How To Hit Perfect Bunker Shots In Seconds

By | on April 26, 2018 | 60 Comments |


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Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

60 Responses to “How To Hit Perfect Bunker Shots In Seconds”

  1. February 9, 2013

    PatrickFox

    Hi Paul

    Thanks, I like it when you touch on specialty shots too. You mentioned hinge several times but not shoulder turn or load. Hard to tell in video but is this less turn and more of an arm swing on the backswing? I understand you still want the forward swing initiated with lower body.

    • February 10, 2013

      Paul Wilson

      Patrick,

      You are doing basically the same turn (maybe a little less) because you are not quite going to parallel. The reason I am only talking about the hinge in the backswing is because I don’t want you thinking of 5 things as go back. I want the wrists to hinge so you generate the power to cut through the sand. If you hinge as I suggest you should be turning without thinking about it.

      So you are hinging. Once hinged you are turning. You are not hitting anything. It will be hit if you turn. Keep it simple.

  2. February 9, 2013

    RonCalabrese

    Hi Paul. I suspect the sand in Nevada is somewhat dryer and lighter than the more moist stuff we experience in Illinois. What alterations in technique do you recommend for wet or clumpy sand? I tend to skull the ball in these situations, turning a bogey at worst into a nightmare. Does squaring the clubface solve the problem?

    Thanks, Ron Calabrese

    • February 10, 2013

      Paul Wilson

      I will do a tip on this in the future. For now:

      Square up the face. Aim square. Do not grip down unless you cannot dig your feet in. Feel like you are picking it up more vertical going back. Turn through it as I suggest and feel the club descending. This should pop it out.

  3. February 18, 2013

    PerryCanniff

    Hi Paul. Love the fact that you’re basically using the same principles as you do for full shots, etc. But I was wondering how do you adjust for different distances out of the bunker? Assuming one is using the same sand wedge everytime, it seems like hinging and swinging the arms to the same position and then turning your hips/belt buckle to the same follow thru position it would produce the same distance every time. Does it become a function of adjusting the club face and stance positions (open vs square)?
    Thanks,
    Perry

    • February 18, 2013

      Paul Wilson

      Perry,

      I will be doing a tip on this in the future. Basically, you can do it 4 ways:

      1. Dig your feet in more or less.

      2. Vary the degree the face is open.

      3. Turn your hips faster or slower.

      4. Use a combination of any of the above.

  4. October 12, 2013

    RobertHorgan

    Paul,
    Pros have been telling me for 50 years to hit behind the ball. I just reviewed this tip and it’s fabulous. It makes clear to me for the first time for me why “hit behind the ball” is such bad advice. Just dig in your feet, hit the ball, and you will naturally hit behind it just as you want.
    Thanks,
    Bob

    • October 13, 2013

      Paul Wilson

      Bob,

      Exactly. Why hit if you don’t have to. If you do you are changing your normal golf swing. If you hit in bunkers you are activating your arms. Yikes!

  5. February 21, 2014

    Tom

    thanks paul

  6. May 17, 2014

    Mike

    Hi Paul. We play on a fairly nice public course, greens and fairways, but the bunkers are atrocious. Typically a mixture of some sand, mud, and clay. It’s very thick stuff, and many times we don’t even have to rake out our footsteps. When you try get under the ball, either the club bounces and you skull it, or the club loses all of its speed unless you really smash through it, leaving with you a variety of results. When you are just trying to pop it out, it seems almost impossible. Any tips or advice? Thanks. Mike

  7. May 17, 2014

    ERIABBERA

    Thanks Paul.
    I’am waiting for the video about distance control.

  8. Paul ,I believe the m

  9. May 17, 2014

    CurtBlack

    I am enjoying your tips and have put them into practice. I am getting better with your help. So many times when you are explaining what to do and what NOT to do and WHY not to do, a light bulb pops in my head! Yes of course you are correct. I just wanted to say Thank you for now!!

    I have always been an arm hitter, now I am a golfer!!

    • Curt,

      I’m glad you are understanding the swing. I spent years with no answers so when I hear people have a better understanding of it I love hearing it.

