Let’s start with a question… when was the last time you practiced bunker shots? If you’re like me, it has been a long time. I play once or twice a week and use my precious practice time to bash balls on the range or hit some basic pitch and chip shots. So that means I’m probably hitting 10-15 bunker shots a month if I’m lucky. Chances are we’re not going to be able execute as consistently out of bunkers as we want to. But we can still look to improve! I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite bunker tips on GolfPass. Hopefully, they will help you improve a little out of the sand without having to spend hours in the practice bunker.
‘Butterfly' Bunker Shot Grip
Short-sided bunker shots can be really difficult. If you struggle to get the ball elevated quickly, try this grip tip from Nathalie Filler Sheehan. It’s a simple change that could pay huge dividends.
The ‘STIFF’ System
I love a good acronym and this one from Clay Ballard about bunker play will be easy to remember on the course. The final F stands for either ‘free beer’ or ‘fun’ because you will start making sandies frequently when you implement it.
Setting Up in the Bunker
This segment from Build A Better Game: Bunkers is a great refresher on how to execute a greenside bunker shot properly. This GolfPass original series from Martin Hall covers all things bunkers if you are looking to improve your game from the sand (aren't we all?!)
Hall covers every greenside bunker topic imaginable in this series from uneven lies to how to know what bounce your wedges should be. He even touches on the rules (and how they’ve changed) and fairway bunker play.
Greenside Bunkers – Distance Control
Devan Bonebrake is clearly a good bunker player after watching this segment from The Golf Fix. Bonebrake doesn’t get super technical in this top tip and just explains his feels for how to control distance out of the bunker. He presents multiple strategies, so use the one that works best for you.
How Jason Day Hits Bunker Shots
While there is certainly something to be learned listening to Jason Day explain how he hits bunker shots, I added this one mainly because it’s an enjoyable watch. What’s not to like about Jason Day and Tiger Woods going back-and-forth on Jason’s approach to bunker play?
Fairway Bunker Tips with Rory McIlroy
Fairway bunker shots are also tricky and in this segment from Lessons with a Champion Golfer: Rory Mcilroy, the reigning FedExCup champion gives a great overview of useful tips to help you find more greens from fairway bunkers.
Hear the one thing he'll do on fairway bunker shots that he doesn't on any other shot. He covers everything that is important, including assessing the lie, stance, grip pressure, swing length and club selection. He even breaks down his one key to hitting a 3-wood out of a fairway bunker.