Bunker Golf | Breaking Free From the Sand Trap

By: Aidan Sugrue

The Real Trap - Nothing tests a golfers character more than the sand trap. This is because the sand trap is mostly a "mental trap" rather than an "actual trap". Just watch the way you react when you see your ball land in the trap! Most golfers have already decided that they have encountered a "disaster" before they even hit their next shot. They forget the fact that some golfers actually find it easier to hit out of the sand than anywhere else around the green! This is because other golfers have mastered the basics of the sand. They have practiced their sand shots enough to feel comfortable and, for them, it is just another "day at the beach". Consider this next time you find yourself getting upset at the sand "trap". It doesn't have to be a disaster. Keep your cool and remember the basics. Then you might just turn that sand "trap" into a sand "blessing".

A Bunker Shot that Works - The biggest practical key to making the bunker shot work for you is to hit the sand just 1 or 2 inches behind the golf ball. Hit just one or two inches behind the ball and then follow through. The shot will throw the sand ahead with your ball and, if you hit it right, will land it perfectly on the green.

Lines in the Sand - Sometimes, with sand shots, it helps people to imagine two lines in the sand. The first line is 1 or 2 inches behind the ball and the other line is one or two inches ahead of the ball. The club should go in at the first line and come out at the second line. The whole movement should be made with a consistent follow through that pops the ball out with a perfect scoop.

Long Shots - For longer sand shots, the theory is the same but the swing is only bigger as you have to hit the ball much further. Keep your head still just like any other shot and make sure and follow through! You will feel the club head splashing through rather than digging down into the sand. Practicing over and over will help you to feel comfortable with the amount of sand you want to carve out each time.

Give Thanks for Your Blessings - As you get more comfortable, your confidence will go up and you will start to see the sand shot as a blessing rather than a curse. Bunker play doesn't have to be a "trap" at all. You can find yourself being secretly glad that you ended up in the bunker rather than cursing your terrible state when its time to visit the gorgeous beach!

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