7 Simple Tips to Help You Conquer the Sand
It's not easy for the average golfer to become comfortable in bunkers. Bunker shots are meant to be challenging, which is why you do everything you can on the golf course to avoid them.
The sand doesn't have to be a scary proposition, though. With the simple tips we've gathered - and a good amount of practice - you'll become a veritable bunker escapologist.
Check out some general bunker tips and expert advice on how to play some of the more demanding specialist shots below.
Basic Bunker Shot Set-Up
A solid bunker game starts with an understanding of the stock set-up pieces of the standard bunker shot.
Top golf coach Eric Cogorno explains that your weight should be around 70-80% on your lead side with a wide base, your lead shoulder should be slightly lower than your trail shoulder, and the clubface needs to be laid open before you take your grip.
Practice with a 4-Iron
When it comes to learning a new skill in any sport, often trying an exaggerated version of what you're trying to achieve can work wonders. That's where the 4-iron is perfect for training a successful bunker technique.
To hit any bunker shot with a 4-iron, you must have the ball forward with the clubface severely open and remain as low as possible into the shot.
Danny Maude shows you how it's done below.
Mimic the Greats
Bunker shots can be scary for the amateur golfer, but with six-time major champion Sir Nick Faldo's help, they could become one of the strongest parts of your game!
He explains some of the traits of the greatest bunker players of all time and challenges you to mimic their style. His advice includes observations on the playing styles of Gary Player, Seve Ballesteros and Ernie Els.
Soft Sand v Hard Sand
What's the difference between playing a shot from wet sand and playing a shot from dry sand? What shots can you play, and what can't you play from both lies?
Dan Whittaker takes us through both scenarios to help improve your golf IQ.
Perfect the Hardest Shot in Golf
The 40-yard bunker shot is thought by many golfers to be the hardest shot in the game. The current Champion Golfer of the Year, Shane Lowry, gives you two options - the low-tariff shot and the trickier approach.
The safe option for higher handicappers is to play a 'chunk and run' style shot with a pitching wedge to get the ball trundling its way to the green. Those with a higher skill level could follow Shane's approach and use a more lofted wedge, square up the clubface and keep the hands behind the golf ball at address.
Keys to Escape a Plugged Lie
If you're unlucky enough to find yourself with a plugged lie, after first managing your expectations, you will need to set up with your hands and weight forward and the ball a little further back in your stance.
From there, work the clubhead up quickly as you start the swing and come back into the sand with a steeper angle of attack. This helps pop the ball out of its plugged lie.
Chris Ryan explains in greater detail below.
Master the Downhill Lie
The downhill lie in the bunker needn't be a shot that fills you with fear. Legendary coach, Pete Cowen, teaches you the fundamentals and technique that helps you play one of the most challenging golf shots.
It all starts with mirroring the slope with your own centre of balance. From here, turn the loft down into the sand rather than trying to help the ball up into the air.