How to Hit Bunker Shots in Golf (Tutorial)

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In this guide, I’ll show you how to hit a clean and effective bunker shot out of the next sand trap you find yourself in. Out of every shot on the golf course, the bunker shot is one of the hardest to get the right spin, speed, and proper contact.

With a little bit of practice and some tips from me, you will be putting again in no time.

Read and reread my guide below on how to hit bunker shots and then take your new tips out to the golf course!

What is a Bunker Shot?

A bunker shot in golf is a shot played from a sand trap or bunker on the golf course.

The key to a successful bunker shot is proper swing execution and an understanding of how the sand will affect the ball.

Golfers typically use a sand wedge or lob wedge to play bunker shots due to the club’s design, which helps the club glide through the sand more easily.

The goal of a bunker shot is to lift the ball cleanly out of the bunker, allowing it to land softly on the green and, ideally, stop quickly. Proper technique is crucial to hit a good sand shot in golf, including:

  • an open clubface

  • a steep, accelerating swing

I’ll show you how to achieve this a little further down the guide.

how to hit bunker shots

What Golf Club Should You Hit Bunker Shots With?

The sand wedge is the most commonly used club for hitting a bunker shot in golf. The sand wedge is designed with a lofted face and a wide sole, which helps it glide through the sand more effectively. The loft of the sand wedge allows the golfer to get the ball out of the bunker, while the wide sole prevents the club from digging too deeply into the sand.

More than any other club, the sand wedge lets you make clean contact with the ball.

Lob Wedge (Alternative)

Some golfers may use a lob wedge for shorter bunker shots out of a greenside bunker when they need to get the ball to stop quickly on the green. The lob wedge’s higher loft helps to lift the ball higher and facilitates a steeper descent, which can be advantageous in certain bunker situations.

When hitting long bunker shots, golf club selection can vary. You may be able to use your gap wedge, but you might also need to use your irons if you are in a fairway bunker far from the hole.

bunker shot in golf fat shots

One key thing to remember is that the lower-lofted iron used means the lower the height you will get on the golf ball. You want to ensure you can get the ball airborne out of the sand and not catch the lip, especially if it is a deep bunker.

How to Hit a Bunker Shot

Selecting the Right Club

Using a sand wedge or a lob wedge will help you maximize the loft of the golf club and effectively navigate the sand. You may also need to use lower-lofted clubs if you find yourself hitting long bunker shots out of a fairway bunker.

Sometimes, the easy play is to stick with a higher-lofted club just to get out of the sand and then continue trying to make the lowest score possible on that hole.

Ball Position and Stance

The ball position should be more towards your front foot as you are trying to sweep the ball out of the sand. You will need to rely on the loft of the club and the leading edge to get the ball out and up towards the hole.

Digging your feet into the sand helps add more stability to your shot and keeps your weight forward to ensure a consistent base.

how to hit bunker shots in golf ball position and stance

Golf Swing Technique

Aim to hit the sand a few inches behind the ball to allow the sand to lift the ball out of the bunker.

Maintaining an open stance and a steep swing will help ensure the club glides through the sand smoothly. The length of your backswing will determine your distance control on the desired shot.

Full-swing bunker shots should only be used if your ball is plugged or you are not located in a greenside bunker and are a little further from the hole.

Focus on Rhythm and Acceleration

Maintaining a consistent rhythm and accelerating through the shot is essential to ensure the clubhead reaches the sand behind the ball.

Many golfers, such as high handicappers, do not accelerate through the ball, which causes the ball to go less far.

Visualize the Shot

Visualize the ball’s trajectory and focus on a spot just behind the ball to ensure a clean strike. Make sure you have a forward swing and have the club head hit just behind the ball for the smoothest contact possible before you hit the sand.

Practice and Adapt

Regularly practice bunker shots to understand how the sand affects the ball. All golf courses feature bunkers, and knowing how to hit them is important if you find yourself in that position.

Adapt your technique based on the depth and texture of the sand in different bunkers.

If you need to, you can find a golf coach and a practice facility that will provide the resources to practice bunker shots to ensure your short game is ready to go when you hit the course.

Video Tutorial on How to Hit Bunker Shots

Master this golf shot by watching the videos from our friends below!

This Bunker Shot Technique is SO EASY You’ll be Shocked
How to Hit High and Low Bunker Shots with Jason Day | TaylorMade Golf

Other Frequently Asked Questions About Hitting Bunker Shots

How do sand conditions affect bunker shots?

Different bunkers have varying sand conditions, such as firm or fluffy sand. Adjust your technique based on the specific conditions to achieve the best results. If the sand is firm, you may just try to pick the ball clean out without trying to dig in. If it is fluffy, you may need to swing harder and accelerate faster to get the desired distance.

Does your mental state affect bunker shots?

Because it is not a regular shot on the course, most golfers don’t feel confident when they need to hit out of a bunker. It is essential to approach bunker shots with confidence and a positive mindset. Hitting bunker shots is a great skill on the golf course, and committing to the shot will lead you to success.

How do you practice bunker shots?

Bunker play in golf is a challenging skill to learn. Most courses do not offer a practice bunker to hit shots out of. If you are serious about getting better, see if the course will let you practice out of a bunker during sundown.

Patience and practice will help you execute these short game shots if the time comes. Even the best golfers in the world spend hours hitting shots out of the sand.

Ryan William
Ryan William

With over 25 years hands-on experience in the golfing world, Ryan is not just an avid golfer but a topical authority. His journey has had him delve deep into the nuances of the sport, from mastering the swing to understanding new golf technology. As an entrepreneur, Ryan is at the forefront of the latest golf trends, reviewing all new clubs, accessories, and training aids. His insights and expertise are backed by a prolific writing career, with over 1000 articles published across various platforms. Ryan's commitment is clear: to guide and inform the golf community with unparalleled knowledge and passion.

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