Every beginner already knows what to do, nevertheless the green bunker remains a nightmare for most of them. Women usually are to timid with their swing. The club head doesn’t develop enough force and therefore sticks in the sand instead of gliding through it. Men usually use too much force. The swing is too steep and the club head dives too deep into the sand. The result: The ball doesn’t move very far out of the bunker if it get’s out at all. But both men and women share the same fear of accidentally hitting the ball clean and shooting it miles behind the green. So everything we want to do is hit the sand not the ball.
If you look at photos of successful green bunker play you can see that the club is in front of the ball just after impact. If the ball would have been hit directly it couldn’t be seen in the picture but would already be 50 yards away.
The formula is actually pretty simple: The club moves the sand – the sand moves the ball. To achieve this effect you need the proper angle at impact and the appropriate club head speed. To be able to control these things you have to experiment while you are training.
Golf Bunker Technique
The sand wedge is designed to glide through the sand easily with its’ trailing edge. It usually has a big sole with a lot of bounce. As long as the club head is a little open at impact and the swing is not too steep you can’t do a lot wrong. Otherwise the leading edge of the club digs deep into the sand automatically.
In eight steps out of the green bunker
1. Dig your left foot a little deeper into the sand than your right foot. This way you shift your weight a little more to the left. You shouldn’t lean to the left actively in any case. This only benefits a steep back swing which you don’t want at all.
2. Aim with your shoulders, hips and feet in a slightly open stance approximately 20 degrees left of your target.
3. With a good lie the ball should be positioned opposite of your left heel. The deeper the ball is stuck in the sand the more you should position it to your middle.
4. The open club head is aligned a little right to your target. Don’t be afraid to do this. The alignment of the club head won’t have any effect on the flight path of the ball. The ball will be carried by the sand and won’t contact the club head at all.
5. Hinge your wrists immediately in the back swing and swing wide enough. Your hips start turning a little earlier than usual to avoid a steep back swing. Don’t hit any harder than out of the semi-rough.
6. Don’t focus on the ball! It isn’t your target! Aim for a point a couple of inches behind the ball.
7. Your knee should be kept bend through impact. Otherwise you could hit the ball instead of the sand.
8. Feel the open club head gliding clean through the sand. Your right hand should release the club head but shouldn’t close it while the left leads the swing.
Follow these eight steps in your next practice session and the bunker should be become your best friend instead of a dreaded nightmare.