Bunker Practice Made Easy
Spending time in the green side sand traps or bunkers is very important because you just never know when you are going to hit your ball into one. One thing I always recommend when you are practicing is to set up a good practice area. I like to use the alignment sticks as often as possible. In the bunker they are really helpful because often times you are setting up a bit more open to your target line and the sticks makes it easy to identify and set up to consistently.
Once your practice area is set up then it is time to identify the shot you want to practice and then select the proper wedge for that shot. Depending on the height and distance, I recommend practicing with both the 56 degree wedge and the 60. For shorter and higher you can use the 60 degree and for longer and a bit flatter bunker shot choose the 56 degree. The ball position can also vary, for shorter and higher sand shots I would start with the ball one ball position forward of center and continue to move up accordingly. For longer and flatter sand shots start at center and move back.
As a standard rule I like to look at and address a spot about an inch behind the ball and if it is more of a splash type of shot then two inches would be max. A major tendency when playing sand or bunker shots is to go hard and hit at the bottom of the arch and stop your body. Step up for the shot you want to practice, i.e. proper club, ball position and commit to a range of motion from start to finish, this will make a smoother pass through the sand and help you get rid of the uncertain “hit”. I always like to have at least 65% of my weight on my left or lead leg and move more forward when needed.
Practicing sand shots will start getting to be fun once you start getting the feel for it. In fact a lot of the time missing the approach in a green side bunker is less penial then some other positions. Hopefully at your club or where you like to practice has a nice bunker to use and these tips help you improve your game. Check out the video in our 18 GREENS TV YouTube station and please subscribe.