What would you do if you had an instinctive ability to hit the perfect bunker shot? Many golfers experience success under the glare of tournament play, but do you really know how to turn a mediocre drive into a consistent putting opportunity?
Bunker shots are key in any tournament round, and have often defined the fate of a player’s game. These shots require finesse, practice, and many other skills to gain maximum effectiveness.
Here are some drills that you can do at home and watch the results.
Don’t Load Too Much Sand into the Spade
To hit the perfect bunker shot, the club needs to be the weight the sand needs to be unloaded into it. If you load too much sand, you’ll barely make contact with the sand and not enough will hit the ground or water. But if you load the correct weight into the club, you’ll make contact with the sand and roll the ball toward the pin. Here’s how to achieve this.
First, lie a golf ball on the ground and set a half-dollar piece of toothpicks over it. Next, get a sand wedge, poke a hole in the toothpicks and insert them into the golf ball. This will give you a weight of two toothpicks per two-ounce ball.
Then aim for the white ball, hit it and see how far it rolls. You should never make contact with the toothpicks but it’s good to see if you need more weight or less. The same drill is done with a sand wedge. You can increase the weight by as much as two ounces per ball.
Throw the Sand Using Your Finger
A second tip is to use your finger instead of a wedge to move the sand out of your clubhead path. For a ball rolling to the left, you can change the angle of your finger so that you are moving your swing to the left. This can make the sand move from right to left so you are hitting the ball right of the green. If you are hitting a ball to the right, you can change your finger placement so the sand moves right.
Get a Short Putt
Many golfers underestimate the length of a sand wedge. When a ball is being played on sand, the ball does not travel straight down to the pin. The top of the ball may be moving past the hole by as much as 1.25-1.5 feet, so you have a very long green. You will need to place the ball close to the hole, not deep in the bunker, if you want it to be close.
Getting a short putt means you need to hold the sand up higher in the putting stroke. You can try this by playing the ball back a little from the target and then using the heel of the putter to push the sand back down.
If you want to improve your accuracy and play to your strengths, these 10 simple steps can teach you how to take control and hit the perfect bunker shot.
1. Know where you want the ball to land. The next best thing to hitting it perfect is knowing what the ball will do.
2. Be willing to practice if you want to improve your technique. It takes 10,000 rounds to become good at golf.
3. Make your partner take the shot with you.
4. Aim high. Aim for the middle of the green instead of the top.
5. If you don’t like the way your shot is coming out, don’t take another one.
6. Drop your shot on the course. Not on the fairway.
7. Think of the place you want your ball to land. And to hit it there, visualize the exact path it’ll take to get there.
8. Find your “sweet spot” by putting your ball into the ball’s sweet spot.
9. Hit a club that will produce the ball’s ideal trajectory.
10. Wait until you have all the right pieces in your swing.