I’ve recently come to the conclusion, most people either love bunker shots or hate them, and very few are somewhere in between. For those of you that are struggling with your sand play, here are some tips I like to focus on to eliminate that pesky chunk or the dreaded sculled shot. When working on bunker shots with my clients, I like to focus on just a few fundamentals. First, spread your feet just past shoulder width and dig your feet into the sand about an inch or so, giving you stability as you swing. Next, think about sitting down a bit, almost like you’re sitting in a chair with your weight 60% on your front leg. Now hold tight, because it’s the most important part of the fundamentals that will consistently get you out of the bunker and safely on the green. The final step in my bunker teaching philosophy is to keep the flex in your front knee the same through the entire swing and even as you rotate to your finish on your front leg. This will ensure you hit behind the ball and get that splash of sand we all look for.
If you’re headed to practice this, just keep an eye on that front knee. As you take the club back, keep the same flex as you rotate your upper body back and through the swing. The front knee straightening during or after a bunker shot most times is the crux of all issues in a green side bunker shot. After you hit a shot just immediately look down at the front knee to see if it has straightened out even just a little bit! KEEP THAT KNEE BENT THROUGH IMPACT!!!
Natalie Vivaldi, PGA
Director of Instruction, Emerald Isle Golf Course
Photo caption 1
Spread your feet just past your shoulder width
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Sit down a bit with 60% of your weight on your front foot
Photo caption 3 Keep the same knee flex through the entire swing