  10. I SAW THIS VIDEO ABOUT A YEAR AGO AND SINCE THEN I HAVE RARELY FAILED TO HIT A GREAT SAND SHOT. MY FRIENDS ARE AMAZED AND I HAVE RECOMMENDED YOU MANY TIMES. IT WORKS PERFECT. NOW I NEED TO HIT LONGER AND SHORTER BUNKER SHOTS AND WILL WATCH THE VIDEO. THANKS A MILLION!

  11. Paul…You definately didn’t overly state how quick this lesson could be learned. Today after taking two practice swings in the range bunker I headed to my tee time. I found myself in a greenside bunker three times and with my new found skills I got out of each one and actually one putted two of them. I decided to take this new skill to the flop shot and used t successfully several times to my surprise, since I have been having trouble with that shot. This tip and lesson was the greatest and now I will really give it some practice time to fine tune the swing and even vary how much I can open the club face oN different shots. Question: Is it always best to open your stance approximately the same degee as you are opening your CLUBFAC

    • Harvey,

      I never guess or joke about the golf swing. It really is that simple as you found out. The problem people have is that they do a different swing in the bunker. If so, they would have to practice twice as hard. People don’t have time to practice 1 swing never mind 2. If you can use your normal swing and get the ball out consistently why learn another one? I’m glad you see it and are confident with it.

      I like the face to be aimed a little right of the target not right at it. I will have to explain why in a future tip but basically yes, your body is left the amount the face is open or thereabouts.

  12. November 10, 2015

    JeffLubin

    Whenever I have a greenside bunker shot that is longer, I swing harder and fly the ball over the green. I trusted that I would hit below the ball but it doesn’t happen all the easily for whatever reason. Any thoughts on what makes me do this?

  13. November 16, 2015

    THOMASKLOVES

    Paul I need help from greenside bunkers — I fail to get out > half the time. I will try this technique, hope it works. One Q: you say open to 2 o’clock (C/F), hinge, turn thru w/ belt buckle to target line, and follow-thru: Is the turn thru different from the full swing when the emphasis is on the follow-thru and knees touching? Looks the same except shorter follow-thru. Your technique for the full swing has helped greatly. Help!! tom

    • November 16, 2015

      Paul Wilson

      Tom,

      If you are a poor bunker player you are trying to hit behind the ball. Never ever think of doing this. Do your normal swing with the set up adjustments. If so you will be great in no time.

      This is your same golf swing. Full follow through. Touch legs touch head.

  14. February 15, 2017

    MichaelField

    I use a 54 degree wedge from sand and for short chips. Should I switch to a 56 degree? Only reason I have 54 is that is what salesman recommended. How important is this?

    • Paul Wilson

      February 17, 2017

      Paul Wilson

      Michael,

      A 54 is a little bit of a strong Sand Wedge. This is fine if your other clubs have the appropriate lofts. In this situation you would have a 58 degree lob wedge (if you have one) and 50 degree gap wedge. A pitching wedge is usually 48 degrees so this would not make sense.

      Not sure why he would recommend a 54 degree SW but there had to be a reason. Maybe you hit a 56 too high resulting in a lack of distance. Not sure but really you should have your clubs at 4 degree loft increments. Might want to check the lofts on your irons by going to the manufacturers site. Maybe they are a little stronger.

      On short chips at a 1:1 ratio you would use this club. It might get a little more roll than the 1:1 but you have to use what clubs you have. You could switch to a Lob wedge if you have one if you want a 1:1 ratio. Hopefully, you know the ratios? If not, here they are:

      Chipping Ratios: https://ignitiongolf.com/short-pitch-shot-distances/

      Once you know them use the club that will allow you to product them.

