How to Hit a Better Bunker Shot

Golf Pro Tips

In this episode of Swing Clinic, Jimmy Hanlin and Holly Sonders show you a couple simple positions to help you hit a better bunker shot. Most players get nervous when they are in the bunker, but the key is to not overthink it and instead think of it as a normal golf shot.

Hitting Across the Ball

You always hear about “hitting across the ball” when figuring out how to get out of a bunker. Jimmy says this isn’t wrong, but it is much easier to do when you are set up correctly. Raising your club up and hitting across the ball does work sometimes, but this is not what you want to do from a consistency standpoint.

The key is to set your body up the same way each time you take a bunker shot in order to get the results you want.

First, you always want your club face pointing toward the target.

Second, to achieve a slightly lower and longer bunker shot, you need to open up your stance and shoulders just a tad. Now your body is a little more to the left, while your club face is still aimed at the target.

Holly did not lift her arms up in the air or anything crazy. She simply took her normal golf shot with some adjusted positioning. This helped make her shot go farther and lower while also getting out of that pesky bunker. As she said, “It’s more setup than anything.”

How to Come Out High and Soft

To get the ball to come out of the bunker higher and softer, your stance needs to open up even wider. When you open up your stance, your ball should line up with your front foot. Then, swing along your shoulder line with your club face still aimed at the target. As Holly said, it’s “very Phil Mickelson-esque.”

It’s All about Positioning

As you can see throughout the drill, Holly does not change her golf swing at all. Getting out of the bunker is all about positioning. Being able to position yourself around the ball and not think about being in the bunker is the perfect solution to help get you out of this situation.

Holly says thinking too much in the game of golf can be a killer to your performance. Positioning will help lessen that burden of thinking too much about your stance.

Male golfer hitting bunker shot

The Recap

To hit a low, long bunker: Open your stance just a tad and keep the ball positioned in the center toward the target.

To hit a soft, high bunker: Open your stance way up and position the ball up front aimed toward the target.

It may feel odd at first, but with practice, your bunker shot will impress those around you. Next time you’re stressing over being in the bunker, just remember it’s all about positioning.

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