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Bunker Brilliance: Mastering Sand Play

Bunker Brilliance: Mastering Sand Play
Splash Perfect

Sand bunkers, strategically placed to challenge golfers, often become the bane of many rounds. However, with the right approach and technique, you can turn these sandy obstacles into opportunities. Here's how to master sand play for bunker brilliance:

The Fundamentals of Bunker Shots

Setup: Position the ball forward in your stance, with your weight slightly favouring the lead foot. This setup promotes a steeper angle of attack, essential for bunker shots.

Grip: Hold the club more towards the end, allowing for maximum clubhead speed.

Stance: Dig your feet into the sand for stability. This also gives you a feel for the sand's depth and consistency.

The Swing Mechanics

Takeaway: Open the clubface slightly to utilise the club's bounce, preventing it from digging too deep into the sand.

Downswing: Aim to strike the sand about an inch behind the ball. The sand propels the ball out, not direct contact with the clubface.

Follow Through: Ensure a full follow-through. The resistance of the sand means you'll need more power than a regular shot of the same distance.

Mental Approach to Bunker Shots

Stay Positive: Rather than dreading the bunker, see it as a challenge you're equipped to handle. A positive mindset can significantly influence the outcome.

Visualise the Shot: Before executing, visualise the ball's trajectory and landing spot. This mental rehearsal can enhance your actual performance.

Drills to Improve Bunker Play

Line Drill: Draw a line in the sand and practice making swings where you enter the sand at the line and follow through. This helps in gauging the right entry point for shots.

Bucket Challenge: Place a bucket on its side a few feet out of the bunker. Practice lofting shots that land softly into the bucket, working on control and trajectory.

Adjusting for Different Bunker Conditions

Wet Sand: The ball won't fly as far out of wet sand, so you might need a bigger swing or a less-lofted club.

Shallow Sand: With less sand to work with, focus on a shallower entry point to avoid hitting the ball's base.

Course Management and Bunkers

Strategic Play: If a bunker guards a pin closely, consider playing to the wider part of the green rather than attacking the pin directly. Sometimes, playing safe can save strokes in the long run.


If you want to ensure the best shots, you need equipment that is fit for purpose. Wedges should be replaced every few years, or less. If your wedges are older, especially the sand wedge, the grooves will have deteriorated, making it harder to control distance. Visit Crawford Golf for all your fitting and equipment needs.

In conclusion, while bunkers can be intimidating, they're just another aspect of the game to be mastered. With the right technique, practice, and mindset, you can turn sandy challenges into sandy successes and master bunkers. Take the time to refine your bunker play, and watch as your confidence and scores soar.

Still need help?

Kat uses Trackman 4 Launch Monitor in her face to face coaching sessions. If you'd like to book an Assessment, please contact Kat directly (07939 252977) for a free consultation. Kat is also available for online coaching. Simply follow her HERE to get started.

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