shot, so if you like what you see, you might need to look further in to Dave Peltz's Short Game Bible. In this video Dave also describes a simple and cheap equipment set up that allows you to practice your golf bunker shots the back yard. All in all, well worth watching.

Three Keys to Sand Play from Marty Fleckman

A simple explication of what Marty sees as the three keys to a good bunker shot. These keys are having the correct setup, starting the back swing correctly, and cupping your wrists at impact. His description of cupping is particularly clear. There is also a link to a good practice drill for sand shots that should improve your consistency.

Getting out of Trouble - Bunker Shot from the BBC

The title to this section of the BBC web site is aptly named "Getting out of Trouble". The section not only deals with greenside bunkers but also fairway bunkers, the rough, and plugged lies. All require considerable skill on the mental side of the game, after all, it is when you are trouble that you are most likely to forget all that preparation and learning and regress to are more primitive state of your game. The BBC web site has some great animations, which make it much easier to understand the instructional material. The material breaks down green side golf bunker play tips to play into five steps, starting with the setup and ending with the follow through. This is all well done, and worth reading. A good tip is that after you have set up, bring you club back and hover, while concentrating on the point behind the ball where you are going to hit the sand. Doing this should help to imprint the impact point on your subconscious. Another good tip is that "you need to concentrate harder on keeping your head steady and not dipping down towards the ball". This can be a common mistake for weekend golfers, evidenced by consistently hitting the sand well behind the ball.

Keep it Simple

You will often read bunker play tips that will tell you to open the face of the club. This does allow greater loft, but it also complicates matters. When you are starting out, just use the normal loft for the club. This means you do not have to remember to adjust the loft and also means your normal alignment is correct. If you have a lob wedge you can get out of most bunkers without opening the face. If you are unlucky enough to land in a bunker with monster face, just hit out backwards. When you are learning, discretion is the better part of valor.