  15. February 17, 2017

    IanAnlezark

    Hi Paul, firstly I must say that subscribing to ignition golf has been one of the smartest golfing decisions that I have ever made.
    I have struggled with bunkers ever since I started playing golf, I’ve had lessons and lots of practice but never much luck.
    I came across your bunker tips this week, watched them a couple of times but didn’t have a chance to practice them before today’s game.
    On the 3rd hole I landed in the the bunker. I put all of your tips into action but it took me 3 shots to get out!
    That turned out to be the practice that I needed.
    I landed in another 3 bunkers.
    Using the practice that I had just had and your tips I was able to chip in on one hole and next to the flag on the other 2.
    I think the days of my mates making side bets on how many shots it takes me to get out of the bunker are GONE!
    Thank you

    • Paul Wilson

      February 19, 2017

      Paul Wilson

      Ian,

      That’s great news. I keep telling everyone that bunker shots are simple. You just need to swing through it instead of trying to hit the sand. Glad you tried it and saw the results. This is a huge part of the game that will allow you to save so many shots. Keep up the good work (and beat all of your friends).

  16. Paul

    Really looking forward to practising this shot. Love your site which I have only just joined.
    A question?
    How much to the left of your target do you aim?

    Sue Eccles

    • Paul Wilson

      March 10, 2017

      Paul Wilson

      Sue,

      Thank you for joining. Glad to have you on board. You would aim left based on how open the clubface is. Little open = little left etc. You should hit a few shots on the grass from square and see how the open face affects your shots then you will get a feel for how much you will have to aim to compensate.

      Watch these tips to understand it then apply it to your bunker shots:

      How To Open The Clubface On Flop Shots: https://ignitiongolf.com/open-face-flop/
      How To Work On Flop Shots: https://ignitiongolf.com/work-on-flop-shots/

  17. You are a great teacher Paul.

  18. Hi Paul. You are not loading the weight to the back foot as for full swings? Find it easier to hinge going back With more weight forward and then turning With Heavy arms. Is it correct?

    • Stian,

      I am coiling and loading going back with all clubs. In the bunker you still need to be doing this I just don’t want you thinking about it (unless you are not doing it). Once loaded you uncoil and let the arms go along for the ride.

  19. August 13, 2017

    JohnPorter

    Once you hinge with open club face and then turn to hit the shot ; the wrist will release to slap the sand with an open club face but HOLD open to the finish wth NO rollover on the wrist…Is this correct Paul???

    • Paul Wilson

      August 13, 2017

      Paul Wilson

      John,

      No. This would be hitting. I just posted my bunker technique below. It is so simple. It is your real golf swing.

  20. September 3, 2017

    SteveWeber

    Paul,

    How do you control the distance on this shot?

  21. BenjaminBerry

    October 7, 2017

    BenjaminBerry

    Hi Paul thanks so much, I’m a really good bunker player but this just made me so much better. But I’m writing you this comment to let you know this tip actually helped me with my long game today. During my Skype lesson with Pete he wanted me to get more wrist hinge and told me to think butt end and butt end of the club, I have been working on it, but having worked on the bunker hinge for a few days and voila! I am hinging more on my longer clubs and hitting the ball much more effortlessly and further. My glutes Actually feel like they got a work out after my round today, not my arms.
    Now back to work on my disastrous alignment… 🙂

    • Paul Wilson

      October 9, 2017

      Paul Wilson

      Ben,

      Glad you liked it. Bunker shots are so simple.

      The hinge is vital. Without that you will lose power and consistently. Just think. The wrists are a hinge. A hinge in life is loose. It hinges and re-hinges. That’s all it does. There is no power in it. If the hinge is tight you are hitting with arms. Sounds like you are getting it. This will be a huge breakthrough for you.

      Alignment is the most important lesson in golf. I wouldn’t say this if it wasn’t. Need to always put down and alignment stick.

  22. February 17, 2018

    terrybadger

    Hi Paul,
    I never knew how to hit out of a bunker and these two videos will help immensely, because everything you have ever taught has helped me. When I land in the sand I almost without fail get a 9 or 10. With this maybe I can salvage a 7.
    thanks,
    ter

    • Paul Wilson

      February 18, 2018

      Paul Wilson

      Terry,

      Bunker shots are simple. The problem people have is trying to hit behind the ball. In no way do I want you thinking that. Just do your normal golf swing. Open the face, aim left and dig in your feet. If you dig in your club will hit the sand first. The focus on my follow through. If so, you will hit perfect bunker shots in seconds. I prove this all of the time.

