Basic Greenside Bunker Play
One of the most feared situations for amateur golfers is being in a bunker. Granted there are situations in bunkers which are much harder than others but a basic greenside bunker shot is much easier than you think if you follow some basic principles. For simplicity’s sake I will talk about a basic bunker shot where the lie is decent. Set up slightly open to your target, twist your feet into the sand so you have secure footing. Open the face of the club, if you are a right handed golfer, that means to rotate the club clockwise in your hands a bit, then take your normal grip. How high you need to hit the ball will also depend on how much you need to open the clubface. To hit a high shot you need to open the clubface more than if you need to hit the ball a little further. Learning proper setup for bunker shots will lead to successful shots. When you are ready to swing a 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock swing works well. The key is to feel like you are slapping the back of the sand wedge on the sand a few inches behind the ball and following through while accelerating throughout the shot. The club should feel like it is gliding through the sand not digging into it. If you find yourself leaving the ball in the bunker or leaving all bunker shots short make sure you are being aggressive through the ball and finishing your swing.
In the pictures below you can see that my feet, hips, and shoulders are set up well to the left of the pin and the face of the club is open and adding loft. In the second picture you can see that the face of the club is still fairly open (face pointing at the sky) and the sand is propelling the ball out of the bunker.