Many higher handicap golfers are intimidated by bunker shots. They find
it hard to hit a great bunker shot consistently. In order to compile some useful
tips for weekend golfers who struggle with bunker shots, I spent some time with one of
the finest teaching professionals I know.
Jon Manos is a PGA professional who teaches near my office in Northern
New Jersey. Jon, who has his own golf school at the Closter Driving Range,
is very adept at breaking down the various aspects of the golf game and
providing golfers with simple ways to improve the wide range of shots that
comprise a balanced golf game. Jon can be reached at 201 666-0043.
According to Jon, “If the sand were spray painted green, everyone would
be fine.” In his view, the bunker shot is really no different than the shot that
golfers refer to as a pitch. The color of the sand, the texture and the depth of
the bunker seems to intimidate many golfers.
If you want to hit your bunker shots with more consistency and with more
accuracy, here are a few simple tips to help you master the physical and
mental aspects of the bunker shot.
1. Imagine that you are trying to get the sand in front of the ball and behind the
ball onto the green. This is a great way to help you visualize the feel and
trajectory you need on your shot.
2. Keep your knees flexed and remain in a crouch throughout your shot.
3. Don’t make the mistake of trying to help the ball out of the bunker with
4. Move your front foot back two inches from your normal pitching stance.
5. You must choke down on the club. This will give you more control.
6. The bunker shot is a three quarter swing.
7. In general, try to take a divot which is one inch deep when you are in
8. Use your sand wedge for the majority of your bunker shots. Once you
master the sand wedge in the bunker, you can experiment with other
wedges, your eight iron and your nine iron to accommodate various lies
and distances from the pin.
9. Imagine that the ball is sitting in the center of a dollar bill and
take a dollar of sand when you swing at the ball.
10. Swing your club in the direction you want the ball to travel.
11. Keep your hand pressure the same as you do on your normal pitch shot.
Many players have a tendency to hold the club too firmly in the sand.
12. Don’t dig your feet into the sand. This will make the bunker shot more
difficult for you.
13. Some pros use an open stance when they want to hit out of a bunker. Jon
does not think this is right or necessary for the average golfer.
14. Practice this shot often. You will probably find out that it is not as difficult
as you think it is . Some golfers love to play out of the sand because they
feel the shot is easy, since they can miss the ball and still hit a great shot.
As with any golf shot, it is vital that you stay relaxed, calm and focused
before your strike the ball and when you swing. If you are a golfer with a
high handicap, check out How To Lower Your Golf Score With
Sport Psychology and Self-Hypnosis. This program will show you what
you need to do stay relaxed, believe in yourself and concentrate on the
bunker shot in front of you. You can get this program at
You can also visit www.SingleDigitHandicap.com. For personal
coaching on the mental aspects of your golf game call Dr. Granat at
888 580-ZONE. Dr. Granat has been named one of the top mental
gurus by Golf Digest.