Golf Bunker Play Drill - Splish Splash

Ahhhhh............ A Bunker

You either love them or they put the FEAR OF GOD into you, and turn a certain par into a double or triple bogey

Wellif you struggle with bunkers, you are not alone.

Last season my bunker play was certainly not what it should have been and I needed to address this part of the game somehow. I knew how to set up for the differenet types of Bunker shot but just could not seem to execute them properly. You probably know how it goes, one minute you thin one, the next minute you leave it in the sand and the next you put it right next to the pin

So I asked a local pro at our course in Warsaw if he could help me iron out or make my Bunker play more consistent.

Well let me tell you there is no magic formula here. It really is simple.

I was given two drills to work on. At first I thought they were barmy, and you might agree with me, but practice does help. It didn't make me perfect by a long shot but it certainly gave me a great foundation to improve my bunker play.

Drill 1

Find an area that has a greenside bunker and just dive in. The first thing you need to do is take your sand wedge and just start hitting sand onto the green (Well I did say it was barmy) but to make it more challenging what I was told to do was to place a tee peg in the green at different distances from the bunker, say 10 feet, 15feet and 20 feet.

Now just use your normal bunker technique and hit the sand so that it reaches the tee peg. Now where the sand lands is where your ball would land if you were using a ball. The key thing about this exercise is that it helps you judge the distance and gives you the correct feeling of how hard you need to hit the sand just to get the ball 10, 15 or 20 feet.

Let me tell you, you will be surprised how hard you have to hit the sand to propel the ball just these short distances.

This exercise really makes you learn how to commit yourself to the shot and gives you the confidence to attack your bunker shots and judge the distance.

Drill 2

It's all very well being able to judge distance but how did I learn to get the ball out.

The first thing I was told to do was to place 5 balls in a line about 6 inches apart.

Take my normal stance and just hit the sand behind the ball.

What happened?......... I thinned one, left another one in the
bunker, thinned one, left another one in the bunker and then
finally got one out.

It was not the result I was expecting after the first drill when i was managing to get the sand out to my tee pegs.

But this is where it started to become simple, or should i say

The pro told me to leave the balls to one side, get back in the bunker and make small circles in the sand each one about 4 or 5 inches in diameter, about the size of a small plate or saucer.

Now take your sand wedge and hit the circles out of the bunker, thats right, he told me to make sure to hit the circle of sand out of the bunker. Well that was simple enough.

Now make the circles in the sand again but this time place a ball in the centre. Now I was told to hit the circle of sand out again. Focus only on the circle and forget about the ball. Think about how far you want to hit the circle of sand and just do it.

The ball was now starting to come out of the sand on a regular basis.

Believe me this does work Just give it a try and I am sure you will be as surprised as I was.

Good luck with these drills.


Richard Smith is the founder of the The Big Golf Lesson The website offers a FREE 14 part e mail course for golfers wishing to improve their golf game andlower their handicap

Richard Smith