How to Hit a Bunker Shot [High Handicapper Guide]

The average golfer is between 18 to 59 years old, and the majority are men. The average American golfer has also been playing golf as a hobby for 23 years.

If you enjoy golfing, you may have to face a bunker shot. This is a common type of shot in golf that many golfers have trouble with.

This is one of many golf shots that can be quite challenging. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to hit a successful bunker shot.

Keep reading to find out more about bunker rules and shots.

What Is a Bunker Shot?

If you have ever been golfing, you have most likely seen a variety of sand traps. A bunker shot is when one of your balls has made it into a sand trap.

This creates a very challenging shot that you have to make in the sand trap. Some refer to this as a fat shot when the club hast to penetrate the sand behind the ball.

Unlike other golfing shots, this restricts your movement and the strategy you can use. Because of this, many beginner and intermediate golfers tend to struggle with this.

Hitting a Bunker Shot Step-By-Step Process

There are different golf strategy options you can use when making a bunker shot. There is no one size fits all strategy, so there are multiple steps you can follow.

Like any golf shot, you may have to approach how you hit the ball differently. This is because sand traps can differentiate in depth and how difficult they are to navigate.

Here are some of the steps you can take when hitting a bunker shot. These are tips that experts have provided that are easy to follow. 

Pick the Right Club

The number one rule of hitting any golf shot is using the right golf club. Before you approach a bunker shot, it is usually better to use a sand wedge.

It needs to have the correct amount of bounce so that it can glide through the sand. Every golfer is going to have a club that they find the most useful in sand traps.

You may want to test out different options before deciding on one you prefer. Keep in mind that this also depends on the type of sand in the pit.

Fluffy, firm, and damp sand will all have an impact on the club you should choose. This will also impact how you should swing your club when making the shot.

Open the Club Face

A big mistake golfers make is not having their club face facing the right direction. Experts recommend opening up the club face so it is facing the sky.

It should almost feel unnatural since this isn’t how you would usually hit a ball. But it should be lying almost completely flat against the ground.

You also want to make sure you are not changing your grip on the club because of this direction. You still want to have a strong grip that feels natural and in control.

Evaluate the Sand

When it comes to how to play golf, you need to be flexible. Because this is an outdoor sport, even the smallest things can impact your game.

For instance, if your ball falls into a sand trap, you have to hit a bunker shot. But different instances can impact how you approach their shot.

If it has been raining, the sand is going to be more compact, and it may even be wet. Or if it has been dry, the sand will shift around very easily underneath you.

Depending on the circumstances, your strategy is going to change when you hit the ball. You may need to apply more force, or you may need to hit it at a different angle.

This is why there is no one size fits all guide to hitting a successful bunker shot for all golfers.

Stand Secure

The next thing you need to do is make sure you are prepared to hit the ball. All golfers are familiar with the right stance for hitting certain shots.

How you are standing is extremely important as it influences the ball. The same rule applies when you are hitting a bunker shot while standing in a sand trap.

The first thing you need to do is get your feet in a sturdy position. If the sand is particularly loose and dry, you may need to dig your heels in.

Experts recommend flaring out your feet for better stability. This means that your toes should be turned out, providing more room and better stability.

Having your feet wide apart also provides a larger gap between your legs. This is going to help you feel less obstructed when you are making the shot and swinging the club.

This can be helpful if you feel very restricted in the sand trap. 

Speed It Up

Because you have an open club phase, you have a unique opportunity. This stance allows you to hit the ball with a significant amount of speed.

This is more speed than most club positionings allow you. You will be able to hit the ball very quickly without sending it over the green.

Speeding up your shot also increases the trajectory of the ball. It will have more backspin and will encourage the ball to go over the sand instead of digging in.

To hit the ball quickly, make sure you have a secure standing. This is why experts recommend digging in your heels so that you don’t feel unsteady and falter.

Slap the Sand

One sure sign of a good bunker shot is when you strike the sand. You should hear a thump, and sand should fly through the air along with the ball.

This is often why golfers dig their club a few inches behind the ball when hitting a bunker shot. Think of taking an “egg” shape of sand out. This goes against most golfer’s instincts, but it is perfectly acceptable in a sand trap.

Hitting the sand shows that you have applied enough force and trajectory to the ball.

Is a Bunker Shot Hard?

If you enjoy going to the best golf clubs, you most likely take the game seriously. Golfing is a serious hobby that a huge amount of Americans enjoy often.

There is plenty of room for growth, and you will never master every aspect of golf. With so many different shots, there may be a few that you particularly dread or avoid.

One of those shots is the bunker shot, something that many golfers struggle with. These shots are particularly hard because they are different from a normal golf swing.

You may be an expert on the course, but when you are in a sand trap, things are very different. The biggest mistake golfers make is overthinking a bunker shot.

It is not as hard as it seems as long as you keep a cool head.

How to Improve Bunker Shots?

No matter what skill level you have in golf, there is always room for improvement. The majority of golfers could probably work on their bunker shot successes.

As intimidating as the shot is, it is quite easy to master. The main reason people fail at bunker shots is the mindset that they have.

You need to stay positive and give yourself a bit of reinforcement. Many golfers overthink bunker shots and hit the ball already planning on failing.

A practical way of improving your bunker shot is to practice. This is something that often happens out of the blue that you were not trying to do.

But it is a good idea to go to the course and attempt a few bunker shots on purpose. Practice makes perfect and allows you to develop a successful strategy.

You will become more accustomed to the posture and the way of hitting the ball. When you accidentally make it into a sand trap, you will be prepared.

Bunker Shot: How to Hit It Successfully 

If you enjoy golfing as a hobby, you may want to brush up on your skills. One skill to improve is taking a successful bunker shot when you are in a sand trap.

This is a shot that the majority of golfers find to be quite challenging. You have to approach the ball with a different strategy, down to your posture and how you hit the ball.

It is also a good idea to get in some practice to develop a better strategy.

Are you interested in improving your golf game? Review other articles at High Golf Handicap for golfing tips and equipment reviews.

Never Miss an Update

Share this article!