Essentials for a successful bunker shot

By Mark Wehrman EBS Contributor

It’s important to remember that a bunker shot is a controlled “fat” shot wherein the club head should never make contact with the golf ball. It’s also called an “explosion” shot because the sand propels the ball out of the trap.

The guru digs in his golf shoes to demonstrate the essentials of a bunker shot: firm footing, a wider stance for longer shots, and where he’ll address the ball – 2-4 inches behind his lie. PHOTO BY TYLER ALLEN

The guru digs in his golf shoes to demonstrate the essentials of a bunker shot: firm footing, a wider stance for longer shots, and where he’ll address the ball – 2-4 inches behind his lie. PHOTO BY TYLER ALLEN

A bunker is also a hazard, meaning you are not allowed to sole your club at address – or touch the sand with the club head as you ready your shot – and you cannot test the surface before making your attempt to hit the ball.

During setup, follow these steps:

– Establish firm footing that will support the swing by digging in your feet. Longer shots require a wider stance.

– Take an open stance to restrict your backswing length and to steepen the swing.

– Open the clubface to match your address position – the amount you open the clubface should be equivalent to the amount you open your stance so the ball travels straight.

– For right-handed golfers, start with your weight favoring the left side at address for a normal shot.

Swing the club like a full “cut pitch shot,” matching the length of the backswing and follow-through to the force needed for that shot. Strike the sand 2-4 inches behind the ball, although slightly more or less distance can still be useful depending on the situation. Do not let the clubface close – allowing the toe to pass the heel – until after impact.

Continue to accelerate through the ball to a natural finish.

Mark Wehrman is the PGA Head Professional at the Big Sky Resort Golf Course.