  23. April 17, 2018

    Roy

    Paul is the swing path along the course of your foot alignment or the swing path along the aim to the green

    • Paul Wilson

      April 18, 2018

      Paul Wilson

      Roy,

      The path would be where your body is aimed. This would vary with how much the face is open. The ball will go right due to the face being open.

  24. Hi Paul, when practicing my pitch shots my thought process is hinge & turn, is this same swing thought for bunker shot, I realize set up is different. Also will stop thinking about a spot 2 in behind ball, which I now focus on & does not help my bunker play.

    • Paul Wilson

      April 27, 2018

      Paul Wilson

      Donald,

      Yes, it is the same or you can just do your normal swing. I haven’t shot that tip yet but that makes it even easier. Give this a try. You will see amazing bunker shots in seconds. Trying to hit behind the ball is hitting. I don’t want you to hit anything.

  25. Paul ,How do you play out from a greenside bunker when the pin is far from where the ball lies ,say 30/40 yards away .My way is to play the ball (supposing the ball is lying on top of the sand) like a normal pitch shot with a 52° gap wedge and not take any sand

    • Paul Wilson

      April 27, 2018

      Paul Wilson

      Raymond,

      Here are long bunkers shots to that distance.

      How To Hit Long Greenside Bunker Shots: https://ignitiongolf.com/long-bunker-shots

      Longer bunker shots would be fairway bunker shots. You can do this your way too but I think this is little close to be picking it but if it works for you then do it. Just do my pitching technique without digging in too deep. Grip down a little and hinge and turn.

  26. How about a couple of comments on the type of sand – soft fluffy vs hard compact. Also choice of club for the various conditions and amount of green to work with between the ball and the pin placement. I am leaving for Scotland the second week of May. How about those deeeeep bunkers? Maybe just hit it out sideways or even back?

    • Paul Wilson

      April 27, 2018

      Paul Wilson

      Peter,

      I have a tip on hard wet sand here:

      How to Hit Bunker Shots from Hard or Wet Sand: https://ignitiongolf.com/bunker-hard-wet/

      How To Hit Short Greenside Bunker Shots to a Tight Pin: https://ignitiongolf.com/short-greenside-bunker-shots/

      How To Hit Long Greenside Bunker Shots: https://ignitiongolf.com/long-bunker-shots

      Pot bunkers – you have to make a decision if you can get out or not. Too close to the lip is tough plus you are under pressure. So you take the risk and try to get it out? If you don’t you have the same shot again which will be even closer to the lip so you will have to play it sideways or back so it is that first decision that counts.

      Have fund in Scotland. Can I come with you?

      • Thank you for the links to 3 of your other bunker shots tips. The pot bunker thoughts are the same as when my ball is miss hit and ends up in a difficult position. If I do not want to end up with a BIG crooked number score on the hole, I need to consider my options. No need of compounding the first mis-hit. How awesome would it be to have you along on the trip – playing golf in Scotland and having my coach as my playing partner. Maybe next time.

        • Paul Wilson

          April 30, 2018

          Paul Wilson

          Peter,

          Yes, no big numbers. If in doubt hit it out backwards or sideways. Just get it out. Just bad breaks you get on those courses sometimes. Enjoy your trip.

  27. One questions on sand shots; on the downswing do your hands follow the pathnof your feet or do you swing out on the path of the target?

  28. Thanks Paul.

  29. Hi Paul, It seems to look like the Pitching shots?

  30. Just wanted to say Thank you for this great bunker tip. I have never had any confidence in the bunker, trying to hit the sand behind the ball. I might get out of the bunker, even make great shots. But lack of consistency. After trying out this technique, I will never ever go back to the old bunker swing. Make it simple, and it’ll work. Next step will be controlling the length and direction of the bunker shots. Looking forward to more practice and better scrambling!

    • Christer,

      Very good. Bunker shots are so easy yet everyone wants to make them complicated. This is really going to help you play better.

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