5 Types of Bunker Shots
How to Hit a Bunker Shot and the 5 Types
The key to being a great bunker player is knowing how to hit at least five different types of bunker shots.
The bunker shots that are needed are the:
- Sure Out
- The Normal shot
- The Spinner
- The High Soft shot
- The Runner
This is my first article in the line of Five bunker shots and I will run these 5 shots over the next week or so, and by the end of the series you can be a great bunker player and will be ready for any situation.
The first bunker shot that is needed is the sure-out bunker shot.
This is a must for every player to know how to hit for several reasons. First this shot is the foundation for every bunker shot that follows. Some readers may just be happy to hit the sure out and be so excited that they don’t care about any other bunker shot as long as they can get the ball out.
For the better players, the Sure Out may not be of interest to you, however I challenge you to stay patient and practice this shot. This is a shot that I have used to help many PGA Tour Players when their bunker game is struggling. This shot teaches perfect technique for the body and is the number one reason why good players struggle with bunkers at times. Teaching these Tour Players this shot and having them practice this for five minutes instantly brings back their great bunker player and it is so easy that they have added this into their practice repertoire.
The first fundamental to bunkers is understanding that we want to take a shallow cut of sand. We do not want the club to dig. I have heard many instructors teach to hinge the club extremely quickly in the backswing, swing from out-to-in, and cut across the ball. This is extremely wrong and does not make sense. The sand wedge was created for a reason and that reason is to have the flange act like a rudder in a boat and to get the club out of the sand as quickly as possible. This method of teaching is contrary to why the club was built and should be tossed aside as poor teaching.
Once we have the idea of bunkers and a shallow cut of sand into our mind we need to address the setup position for the Sure Out Method. First, draw a letter H in the sand. You want the H to be pointed at the target. We next want to place our feet parallel to the H with the little line pointed to the middle of our stance. Our stance width will be wide, very similar to a driver. The reason we want a wide stance is again to promote a shallow cut of sand versus a steep digging swing. We will place the ball about 2-3 inches in front of the little line of the H and therefore it will be 2-3 inches forward of the middle of our stance. The next piece of instruction is the secret to the Sure Out Method. I want each of you right now to act like your holding a club in front of you. (Just stick your arms out in front of you and take your grip with no club). Now squeeze your chest together. You should feel a connection of your triceps to your chest. Finally, simply turn back halfway and turn through halfway making sure to not bend your elbows or to use your wrists. This is all you need to get the ball out of the bunker every time and to improve your normal bunker shot. Now back at the course setup to the letter H and as you turn back (now with the club) feel as though the clubhead stays on the outside line of the letter H, since your feet are near the inside line of the letter H. You will not need wrist hinge with this shot and you will notice that it may feel awkward, but your power must now come from the turning of your chest. The faster you turn your chest the farther the ball goes. The swing arc is very wide and will promote a very shallow cut of sand. Do not worry if you thin this shot, however if you fat this shot at all the only reason for this is because you are not turning your chest through. Make sure on your finish that your arms are extended and your elbows have not bent at all. All of your weight will be on your forward foot and the ball will come out of the bunker 100% of the time.
The Sure Out method is the basic fundamental for hitting bunker shots. This is a shot that I use for Tour Players because they get into the flaw of using too much wrists and not enough chest to hit the bunker shots. This is a great way to improve your bunkers immediately and for you that struggle to get out of the bunker than this is a sure way to get out 100% of the time.