It might be safe to safe that if you hit your ball into a sand trap it can ruin your round of golf. We’ve all been there before, when you find yourself taking not 2, 3, but 4 shots out of the same sand trap. Yikes! Not to worry. Follow these 5 sand trap tips on getting out of a bunker and you will have the confidence to enjoy your time at the beach, even if it’s on the golf course.
1. Just Get Out Of The Trap
So many players try to execute the perfect bunker shot. They treat it as just another golf shot when that’s the complete opposite. Out of these five sand trap tips, the main goal should always be to get the ball out of the bunker. If you’re in a greenside bunker, just focus on the green, not the hole. If you’re in a fairway bunker, just focus on the fairway, not the green. Golf is all about strategy and thinking ahead. Always play smart, unless you’re in a Tin Cup situation.
2. Big Strong Swing, No Happy Gilmore
Most bunker shots will happen greenside. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to take a full swing. In order to hit a pro-level shot from a greenside bunker, you’re going to need to make an aggressive full swing. Taking a full swing will give you the ability to slide the club under the ball with ease, allowing the ball to pop out of the sand. The best tip for a beginner is to draw a line in the sand just behind the ball without touching of course. Instead of keeping your eye on the ball, focus on the line behind the ball throughout your swing. This will help you to swing underneath the ball causing the sand to do all the work. You don’t want to hit the ball, you want to hit the sand. That’s why you need to take a big powerful swing. You have to give the sand enough power to lift the ball out of the bunker. This may be the hardest out of the five sand trap tips. However, when done right, the clubhead makes a really nice thud/bouncing noise.
3. Open Face Club Head
When taking a shot from a greenside bunker, always remember you need to open the face of your wedge. The face should be pointing almost directly up at the sky when you step up to the ball. This will feel weird, so you will have to adjust your grip and have your hands forward in your stance. Opening up the face like this will allow you to get maximum loft on the shot, which is needed when you have a wall of sand in front of you.
Someone bump the stereo, it’s time to get down and wiggle down. Specifically, you need to wiggle your feet down into the sand. This will give you a strong foundation and prevent you from losing your stance in the sand. Sand can be very loose or very dense, especially if it has rained recently. You will also want to have a wide, open stance, with your knees bent to help make sure your body stays down on the ball. You’ll need to choke down on the handle of your wedge to compensate for being closer to the ball. The reason for choking down is so that you don’t hit a fat shot. Meaning you hit too much sand and your ball just ends up in another part of the bunker. Let the profanity begin.
5. Where To Aim
The good thing about bunkers is that most of the time you are very close to the hole. This means you have a good control on alignment and direction of the ball. As mentioned before, golf is all about thinking ahead. Play smart. Where would you like the ball to end up? Making up and down is great – getting the ball into the hole in one stroke after your bunker shot – but depending on the green, this could easily mean a three putt. Always ask, where do you want to putt from? If you have any experience playing mini golf, then you will want to be putting up a slope towards the hole vs. down the slope. Another factor is how your ball lies in the sand. If it’s up on top of the sand, then you have a good chance of controlling where you want the ball to go. However, things get tricky when your ball is buried in the sand and you find yourself reaching for your shovel instead of your wedge. At this point, the main goal is just to get the ball out, even if you have to hit backwards. Think strategy.
The Most Important Rule
The best way to use these five sand trap tips is to develop a bunker routine before every shot. This way you don’t forget any of these steps when executing a bunker shot. You can do 4 out of the 5 steps perfectly, but still have a bad shot. All steps come into play when hitting a bunker shot like a pro. Bunker shots also take time to learn due to the fact that not one bunker lie is the same. So don’t beat yourself up if this part of your game is not improving. It’s also common for people to take a lesson from a pro focusing only on bunker shots. Finally, there’s just 2 last things. One, when you do hole your ball in the cup from a bunker, you need to celebrate with a huge fist pump in the air that would make even Tiger jealous. Second, and most important, is to always rake the trap after you hit from it. This falls into the etiquette portion of the game and also keeps the trap in good conditions. It’s hard enough hitting the ball from a bunker, never mind hitting a bunker shot with a lie in somebody else’s sand divot. Play smart, and be nice.