How To Hit Bunker Shots

Bunkers are one of the most challenging obstacles in golf. But with proper technique and practice, hitting bunker shots can become a strength. Learn the keys to technique, setup, and execution to get up and down from the sand more consistently.

Assessing the Lie of Shot

  • Buried lie: Ball sitting down in soft sand. Requires opening clubface and downward strike.
  • Fried egg: Ball barely sitting up above sand. Use most lofted club to splash it out.
  • Hard pan: Compacted sand near surface. Hit firmly with low trajectory to get through sand.
  • Downslope: Ball above feet. Set up open and make swing flatter and faster.
  • Upslope: Ball below feet. Set up closed and make steeper, slower swing.

Bunker Swing

  • Open clubface through impact to add loft and prevent digging.
  • Stable lower body with legs resisting sliding in sand.
  • Moderate length backswing staying in control.
  • Downward blow with lead arm driving into sand an inch or two behind ball.
  • Follow through directed low and left to make sand do the work.
  • Light grip pressure to keep wrists from flipping through impact.

Bunker Shot Club and Shot Selection

  • High Loft- Sand wedge or lob wedge ideal.
  • Moderate loft from fairway bunkers. Gap wedge or 56 degree. This will prevent running through green.
  • Least loft needed to clear lip from good lie. 52-54 degree gap wedge often optimal.
  • Open clubface always. De-lofts club so you get needed height despite less actual loft.
  • Soft sand may require less club to prevent burying. Hit firmer and more aggressive in tighter packed sand.

Bunker Shot Setup

  • Open stance aligned left of target. Ball position forward near left instep.
  • Weight on lead foot. Shaft tilted forward.
  • Hands forward of ball position.
  • Limit knee flex for stability. Maintain spine angle bend.
  • Narrower than normal grip to prevent flipping.

With the right tools and focused practice, bunkers go from places you dread to scoring opportunities. Trust your technique, commit to the shot shape needed, and deliver solid contact. Escape bunkers in one and save critical strokes on great golfers.


What is the trick to bunker shots?

Mastering bunker shots involves an open clubface, open body alignment, and a forward ball position. Execute a shallow swing, hitting the sand just behind the ball, and accelerate through impact. Maintain confidence, soft hands, and practice various lies to build versatility.

How do you hit a bunker shot for beginners? 3 Tips

  1. Setup for Success: Open your stance and clubface slightly. Position the ball in the front part of your stance and dig your feet into the sand for stability. This setup helps you achieve the necessary loft and angle to lift the ball out.
  2. Shallow Swing: Focus on making a shallow, sweeping swing through the sand. Aim to strike the sand a couple of inches behind the ball. The sand’s impact will carry the ball out smoothly.
  3. Accelerate Through Impact: Maintain a smooth acceleration through the sand. Let the club slide under the ball by keeping your hands soft and your grip light. This ensures the ball lifts out with a high trajectory.

How do you hit a bunker shot when the sand is hard?

To tackle bunker shots from hard sand, opt for a less lofted club, like an 8-iron. Place the ball back in your stance, dig your feet in, and make a steeper swing, focusing on striking the sand right under the ball. Keep your wrist hinge minimal, accelerate through impact, and practice to refine your feel for these shots.

Should you steep or shallow on bunker shots?

Aim for a controlled, slightly steeper angle of attack on bunker shots. This helps strike the sand before the ball, creating loft for a successful shot. However, avoid excessive steepness to prevent digging or chunking. Practice finding this balance for consistent results.

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